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Spotify Launches in India Amidst Legal Battle With Warner

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Warner Music Group is suing Spotify in India, but that's not stopped the music streaming service from launching in the nation. From a report: Spotify said it sees a big opportunity in India, one of the fastest growing music markets. To court Indian users, the company is deviating from its global playbook. The company said for the first time, Spotify Free -- its free tier -- will enable users to listen to any song on demand -- as opposed to accessing a limited set of playlists in other markets. Spotify Free is available on mobile, tablet, and web. Additionally, its monthly premium tier starts at Rs 119 ($1.67) in India, compared to $9.99 in the U.S., $11.30 in France, and $13.25 in the U.K. The company is also offering a pay-as-you-go option, allowing users to access Spotify Premium for Rs 13 (18 cents) per day and Rs 39 (55 cents) per week. The lower cost -- the cheapest rate Spotify offers in any market -- and an open free tier, underscore a unique challenge that India, the second largest internet market, presents to global companies. Very few people in the nation are willing -- let alone can afford -- to pay for premium services. Now the legal issue: According to Spotify, Warner Music, the world's third largest music group, "revoked a previously agreed-upon publishing license for reasons wholly unrelated to Spotify's launch in India." The Verge adds: Yesterday, Warner sued to stop Spotify's use of its catalog, which Spotify had tried to obtain rights to through a controversial amendment to the Indian copyright act that allows for broadcasters to obtain licenses without the copyright owner's consent. At the heart of this is whether or not Spotify falls under the umbrella of "broadcaster" in India's Copyright Act of 1957. In the act, a "broadcast" is only defined as "communication to the public." Bombay's high court said that Spotify would still be allowed to launch for now, according to Times of India, and it appears Spotify wasted no time in doing just that. It seems that if Spotify chooses to stream Warner's music in the meantime, Spotify will be required to track usage of Warner's music and set aside money to pay royalties while the case continues through the courts. For now, Spotify is live in India, but without the Warner/Chappell Music catalog, which hosts many of the world's biggest artists.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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