Guest Article: Digital media giving music industry a leg-up

Today, the audience is looking towards the digital platform to fulfill their entertainment needs and the Indian digital music market, estimated at Rs 5.2 billion in 2011, is tapping into the medium like never before, writes Siddhartha Roy, Hungama Digital Media.

e4m by Siddhartha Roy
Updated: Nov 10, 2011 8:36 AM
Guest Article:  Digital media giving music industry a leg-up

Overview of the Indian music industry
With as many as 16 official languages and a thousand-year history in musical instruments, the Indian music industry signifies a diverse and large size and scale. The size of the Indian music industry was estimated at around Rs 9 billion at the end of 2011. The growth estimated over the previous year (2010) is a modest 5 per cent.

While music traverses demographics, the key driver to this growth is essentially digital music (explained later) and the youth, which comprise over 50 per cent of the Indian population and being among the largest young population in the world.

According to Music Matters survey conducted by Synovate among Indian youth, music is considered an indispensable part of their lives by an overwhelming 83 per cent. According to FICCI-KPMG estimates of the total industry revenues, the contribution of physical formats like CDs, etc., is decreasing and stands at 38 per cent in 2010. Radio and TV contributed to about 8 per cent. Digital music emerged as the biggest contributor at 42 per cent. This signifies the paradigm shift in the consumer mind about preferences of music consumption.

How are people consuming? The Advent of the Digital Revolution
Traditionally, Indians have been accustomed of using physical formats like audio cassettes and CDs. In fact, certain rural markets are still flocked with audio cassettes and CD penetration is yet to reach there. However, over the past decade or so, mobile and Internet consumption of music has become an integral part of the Indian lifestyle. And, they also have become the key forms of entertainment and music consumption.

With over 850 million-plus connections, India is the second largest and the fastest growing mobile economy in the world. India also has over 100 million Internet users; this number is estimated to growth to 121 million Internet users by the end of 2011. Mobile and Internet are also the single largest source of music consumption. According to the Music Matters survey, of the various devices like TV, radio, computer and mobile that are used to listen to music, about 52 per cent of the consumers prefer the mobile phone.

The Indian digital music market was estimated at Rs 5.2 billion in 2011. The market has grown an estimated 42 per cent over the previous year; it is safe to say the market is growing thanks to digital sales, mainly driven by mobile. Key forms of consumption here are ring tones (RT) and caller ring back tones (CRBT), however, over the last 18 to 24 months, mobile radio has also shown growth, given the proliferation of mobile phones and migration to low cost data plans. With regards to full track music consumption, India is one of the top three countries with the US and the UK. About 95 per cent of the people consuming full track music on their mobile phones are ‘very satisfied’ with it.

The digital music industry has also given a boost to the consumption of content from independent musicians. is a digital platform that provides music lovers access to unreleased music. An initiative pioneered by Hungama Digital Media, is an opportunity for independent artists to build a connect with their audience and give them access to their music that is previously unreleased. The site currently houses original music from over 150 artistes – both well-known and new – spanning several genres. In recent times, has pioneered in concepts that has provided the opportunity to create a new culture on the digital space with WebCerts, LaunchCasts, the TGIRF series, as well as concepts that showcases artists and their content such as First 1s, Rock Your November, etc. is a revolution in the Indian independent music scene that aims to give both artists and music lovers the right to build the demand for independent music from India on a global level.

Its most recent WebCert was with Indie music band Indian Ocean, and saw an unprecedented number of fans and viewers logging on to watch the performance across the web and on their mobile phones. On October 19, 2011, received 45,578 unique views and 57,599 page views on the Indian Ocean page and during the live WebCert (4 pm to 5.15 pm) A¬ achieved 28,918 page views on the Indian Ocean page.

Recording over 50,000 page views for a WebCert only goes to show that the property has evolved as has the audiences viewing habits. It is no surprise that the audience is looking towards the digital platform to fulfill their entertainment needs. However today, properties like the WebCert are giving them an opportunity to watch a concert that is taking place miles away. With the use of social media, they are also able to interact with other fans of the bands and in some cases the band that is playing.

The WebCert is a regular property of India’s premiere digital music platform, streams live performances on, Facebook, YouTube, Daily motion and through Mobile on all Nokia Smart Phones. The WebCert property in Season 1 was a huge success with several independent artists taking their music to their fans via the Internet. With the advent of 3G and faster data speeds over mobile Internet, consumers can look forward to several innovations from Hungama that explore a new level of consumer interactivity and user experience over the Internet and mobile phones.

(Siddhartha Roy is COO, Consumer Business & Allied Services at Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt Ltd.)


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