Spotify Barely Crosses 2 Million Users in India — Though ‘Lite’ Is Growing Dramatically

Shifting the global music streaming race, Spotify recently rolled out its ‘Lite’ app in over 36 countries.

The move comes after a year of testing the 15 MB app in emerging countries, including Brazil.

So, what makes the ‘Lite’ app so unique? Spotify simply allows users to save battery, storage, and data with the slimmed-down footprint.

Users first set a monthly mobile data cap.  Most developing and emerging countries have a very limited, capped data plan.

To save battery power, Lite also removes the popular Spotify Connect option.  This feature allows listeners to stream their favorite tracks on wireless audio devices.  Users also shouldn’t expect to stream music with ‘extreme quality’ audio.

The app also allows users to clear their cache within Lite quickly. This quick-dump frees up much-needed space on low-end smartphones.

Finally, the search function only provides links to albums and playlists.

The official launch of Lite in 36 countries comes immediately after BofA Merrill Lynch and data analytics firm SimilarWeb shared a surprising study.

Despite dominating the market in terms of overall users and subscriptions, YouTube Music and Spotify both emerged as the most listened to music apps in India.  That’s due to poor user experiences in competitors’ apps.

Breaking down the study, Indian users streamed their favorite works on YouTube Music for 10 minutes and 8 seconds each day.  Spotify came close behind with 10 minutes and 4 seconds.  Gaana – the current market leader – had the lowest average daily time with 5 minutes and 48 seconds.  Wynk Music followed with 6 minutes and 2 seconds.  Users spent 9 minutes and 23 seconds on JioSaavn.

Now, we know how Spotify aims to conquer the emerging market.

A Lite turnaround in India?

For months, Spotify has remained silent on its total subscription numbers following its launch in India.

During the annual Rise startup conference in Hong Kong, the company’s Global Head of Markets Cecilia Qvist shared a glimpse into how Spotify aims to conquer India with Lite.  Granted, this is after many, many years.

And growth could be a serious grind. After reaching over a million users in India during the first week of its launch, Spotify has barely crossed the 2 million mark. It remains unclear whether the company only tallied subscriptions, or if this figure includes trial accounts. Either way, this number remains rather unimpressive, revealing that Spotify has yet to find the success it hoped to achieve in the country.

Qvist also revealed that people have readily installed Lite in India and around the world.

[Lite] has 90% of the same attributes as our core product but is installing much faster.

The company also hasn’t found the same success in every other emerging market.

Qvist admitted that despite now rolling out in 79 countries, Spotify still has a lot of work to do.

Just look at the penetration of mobile phones, for example, across the globe.  I think it’s almost five billion, right?  And we have 217 million users, so there is much, much more room to grow.