‘India is a very important country for Amazon’

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By Sugandha Rawal

New York– They tweaked the model of Amazon Prime Music before launching it in India, and Steve Boom, Vice President of Amazon Music, says they are happy with the way things fell in place for the streaming music service in the country.

He added that the Indian market is evolving, and he feels there will be room for a more “premium” service in the country soon.

“What we did in India is a little different. We have a two-tier service — we have prime membership with crafted catalogue of music of about two million songs, and then if you want to access to the full 50 million catalogue of songs then we have Amazon Prime Music Unlimited with a monthly payment option,” Boom told IANS here, on the sidelines of the Prime Day Concert, which had an all-female line-up with Grammy-winning pop star Taylor Swift headlining the event.

“India is a little different. We took unlimited music and called it Prime Music. There is just a one-tier service. We did that because the competitive landscape is different in India. You have far more expansive free services,” he added.

Amazon Prime Music was launched in the US in 2014 as an add-on to Amazona’s video streaming service. It came to India in February 2018.

How has the Indian market evolved?

“It is no secret that India is a very important country for Amazon. We have invested heavily and had great success (in the country). Prime has been very successful and is growing extremely fast in India. The video service is also doing very well with a lot of great of original content.”

Launching a music service in India, however, is a different ball game.

“It is different to bring music service to India than other countries because of licensing. In most of Western Europe, you can secure licences by negotiating a deal in New York or Los Angeles. India, however, is dominated by local labels. So, we had to hire a local team and do all the negotiations. It took a little longer,” he said.

Boom points out there is a demand for offline music in India.

“One of the things that we have seen in India is the importance of taking music offline. The demand is higher. I think that is a reflection of network conditions. With the growth of 4G in India, however, that may change over time.

“Another difference is India is a country with so many languages and so many cultures. We have different pockets of customers here,” he said.

Is there a scope to come out with a paid or a more premium option in India anytime soon?

“There will be room in India for some sort of a premium tier. I know the industry would like to see that over time. I don’t know if anybody knows what it will look like yet but I do think that there is room for that.” (IANS)

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