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Music streaming apps have India rocking to new tunes

The rapid speed at which international music streaming apps are burgeoning in India, it’s becoming one of the leading music consumers in the world.

IANS | New Delhi |

The rapid speed at which international music streaming apps are burgeoning in India, it’s becoming one of the leading music consumers in the world.

Each player is coming with its own unique specialty with cutting-edge competition, yet, leading to more options for the consumers.

While, the recent entrant Moodagent from Denmark has the advantage of ‘Artificial Intelligence’, Tidal’s unique to ‘High Fidelity’. However, Amazon Music boasts of ‘High Definition’ quality, Spotify’s ‘Only You’ feature is a personalised experience based on users changing listening habits. Apple smartly launched lossless and spatial audio, and Dolby Atmos segment at no additional cost, while other players were charging extra for the feature.

The pandemic has definitely redefined the music listening arena in India making it an exciting space both for the creators and the 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 shifts, wherein outside of film music, independent music is thriving. Followers of RADAR India, one of our biggest indie playlists and part of a larger initiative, grew by 500 per cent since May last year. India is also moving fast in terms of increasing internet penetration, content consumption, and consumer expectations of brands. All of these factors make India so special.”

Spotify has occupied a huge space within just 2.5 years in India with over 10,000 Indian artists profiles and 36 original podcasts. “With every campaign, our goal has been to become as local as possible. On the music front, we’ve invested deeply to work with the local artist and label community, whether film, non-film, or independent, to educate them on how best they can use the app,” says the Spotify spokesperson.

Ritnika Nayan, CD baby, director, market development India, elaborates on what makes India a rewarding space.

“Music is a big part of the Indian culture – whether its 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 total sense for music apps to come into the market as it can be a very lucrative endeavour,” Ritnika tells IANS.

Gaurav Balani, bass guitarist of ‘Parikrama’ band agrees, “There is literally a listener for all kinds of music in our country due to the cultural significance. Not to forget the major footprint of the Bollywood music industry, which accounts for a major listener base in India.”

Singer Apeksha Dandekar credits the shift in music consumption to multiple browsing options and the emergence of independent music adding freshness. Apeksha tells IANS: “There are definitely more options to stream music and subscription models are allowing people to access different kinds of music more easily. I think it’s great that independent music is also coming back with a vengeance and is being appreciated.”

The playback singer has films like ‘Bheja Fry 2’, ‘Singh is Bling’, ‘Zubaan’ to her credit.

Singer Shilpa Rao shares how the dynamics of music listening in the pandemic have led to a major shift. “The main experience of attachment with a song is on the phone, when you driving or in your home. Now, you are getting a chance to go the entire album at ease and gravitate towards the music you like,” Shilpa tells IANS.

Shilpa has 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 the music steaming apps are an upward trend and India is a lucrative market for these players.

“100 per cent! More and more international players have started seeing India as a viable business option. With the entry of international companies like CD Baby, Fuga, Spotify, Apple, etc, it is no surprise that more streaming platforms want to enter the market,” says Ritnika.

Technically speaking, Gaurav adds, “Definitely, the streaming industry was becoming bigger steadily with the decline of the physical record sales for a while now. It got an even bigger push after Covid-19 because artists didn’t have many other options but to release music more often. Even artists who hadn’t planned on releasing music in the foreseeable future had started releasing music.”

Whereas, Spotify spokesperson believes that is a lot of room for improvements and experimentations. “Audio streaming has been steadily growing in India, and we believe that the market is wide open and those who provide a superior user experience will have room to grow. We believe there is a significant opportunity in increasing the consideration beyond metros, age groups, traditional music preferences, podcast content, etc. Ultimately, we have to be continuously relevant and connected to our listeners and creators to succeed long term in 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, even though it’s still not comparable to what we see for music and podcasts in many other countries,” he concludes.