There’s another big entry in the India streaming race as YouTube Music officially launches in the South Asian country. The YouTube Music app joins sister service Google Play, as well as fellow Western-based providers Amazon and Apple Music, in the sought-after market of 1.3 billion people.
Announced Tuesday (March 12) by global head of music Lyor Cohen, YouTube Music’s launch in India comes a few weeks into industry leader Spotify’s entry there (which was complicated by a much-publicized dispute with Warner Music over licensing). The assortment of international services will have to compete with leading domestic platforms Gaana and JioSaavn in the complex market, which boasts 22 major languages.
Costing 99 rupees ($1.42) a month, YouTube Music Premium gives users ad-free access to official songs, albums, singles and music videos, plus thousands of playlists across any genre or language. As in other markets, Premium allows fans to download content for offline listening and the service will also play videos in the background so other tasks can be performed on the phone.
For 129 rupees per month ($1.85), the premium account can be upgraded to include ad-free, background-play access to the entirety of YouTube, including original shows like Cobra Kai, BTS: Burn The Stage and Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television.
There is also a free, ad-supported version of the YouTube Music app.
“India is where the multi-lingual music scene thrives,” said Cohen in a statement. “It’s interesting to note how Indian artists have consistently claimed top spots over the last few months in the Global YouTube Top Artists chart. With YouTube Music, we are hoping to bring the best in global and Indian music to millions of fans across India, and give them an immersive music experience, with the magic of music on YouTube.”
Existing Google Play Music subscribers across India get a YouTube Music Premium membership as part of their subscription each month. The company is also introducing a four-month free trial of the all-encompassing YouTube Premium service to Samsung Galaxy S10 customers.
T. Jay Fowler, director of product, YouTube Music said, “We know that India loves watching music videos on YouTube — be it the vibrancy, choreography, stars and glamour. Music from India has always been so much more than just the audio. Therefore for us, with the launch of YouTube Music, all the emphasis is on the familiar and to make every user experience richer as they start using the service. From recommended music videos, live performances, covers, to new videos — it’s all here, and only here.”