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Spotify Announces Listening Restrictions For Free Users In India. Know What Isn’t Free Anymore!

Discover how Spotify’s recent move to restrict certain features for free users in India is part of a strategic push to boost premium subscriptions and deepen its impact in the dynamic Indian music streaming market.

After a successful 5-year presence in the Indian music streaming market since February 2019, Spotify is rolling out listening restrictions for its free users in India commencing from October 9th, 2023. This strategic move aims to incentivize free users to embrace the premium tier of the platform by locking certain features behind a paywall.

Previously, free users in India could enjoy a variety of features such as playing songs in a specific order, repeating songs, and tapping back to their previous tracks. However, these luxuries will now be exclusive to Premium subscribers. Spotify emphasizes that free users will still have access to their favorite artists, albums, playlists, and personalized song recommendations.

This decision marks a significant shift in Spotify’s approach in India. Since its debut in the Indian market in 2019, the streaming giant has gradually introduced these features to free users. Now, Spotify is bringing its free tier in India more in line with the offerings available in Brazil, where similar restrictions have been in place. Despite these new limitations, Spotify India has witnessed substantial growth over the past four and a half years, firmly securing a spot among Spotify’s top five countries with active monthly users. However, India has not yet become one of Spotify’s highest-earning regions, even though its conversion rate to paid subscriptions exceeds the local industry average.

One of the key factors contributing to this is the competitive pricing in India. Spotify’s individual monthly subscription costs just Rs119 (approximately $1.45), a stark contrast to the $10.99 per month in the United States. Furthermore, Spotify offers ‘mini’ mobile-only subscription plans in India, starting at as little as Rs7 ($0.0085) per day.

Amarjit Singh Batra, the Managing Director of Spotify in India, underscored that this decision aligns with Spotify’s overarching strategy to lure users away from piracy and less satisfying services, ultimately converting them into premium subscribers. Batra is confident that these changes won’t impede Spotify’s growth in India. The platform aims to deepen its presence within local languages and cultures, catering to the diverse Indian music landscape. He reassures users that, despite these restrictions, Spotify will continue to be one of the best free music services available in the Indian market.

Spotify’s announcement comes after local competitors Gaana and Resso transitioned to subscription-only services. However, he clarified that Spotify has no immediate plans to increase subscription prices in India. Instead, the company is focusing on strengthening marketing partnerships and enhancing the overall experience for premium users as a strategy to boost conversions. These efforts have included initiatives such as offering free premium memberships to customers of e-commerce giants like Flipkart and smartphone manufacturers like OnePlus.

India’s music market relative to global markets plays a significant role in label investments. India’s recorded music market ranked 14th globally in 2022, with revenues of $318.6 million, albeit with relatively low per capita revenue. Spotify aims to change this by providing a platform for a broader range of Indian artists, thereby increasing opportunities for them to succeed in the music industry.

In conclusion, Spotify’s decision to introduce listening restrictions for free users in India represents a strategic move to drive more conversions to its premium service while maintaining a competitive edge in the Indian music streaming market. With its commitment to catering to local tastes and cultures, Spotify hopes to continue its growth trajectory in India, ultimately contributing to the advancement of the Indian music industry.


All information researched from various platforms for factual reporting purposes only. 

Image courtesy: 9to5Mac


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