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Spotify and Warner Music Group renew their global licensing deal, resolve issue in India

Spotify and Warner Music Group have renewed their global licensing partnership, the two said on Wednesday, confirming that the giant music label’s songs will now be available on the Sweden-headquartered firm’s platform in India.

In a joint statement, the two companies said, “Spotify and Warner Music Group are pleased to announce a renewed global licensing partnership. This expanded deal covers countries where Spotify is available today, as well as additional markets. The two companies look forward to collaborating on impactful global initiatives for Warner artists and songwriters, and working together to grow the music industry over the long term.”

The companies did not share financial terms of the deal.

The move comes months after Spotify signed a licensing agreement with Warner Music Group’s music publish arm Warner Chappell in India to put an end to their months-long legal battle. Warner Chappell, like other publishing companies, represents songwriters, while record labels work with the recording artist and producer.

Warner Music, one of the world’s top three music labels, had sued Spotify days before the music streaming service was to launch in India, one of the world’s biggest entertainment markets. Spotify argued that it was using an Indian rule that permits radio stations to offer songs from Chappell Music.

Today’s announcement will result in thousands of songs from artists such as Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran and Cardi B and bands such as Coldplay and Linkin Park — all of whom are represented by Warner Music — to be available for the first time to Spotify users and subscribers in India. Spotify launched in India early last year.

The unavailability of songs from these popular artists was a major disadvantage for Spotify in India, a very competitive market with dozens of players. Most music streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, and recent entrant Resso have aggressively priced their premium subscriptions in India, charging less than $2 a month.

According to industry estimates, more than 200 million Indians stream music online. Times Internet-owned Gaana leads the market with over 150 million monthly active users. But very few are willing to pay yet — which explains why Spotify launched a free ad-supported service in India that offers users in the country access to the full catalog.

Bloomberg reported in December that YouTube Music / Premium, had amassed over 800,000 subscribers in India, more than Spotify, which has not disclosed its India figures.

According to research firm Statista, music streaming services in India will clock about $244 million in revenue this year, compared to the much mature U.S. market, where they are estimated to generate $4.5 billion this year.

It hasn’t been easy for Spotify to renew its deals with music labels. According to Financial Times, music labels were negotiating to secure a guaranteed minimum percentage of Spotify’s subscription revenue, “regardless of how much music users consume versus podcasts or other content.”

Source: TechCrunch

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