Music streaming

Music streaming apps are rocking India to new tunes

The rapid rate at which international music streaming apps are flourishing in India, makes it one of the top music consumers in the world.

Each player comes with their own unique specialty with cutting edge competition, while providing more options for consumers.

While recent entrant Moodagent from Denmark has the “artificial intelligence” advantage, Tidal is unique at “high fidelity”. However, Amazon Music boasts of “High Definition” quality, Spotify’s “Only You” feature is a personalized experience based on users’ changing listening habits. Apple cleverly launched lossless and spatial audio, and the Dolby Atmos segment at no extra cost, while other players charged extra for the feature.

The pandemic has definitely redefined the music listening arena in India, making it an exciting space for both creators and consumers.

Spotify spokesperson tells IANS what makes India a lucrative market for international players. “India is one of the fastest growing and most important markets for Spotify. There is a hunger in the Indian market to discover new content. The music market is going through fundamental changes, where apart from the film music, independent music is booming. Subscribers to RADAR India, one of our largest independent playlists and part of a larger initiative, have grown 500% since May of India is also making rapid progress in terms of increasing internet penetration, content consumption and consumer expectations of brands, all of which make India so special.

Spotify has occupied a huge space in just 2.5 years in India with over 10,000 Indian artist profiles and 36 original podcasts. “With every campaign, our goal has been to get as local as possible. On the music front, we have invested heavily in working with the local community of artists and labels, whether film, non-film or independent, to educate them on how best to use the app,” said the Spotify spokesperson.

Ritnika Nayan, CD baby, Director, Indian Market Development, explains what makes India a rewarding space.

“Music is a big part of Indian culture – be it film industry, traditional, folk, classical or indie music. Everyone consumes music in India. If you look at the data and mobile penetration across the country; it makes perfect sense for music apps to hit the market as it can be a very lucrative business,” Ritnika told IANS.

Gaurav Balani, bassist of the band ‘Parikrama’ agrees: “There is literally a listener for all kinds of music in our country because of the cultural significance. Not to mention the major music industry footprint of Bollywood, which represents a large listener base in India.

Singer Apeksha Dandekar attributes the evolution of music consumption to multiple browsing options and the emergence of independent music adding freshness. Apeksha told IANS, “There are definitely more options for streaming music and subscription models make it easier for people to access different types of music. I think it’s great that indie music is also coming back strong and being appreciated.

The playback singer has movies like ‘Bheja Fry 2’, ‘Singh is Bling’, ‘Zubaan’ under her belt.

Singer Shilpa Rao explains how the dynamics of listening to music during the pandemic have led to major change. “The main attachment experience to a song is on the phone, while driving or at home. Now you have the chance to browse the whole album at ease and focus on the music you love”, Shilpa told IANS.

Shilpa delivered hits like “Malang” (“Dhoom 3”), “Bulleya” (“Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”) and the latest “Phuljhadiyon” (“Mimi”) to name a few.

The various factors combined conclude that steam music apps are a rising trend and India is a lucrative market for these players.

“100 percent! More and more international players have started considering India as a viable business option. With the entry of international companies like CD Baby, Fuga, Spotify, Apple, etc., it is not surprising that more streaming platforms want to enter the market,” says Ritnika.

Technically speaking, Gaurav adds, “Certainly the streaming industry has been getting bigger and bigger with the decline in physical disc sales for some time now. It was pushed even further after Covid-19 because artists didn’t have many options but to release music more often. Even artists who hadn’t planned to release music in the foreseeable future had started releasing music.

While Spotify’s spokesperson believes there is plenty of room for improvement and experimentation. “Audio streaming has been growing steadily in India, and we believe the market is wide open and those that provide superior user experience will have room to grow. We believe there is significant opportunity to increase consideration beyond metros, age groups, traditional music preferences, podcast content, etc. Ultimately, we need to be continually relevant and connected to our listeners and creators to be successful in the long term on the market.

“A market like India will almost always be crowded because the potential is so high. We’re proud to say that our app is ahead of most others, although it’s still not comparable to what we see for music and podcasts in many other countries,” he concludes.

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