The evolution of Indian music streaming players

This World Music Day, we see how brands are ringing in the occasion and how music streaming platforms are growing by the day

e4m by Anjali Thakur
Published: Jun 21, 2019 9:29 AM  | 6 min read

The music industry has changed quite a bit over the last couple of decades, all thanks to new technology. With the rise of affordable mobile internet, audio streaming has rapidly gained popularity to become the easiest way to listen to music anywhere and everywhere. This World music day, we take a look at how is the music streaming platforms growing by the day? With the new music OTT players in the segment, how is it led to the rise in number in Indian audio/video OTT industry? Also, how brands are ringing in the occasion.

Valued at US$ 280 million, the Indian audio OTT industry has been on a growth trajectory. At present, the revenue from the audio OTT industry contributes 67 per cent of the total recorded music revenue in India.

According to a Cisco report, India is becoming a big battleground for video and audio streaming services firms. This is due to the number of smartphone users in India is expected to double to 829 million by 2022 from 404.1 million in 2017. The heightened interest in India’s music-streaming segment comes at a time when the over-the-top (OTT) industry is having its moment in the sun thanks to increasing smartphone and internet adoption, coupled with sliding data prices.

The on-demand video industry is already the rage in the country, and experts believe music streaming is the next frontier. But tapping into space is getting more challenging.

Swedish music streaming giant Spotify said that since its launch in India in the first quarter, it got more than 1 million users in the country within the very first week. Amarjit Batra, Managing Director, Spotify India: “Even though we are early into our India journey, it has truly been encouraging and special on multiple fronts. It was humbling to see the anticipation for Spotify in India ahead of our arrival and that immensely contributed to us, garnering more than 1 million users within the very first week of our launch. The engagement on the platform has also been above industry standards. Today, we have more than 2 million active monthly users in India.”

Adding, “India is known for its social, cultural and geographic diversity. That said- we are committed to enhancing the user’s experience in music and podcasts through continued focus on personalization, seamless discoverability, and in-depth localization. As invested industry partners, we are focused on growing the market by creating a healthy industry value chain, driving value for our partners, including labels, creators and brands. We believe there is an immense opportunity for growth through education in transitioning users from the mindset of piracy towards streaming music as we continue to make music streaming a more accessible, exciting and a preferred proposition. Over a decade ago, we pioneered the music streaming service industry; even today, we remain committed in our pursuit to offer an unparalleled audio experience that delivers beyond the user’s expectations and sets music streaming industry standards.”

Players in the industry have also made the most of this growth. Hungama Music, for instance, has registered a 37 per cent growth in music streaming sessions since 2017. Users spent 145 million hours of streaming music, leading to a 22 per cent growth in the time each user spent while listening to music. While the number of streams has tripled since the year before, users downloaded 40 million songs in 2018, 29 times more than 2017 for offline listening.

“The last few years have completely altered the music streaming landscape in the country. Affordable data plans and increasing smartphone usage are fast making streaming the go-to mode of music consumption for consumers,” said Neeraj Roy, founder & CEO, Hungama Digital Media.

India’s biggest record label T-Series has grown at whirlwind speeds in recent times. After months of competing with Sweden’s PewDiePie, the homegrown company became YouTube’s numero uno channel by subscribers on March 29. Led by chairman and managing director Bhushan Kumar, the music and movie production company expanded its subscriber base on YouTube from 30 million at the start of 2018 to 70 million within a year. It now has more than 100 million subscribers. Talking to us, Bhushan said, “We are obviously very happy that through the T-Series YouTube Channel we have been able to put India on the world map. I am glad that we have been able to reach other countries because of the massive popularity of YouTube all over the globe. We make content that the audience wants to see and hear and by God’s grace, we have been accepted. It was only recently two months ago that we had launched #BharatWinsYouTube campaign, where I appealed to everyone to make an Indian channel become the most subscribed channel in the world.”

Taking technology and content leap, Saregama Carvaan has launched Carvaan 2.0 by giving access to hundreds of daily updated Wi-Fi-based audio stations along with 5000 evergreen pre-loaded songs. Like the original version, Carvaan 2.0 also stands by its promise of simplicity, nostalgia and a lean back listening experience. The device now comes with a fourth category named Wifi along with Artistes, Specials and Geetmala.

On the occasion of World Music Day Zee5 is curating an exclusive event, #SoundOfIndia, bringing together a line-up of artists like MC ALtaf, Swadeshi Band, Dopeadelicz, Darpan, MC Azad and Jayhaan in Mumbai. ZEE5 Global will LIVE stream this musical night for its international audience on 20th June, 7:30 pm IST. In the spirit of celebrating these artists, the platform will play these 100 minutes of multi-genre music on loop till 21st June, 12 pm IST, after which, the event will be on VOD for their global audience to enjoy, whenever and wherever they wish to. ZEE5 brings audiences across borders, closer to these artists, all on one platform.

Whereas,  Gaana is offering users the opportunity to embark on a musical world tour from the comfort of their homes. The platform will offer users the opportunity to browse and listen to trending music from more than 50 countries today. Available across desktop and mobile web, users can simply tap on the ‘Music Day’ option on the home screen and select any country within the interactive map to enjoy popular native music from the region. This will also open up rich media cards featuring trivia about the origin of indigenous music in each of these places, popular genres & artists.

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