"we bring a global service that’s been truly localised in its selection and curation"
Amazon has unveiled its music streaming service Amazon Music in India, 18 months after launching its popular Prime package in July 2016.
In an expanding market that includes Apple Music, Times Internet’s Gaana, Jio Music, Wynk Music and Saavn, Amazon Music brings another addition to the Indian music streaming industry.
The American e-commerce giant, in particular, has been making a serious investment over the past couple of years in India, contributing more than $5 billion (approx. £3.63 billion) to date.
At the time, Amazon Prime lacked the free music and video streaming services compared to its competitors in the market.
Since 2017, however, Amazon Video has been steadily building up its presence, also launching a dedicated Bollywood channel to challenge its rival Netflix.
While it has taken some time for Prime Music to release and be ready for current users who subscribe to Prime, Amazon appears confident that it will be just as successful as its other services.
Similar to some of the other streaming platforms available, Amazon Music has tailored itself for Indian users. When the app is launched, users will have the option to choose their music language preferences.
These range from Hindi, English, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Gujarati and Rajasthani. In addition, they have also added more specialised genres of music such as Carnatic Classical, Devotional, Ghazals, Hindustani Classical, Rabindra Sangeet, and Sufi and Qawwali.
At present, five music labels have already signed up for the service, including T-Series, Venus Music, Sony Music, Saregama and Zee Music Company.
However, with online music piracy being an ongoing issue in India, there are still potential concerns over how successful Amazon’s new service will be in attracting users.
It is thought that over half of internet users in the country access unlicensed services on a monthly basis despite the Indian music industry being heavily reliant on Bollywood over international artists.
A report by KPMG estimates that India’s recorded music industry will almost double by 2019 to Rs. 18.9bn (approx. $300 million and £218.4 million).
Bollywood music has a 60% share of music streaming services despite the genre declining due to the transition to digital.
India’s music streaming market is reportedly now gearing towards ‘search and discovery’ for music directors and Bollywood actors, rather than recommendation-orientated streaming. Perhaps, Amazon Music can cater to this new trend?
Previously, Prime Music was limited to consumers who had owned Amazon’s smart speaker ‘Echo’ on a preview basis.
Indian Prime subscribers can access the service via the internet and via mobile devices through apps for IOS and Android. Also, the app can be synced with the company’s personal assistant ‘Alexa’.
Saavn, Gaana and Apple cost Rs 1,050 (£11), Rs 1,020 (£11) and Rs 1,200 (£13) per month respectively for their services. Meanwhile, with Prime Music, it is the cheapest available service at Rs 999 (£11).
Sahas Malhotra, Director of Amazon Music India says: “We believe music listeners are going to love Amazon Prime Music as we bring a global service that’s been truly localised in its selection and curation.
“With ad-free streaming at no additional cost to Prime members, Amazon Prime Music offers a welcome break from text and voice ads that come between you and your favourite music.”
With the quiet launch of Amazon Music in India, it remains to be seen if Spotify will enter an already competitive Indian music streaming marketplace after opening an office in Mumbai in 2017.