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Spotify sees indie playlist grow 90% in 2020

The hosts of popular podcasts “Reply All”, “Pod Save America” and “The Bill Simmons Podcast” agreed to talk up Spotify on social media and during their shows. Photo: ReutersPremium
The hosts of popular podcasts “Reply All”, “Pod Save America” and “The Bill Simmons Podcast” agreed to talk up Spotify on social media and during their shows. Photo: Reuters

  • Spotify said while much of its initial growth was driven by younger consumers, last year saw a notable increase in brand traction among those over 35 years of age, which doubled among the group between January of last year and this year

NEW DELHI: Independent music artistes saw their popularity surge in 2020, as stuck-at-home Indians, in the wake of pandemic-led curbs, looked for entertainment options. As a result, Swedish audio streaming service Spotify’s Indie India playlist grew 90% year-on year. On an average, a Spotify listener in India streamed nearly 150 artists and three podcasts last year, according to recent findings by the platform.

Possibly due to unfortunate circumstances, listeners streamed happier music in 2020 than in 2019. The average happiness rating of all music streams increased 2% on Spotify India during this time.

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Indie music is produced independent of commercial record labels or their subsidiaries, a process that may include an autonomous, do-it-yourself approach to recording and publishing.

Launched in India in February 2019, Spotify had notched up 108 million paid subscribers at last count. According to a report by data measurement firm Nielsen, it commands 15% of the audio streaming market in the country, which is dominated by Gaana (30%) and JioSaavn (24%).

Without many new offerings, Indians, under lockdown curbs and across age groups, seem to have turned to emerging sources of entertainment during the pandemic. Spotify said while much of its initial growth was driven by younger consumers, last year saw a notable increase in brand traction among those over 35 years of age, which doubled among the group between January of last year and this year.

Currently, 90% of Spotify’s podcast listeners from India are under the age of 35.

Other Spotify playlists that have grown the most year-on-year include Bollywood Dance Music, Top Hits Hindi, Latest Tamil, Latest Telugu, and Hot Hits India. Today, 70% of listeners who stream podcasts on Spotify, love pop music, the service said.

For those aged 17 years and below in India, international pop was a favourite, with the generation’s top streamed tracks including Trevor Daniel’s Falling, Melanie Martinez’s Play Date, and Imagine Dragons’ Believer. However, BTSs’ all-English chartbuster Dynamite became a fast favourite for this age group after its August 2020 release.

Despite the slowdown in release of film music, the impact of Bollywood was stronger than ever for those between the ages of 25 and 54, through tracks such as Tujhe Kitna Chahne Lage (from Kabir Singh) or Shayad by Arijit Singh, Pritam and Irshad Kamil. Unlike their younger counterparts, tracks streamed by those over the age of 55 reflected a stronger influence of international music, including Blinding Lights by The Weeknd, and beyond.

“India is a vast and diverse market, and the love for audio runs deep. Over two years, we’ve gained insights on how our listeners here consume music and podcasts, and tapped into these learnings to establish a deep relationship with listeners, creators, and brands. Through 2020, we dove deeper into local languages and regions with our communication, content, and curation," Amarjit Singh Batra, managing director - India, Spotify said in a statement adding that the service was streamed in over 3000 cities in India.

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