Interview: “We’re dealing with a market where many listeners are on pirated music” Amarjit Singh Batra, Spotify India

Amarjit Singh Batra
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In conversation with Social Samosa, Amarjit Singh Batra of Spotify India, sheds light on the platform, their new campaign, increasing awareness about music streaming in India, and more.

Spotify has gone all out and about to reach the masses with the launch of its first national TV campaign with a bilingual approach starring Anil Kapoor and Ishaan Thakkar. Its tagline – ‘Keep Listening, Uninterrupted’ is in tandem to the core idea which Spotify wants to propagate to the audiences.

According to the brand, music should be like an avenue which anybody and everyone can listen to, at any point in time. Spotify aims to create an adaptable interface based on ideology.

Here’s more from the interview:

Excerpts

While the maiden campaign back home focused on the playlist for everyone, what different is the latest campaign bringing on the table? What is the insight behind the campaign?

The previous campaign was a launch campaign where we entered India. Its objective was to reach the audience which is not only aware of Spotify but also love music. The idea was whatever the situation was, there is a playlist for that. We didn’t use TV as a medium back then. It was more of digital, outdoor and radio.

The new campaign is a TV campaign. We are mentioning the 50 million playlists with a wider campaign to reach the masses with consumer insight. The strength we are trying to highlight here is people like to listen to the latest popular rings of music, people recommend to their friend.

The second part is people listen to music in the background when they are doing something else. Here, we want to highlight that whatever you are doing, Spotify is something you can use in the background.

Broadly, this campaign is based on the previous campaign, goes to the masses, connects to larger audiences and geographies. In the end, a lot of people don’t know Spotify and this campaign touches those people who are not aware of Spotify or streaming.

What was the brief shared? What did you expect your creative to go about creating this campaign?

The major brief from our side was that we want to reach out to a larger audience. We are building a Spotify for India and not for global.

So, how do we localize the strength of Spotify and represent it to the Indian TG so they don’t relate to it as a foreign brand but a brand which is part of their lives in India? The second objective was how do you communicate the strengths of Spotify and build people’s connection with music and try to marry it with a consumer insight of how people consume music and how they recommend, share or discuss music within households.

The third piece was to look at- we are coming to a market where a lot of people are on piracy, a lot of people don’t know about streaming. We might be 4 months into the country, we are trying to take a wider approach and evangelize streaming and listening to music.

How did the association with Anil Kapoor and Ishaan Khattar pan out? Why both of them?

This wasn’t a pre-determined thought. We fundamentally went with the insight and we thought about the best way to present the insight into a script. The strong chemistry they show might end up getting them a father-son duo role and we can take credit for that.

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‘Regional’ is said to be the thriving market in India. What are your plans on that front?

For us, it’s a great time to enter and we are happy with the timing of our launch. We believe, a lot of good work has been done in last 2-4 years to get people ready across India, even in Tier 2, Tier 3 market and even the rural places in many ways, who are ready for the Internet consumption.

We intend to improve the product features wherever it’s being difficult. For example- we realize that a large portion might not have the best network or best data for their smartphones. To tackle this, we have launched a lighter app called ‘Spotify Lite of 10MB’ which offers similar to the main app.

You can get music in all 22 official languages.

Content-wise, product-wise, cost-wise, we are ready and this marketing campaign is opening inroads into those.

Maybe, in India, people aren’t alien to streaming in a way but they might be hung up on the old methods like using USB, pirated methods, etc. Those are the behaviors that Spotify as the market leader aims to change and get more and more people towards legal streaming.

Please shed some light on your marketing mix since the first campaign was OOH led. How do you plan to go ahead? How much of the overall marketing pie does digital occupy currently?

The marketing mix changes as per what you want to do. In the launch campaign, we had more than 50% on digital. In this campaign, TV is a larger component of the overall pie.

We believe our largest audience is on digital so we focus disproportionately on the area, globally and overall. One of the highlights in our digital venture has been social media. We are active on social media.

Our data shows we have a 60% share of voice on social media, as of now.

What is your revenue model like (no of advertisers on board and expectations in the future)? What are the plans ahead on that front?

When we started off in February, we had 3 advertisers, brands like One plus, US tourism, etc. Netflix went on to make dedicated ads with us. As we move forward, we have seen an influx of a lot of advertisers and many are in the pipeline.

One more thing to highlight is podcasts which are becoming a global phenomenon and Spotify is a leader in that. In India, we see a lot of scope on that front.          

What do we expect more? The Roadmap ahead.

We can expect us to continue to reach out to audiences and connect to them and bring them to streaming. You can expect us to be improving on our product to increase reach in India, listening carefully to the insights they are giving us, people who are using Spotify and even not using. Tweaking our conversation, around helping people to consume music and music through Spotify. 

Lastly, we are enabling and working closely with labels and artist fraternity and helping them discover within India, break out in India.

We want Indian music top of the charts and that’s one of the objectives we want to remain active on that. Also, being a part of greater ecosystems, and bring podcast and make it active in India.


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