It’s not there yet, but YouTube could soon be the biggest paid music-subscription service in India. That’s the hook for a report by Bloomberg claiming that YouTube has more than 800,000 paying subscribers in India across its YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium tiers – the latter of which includes the former.

The report claims that YouTube’s subscriptions in India have been growing faster than those of other music-streaming services, although it notes Gaana’s claim that it has more than one million subscribers, which may (other rivals haven’t offered their totals) make it the largest music-subscription service in India. For now.

800,000 subscribers represents a decent start to YouTube’s premium business in India, given that it only launched the two paid tiers there in March this year. That said, YouTube has 265 million monthly active users in India, so another way of viewing the new figure would be to point out that it’s taken nine months to convert 0.3% of the user-base.

When it launched the tiers, YouTube charged 99 rupees a month (about $1.40) for YouTube Music Premium and 129 rupees a month ($1.82) for YouTube Premium. As a comparison, Spotify Premium launched at 119 rupees there in February, while Apple Music, Gaana and JioSaavn all cost 99 rupees a month. That said, India is one market where monthly is far from the only option: daily, weekly and annual subscriptions are also available, with the latter category having recently seen heavy discounts.

The bigger picture: the Indian music industry is keen for subscriptions to grow. A report early this year from Deloitte and industry body IMI warned that “less than 1 per cent” of India’s estimated 150 million music-streamers were paid subscribers. Boosting that conversion rate will be key to the industry’s ambitions of making India one of the top 10 recorded music markets in the world – it was 15th in 2018 according to the IFPI.

With YouTube already accounting for as much as 40% of Indian labels’ digital revenues according to another 2019 report, from business association the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), YouTube Music has a significant role to play alongside its audio-streaming rivals.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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