How India Is Embracing A Music Streaming War!
India – The home to a population of 1.3 billion and counting is unsurprisingly the world’s second-largest smartphone market. Add to this, the cheapest mobile internet in the world pegged at Rs 1.751 (USD 0.02) for 1GB of data since Septemeber 2016. Within 3 months of this launch, Jio garnered 50 million users projected to reach 400 million by 20202 . This number is larger than the entire population of the United States of America.
This uninterrupted & cheap access to high-speed mobile internet wiped out offline music market and offline downloads within months effectively killing the monetization plans of a lot of music streaming services in India. In fact, India effectively saw unprecedented growth in online on-demand video and music services.
Today, with such high growth prospects, India sees a virtual music streaming war with giants like Apple, Spotify, Jio and Amazon fighting for the biggest piece of the pie. The entrance of Spotify in 2019 is one prime example. It boasts more 40 million songs and adds 30,000 daily.
Why On-Demand Services is a Rage in India
Indians viewed over 250 million online videos in 2017 with Youtube3 being the top aggregator. The on-demand service industry is growing by the day and expected to reach around 500 million by 2020. Further, this is also impressive as the industry grew 64% since 2016 making India the second largest online video streaming market only after the US.
India has around 500 million smartphone users in 20184, 80% of these users consume content on their phone. This rise can certainly be attributed to cheap internet and falling smartphone prices. Hotstar is one home-grown app which now has about 75 millions streamers for freemium content on its platform.
On the other hand, Amazon Prime is another leader in the industry which bundles its Prime Video and Music service in a consolidated package of INR 999 per year whereas Netflix is also making inroads in India despite a more premium tag on its services.
How Does The Competition Stack Up!
Since Spotify entered in India at the end of February 2019, it has already 2 million using it. However, despite growing in countries like India. The main revenue source i.e 90% of its revenue comes from North America and Europe. On top of that, major Indian Players i.e. Saavn(Now JioSaavn), Gaana and Hungama Music already have 40 million, 80 million and 55 million respectively.
Backed by behemoths i.e. Reliance and Tencent Holdings have subsequently invested millions in both Saavn and Ganna respectively. Other players also include Apple Music and Amazon Prime.
However, unlike Spotify, Gaana started its journey in 2011 as a web music streaming platform which quickly jumped on the app bandwagon by 2012. Despite the advantage of being an early entrant, paid subscribers are far and few. Out of over 100 million subscribers, only 1% are paid5, subscribers. Most of the Indian services offer subscription rates that are always around the INR 100 mark. In comparison, Spotify charges $10 a month in the US. Hence, monetizing the huge amount of subscribers is everyone’s concern, let alone Spotify.
What the Future Holds!
Today, on average, an Indian spend 21.5 hours a week listening to music compared to a global average of 17.8 hours. Hence, the digital push on mobile streaming is here to stay. However, generating revenue is still going to be the main problem for almost all music-streaming services.
Despite the increasing number of freebies, subscriptions are the only way to create a sustainable offering. With a lot of options to choose from, Indian consumers are certainly embracing the music-streaming war.
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