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Why YouTube Music is a bigger deal than Spotify in India

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Amidst all the hoopla and drama about Spotify’s launch in India which happened just two weeks ago, Google quietly snuck in and just hours ago launched YouTube Music and YouTube Premium in India. And while Spotify has launched quite nicely despite its ongoing licensing issue with Warner-Chappel, it is YouTube music that could be the real international dark horse for the Indian streaming market. While people who travel a lot or have studied abroad or are tech-savvy may have been experiencing Spotify for a while and may swear for it, there are many reasons why YouTube Music could be the real Trojan horse that helps Google conquer India’s music streaming market. Let me explain.

  • The reason people love Spotify is its curation algorithms, its interface. Spotify is a true AI-powered musicologist, but you know what, you’re dealing with perhaps the world’s most popular music discovery platform in YouTube which is owned by the most powerful company in the AI space, Google. And it pays dividends, YouTube music is as good in different ways if not better than Spotify in curation, plus it taps into years of YouTube data which makes it crazy accurate.
  • In India, YouTube is a well-established brand in the music space. Hell, it’s a brand owned by Google which is one of the most localized international tech companies in India. That doesn’t just give it instant marketing that Spotify has to earn from the ground up, it gives it scale and distribution. After all, this makes YouTube a mass market, unlike Apple Music and Spotify. Also, no-one is hearing about a standoff between YouTube Music and a label that holds the rights to the music of a popular act. For Google, it is clean and there are no problems.
  • For many people, YouTube music will be free because if you’ve subscribed to Google Play music in any way then YouTube music is free. And hello, it is also cheaper than both Spotify and Apple Music at launch at Rs 99 per month, offering arguably an even more comprehensive library of music that includes live improvised versions of songs, covers and whatnot apart from videos and audio. There is a huge value to be accrued here.
  • YouTube premium subscription gets you YouTube music for free at Rs 129 per month. This gives you access to add free YouTube with YouTube music and YouTube originals that Google has been developing literally incognito. Some of these shows are pretty good. This will only get better and better.
  • YouTube Music is a first class citizen on Android devices or anything that has Google’s imprint on it. It works great with Google home speakers, Android TVs like the popular Xiaomi TVs and of course Android smartphones. For people who’ve purchased the new Samsung Galaxy S10, they will get 4 months free YouTube Premium subscription, which is a sweet deal.

There are issues with YouTube Music most prominent ones being that it doesn’t stream at very high resolutions and it doesn’t have proper offline playback like Google Play Music. That being there, in the coming months all features of Google Play Music will get transferred to YouTube Music.

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