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Streaming of audio grows nearly 40% in India in 2020

India’s audio streaming market is dominated by Gaana, with a 30% share, followed by JioSaavn (24%), Wynk Music (15%), Spotify (15%), Google Play Music . (Photo: Reuters)Premium
India’s audio streaming market is dominated by Gaana, with a 30% share, followed by JioSaavn (24%), Wynk Music (15%), Spotify (15%), Google Play Music . (Photo: Reuters)

  • People are multi-tasking, switching between household chores and professional engagements, to the sound of music
  • India’s audio streaming market is dominated by Gaana, with a 30% share, followed by JioSaavn (24%), Wynk Music (15%), Spotify (15%), Google Play Music (10%), and others (7%)

Winced out of daily commutes, music has now emerged as the preferred stress-buster for the millions who are working from home, playing a therapeutic role for these multi-tasking times.

Both the number of subscribers of audio streaming services and the time they spend listening have grown nearly 40% in 2020 across platforms, said Blaise Fernandes, president and chief executive officer of Indian Music Industry, the apex body of music companies and record labels.

The soundtrack to the pandemic, going by industry executive accounts, looks eclectic: there’s the usual Bollywood film fare, but also, increasingly, K-pop and indie Indian. People are multi-tasking, switching between household chores and professional engagements, to the sound of music.

Despite the absence of new Bollywood offerings, Indian film music continues to top the charts with artistes like Arijit Singh emerging among the most streamed singers. At the same time, indie music too has made significant inroads, with Jubin Nautiyal and Darshan Raval bringing out new songs this year.

India’s audio streaming market is dominated by Gaana, the streaming service owned by Times Internet Ltd, with a 30% share, followed by JioSaavn (24%), Wynk Music (15%), Spotify (15%), Google Play Music (10%), and others (7%), according to a study by Kantar and audience measurement and analytics company VTION this January.

“In the absence of new movie releases, non-film music has shown tremendous increase year-on-year," said Prashan Agarwal, CEO, Gaana. In 2019, 40% of Hindi top 100 charts comprises non-film songs, the figure has risen to 65% in 2020 with the number of independent artistes with more than a million plays of their songs on the service having registered a 70% increase y-o-y, Agarwal added.

Amarjit Batra, managing director - India, Spotify admitted while the majority of India’s most-streamed songs on the service this year are from Bollywood, international and independent music have seen significant growth, reflecting India’s appetite for all kinds of music. For instance, 60% of the top 10 albums of 2020 on Spotify were by international artistes, with love for Korean pop music remaining consistent and K-pop band BTS making it to the top five artistes streamed in India on Spotify this year. On Gaana too, K-Pop has seen growth of 350% in 2020.

“While Arijit Singh, Tanisk Bagchi, A. R. Rahman, Neha Kakkar, and Shreya Ghosal are the most streamed Indian artistes outside the country, among independent artistes, Prateek Kuhad, Ritviz, Nucleya, Lost Stories, and The F16s are most streamed abroad," Batra pointed out.

Vikram Mehra, managing director at Saregama India Ltd, said while established artistes have been able to build on their fan base in 2020 by actively involving audiences in virtual sessions, newer singers have emerged.

“Singers who were typically associated with film music had already started exploring avenues outside the film ecosystem in 2019. 2020, seemed to help build them in this direction further," said a JioSaavn spokesperson referring to singers like Jubin Nautiyal and Darshan Raval.

Spotify’s Batra cited the example of Diljit Dosanjh whom Spotify collaborated with for his non-film album - G.O.A.T., to host a ‘Listening Party with Diljit’ on Twitter in July this year. Batra said this resulted in millions of streams from India as well as the US, UK, Canada, and Australia with G.O.A.T emerging as the only non-film, Indian album in this year’s top 10 albums on the platform in India.

Apart from the rise of regional language music which now contributes 39% of all streams, up from 33% a year back across services, the lockdown also saw growth in specific playlists such as cleaning, home workouts, kids’ content and cooking. People developed relaxation and sleep rituals where audio has become an important part of the process. Specific activity based or 'intent music listening' is a habit that is here to stay, the JioSaavn spokesperson said.

In India, during April-June, Spotify saw a 37% increase in listeners using the desktop version of the app, while there was a 55% increase in listeners using the app on their tablets. AdditionallyTV and gaming consoles listening grew in excess of 55% globally.

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