Digital Music Study 2019: Streaming revenue shows 30.9% growth

The study, released by IMI and IFPI, is bullish about the growth of digital music industry in India

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Oct 1, 2019 1:21 PM

The IFPI-IMI Digital Music Study 2019, which was conducted across nine geographical locations in India, has been released. The report, released by Indian Music Industry and The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, shows how the Indian music lovers are plugged in longer than their global counterparts, leading to a rise in the popularity of digital streaming services. But surprisingly, local music genres still rule the roost.

Over 97 per cent of those surveyed listen to music on their smartphones. As much as 19.1 hours are spent listening to music in a week. As many as 75 per cent respondents listen to music relaxing at home, 62 per cent in the car, 45 per cent at social events, and 62 per cent use social media sites or apps to listen to music or watch music videos.

The digital streaming services are showing healthy growth on the back of cheap data plans and smartphone penetration. Streaming revenue showed a 30.9 per cent growth and was the main contributor, accounting for 70 per cent of overall revenues. Other digital sales in the form of digital downloads accounted for 8 per cent of revenues. Subscription streaming revenues grew by 33.3 per cent from Rs 73.2 crore to Rs 292.8 crore and ad-supported audio streaming income – the free tier of services– rose by 43.6 per cent from Rs 78 crore to Rs 257 crore. Video stream revenues were Rs 194 crore, which is 26.01 per cent of total streaming.

The report has thrown up several interesting findings-- 80 per cent of surveyed internet users identified themselves as “music fanatics” or “music lovers”, higher than the corresponding global average of 54 per cent. When compared to their global counterparts, the respondents in India expressed greater preference to music videos, with the time spent on video streaming services accounting for 28 per cent of the average user's total listening time in India.

Radio is still a popular medium and rising steadily. On an average, 86 per cent of surveyed respondents used radio (live or on demand) to consume music. Engagement with radio formats was equitable across all age-groups, though consumption was particularly higher in the age group of 35-44, with 90 per cent users opting to listen to music on the radio in the past three months.

Music listeners aged 16-44 are more likely to pay for audio streaming as they prefer an ad-free experience, the autonomy to listen to anything at any time, convenient form of music streaming and access to a one-stop shop for all their respective music preferences.

The report further states that paid audio subscribers show greater engagement with music. An average user spends 2.5 hrs/week listening to music through paid audio streaming versus 2 hrs/week through free audio streaming. However, paid audio subscribers are few in number with only 61 per cent surveyed respondents consuming music through the premium tiers on offer by the digital platforms.

In India, audio streaming comprised 39.4 per cent of time spent listening to music across the three methods (video streaming, audio streaming, and radio), but returned 71.8 per cent of the share of revenues generated by them. In contrast, radio was responsible for 21.7 per cent of listening time but a share of just 2.9 per cent of total revenues from the three music listening methods.

Social media, not surprisingly, is emerging as a popular music destination. WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram were the preferred music focused social networks among surveyed respondents but TikTok is growing in popularity amongst all age groups.

The report details the impediments to subscription-based model. When respondents were asked why they did not pay for subscriptions, 51 per cent said they preferred to use YouTube, while free music streaming services (45 per cent) and free downloads (44 per cent) were also preferred.  The other reasons for not using paid streaming services, were that paid audio streaming is too expensive (25 per cent) or unaffordable (24 per cent) and a lack of awareness of the features and/or the features provided by paid services not being good enough (17 per cent).

Piracy still remains a concern. In fact, piracy levels in India, at 67 per cent, are much higher than the global average of 27 per cent. With the emergence of a digital ecosystem, music piracy has shifted from physical piracy to cyberspace, says the report. 

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