The Google-owned service has debuted its music service YouTube Music in the country, offering consumers access to songs, albums, personalized playlists and music videos on the web and its mobile apps through an ad-supported model or monthly paid subscriptions.
Individual subscriptions are priced at Rs 99 per month while family subscriptions cost Rs 149 per month. Paid subscriptions will also offer consumers additional features like offline playback, ad-free experience and background listening among others.
This launch comes nearly a fortnight after Swedish music streaming major Spotify made its India debut amid a legal tussle with music company Warner Music. Besides Spotify, YouTube Music will have to fight out existing rivals like Reliance’s JioSaavn, Gaana, which is owned by Times Internet, a part of the Times Group which publishes this paper, Xiaomi-backed Hungama, Amazon Prime Music and Apple Music.
India’s online music listening market is expected to surpass $273 million by March 2020, according to estimates from consulting firm Deloitte.
The number of consumers across online streaming apps grew 50% to reach around 150 million in 2018, according to a EY-FICCI report released yesterday. Gaana is currently the market leader in India with over 80 million monthly users as of December 2018, as per industry estimates.
YouTube Music is expected to eventually replace Google Play Music that made its India debut two years ago, by bringing in latter’s key features like user’s personal uploads, playing local MP3s on Android and the ability to import their library content and music preferences to YouTube Music.
The internet giant will also look to move the paid subscribers of Google Play Music to YouTube Music, although it didn’t disclose any specific timeline for this shift. Currently, it is offering a paid YouTube Music membership for all paid Google Play Music subscribers.
YouTube Music will likely benefit from the close integration to the flagship YouTube app, that gives consumers access not only to official music videos, and master sound recordings but also related content like viral cover videos, viral dance covers, remixes and live recordings at a single place.
Around 250 million people in India watched music on YouTube in 2018 and the platform accounted for 40% of the digital revenues for labels, as per the EY-FICCI report.
Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music, YouTube told ETtech that its breadth of content will be a key differentiator from rivals, with video being “the lynchpin to the whole proposition”.
Cohen is also betting on alternative monetization models for artists as potential differentiators in the future. “Merchandising and artists ticketing is in our future roadmap, there’s also going to be digital stickers and goods for consumers” he said.
“We have spent a lot of effort creating the official artist channels, that allows the artists to have direct access to their consumers. They could create their shelves and deploy the community tab which gives them access for social interactions. I believe the future is all around direct to consumer and the power of artists and labels to find and build their audience. We are the only platform that can do both social interaction as well as commerce, where the labels and the artists actually have their direct access to their fans” Cohen said.
Apart from YouTube Music, YouTube is also bringing YouTube Premium to India, which provides consumers access to original video content programming across various genres along with a bundled paid music subscription. Individual subscriptions are priced at Rs 129 per month while family subscriptions are priced at Rs 189 per month.