New Delhi: An Indian typically spends 19.1 hours per week listening to music, much higher than the global average of 18 hours, reveals a new survey. This equates to about 2.7 hours – or the equivalent of listening to 54 three-minute songs – on a daily basis, according to the findings of the Digital Music Study 2019, brought out by the Indian Music Industry (IMI).

The Digital Music Study 2019 was conducted across nine geographical locations in India to examine the ways in which music consumers aged 16–64 engage with recorded music in the country. IMI is the apex body that represents the interest of the music companies or record labels on a pan-India basis.

97% of those surveyed used smartphones to listen to music, while 62% used social media sites or apps to listen to music or watch music videos. 75% heard music while relaxing at home, 62% in the car and 45% at social events like restaurants or pubs.

Streaming revenue showed a 30.9% growth over the year and accounted for 70% of overall music industry revenues, while other digital sales in the form of digital downloads accounted for 8% of revenues. Subscription streaming revenues grew by 33.3% from 73.2 crore to 292.8 crore and ad-supported audio streaming income – the free tier of services– rose by 43.6% to 78 crore to 257 crore.

Engagement with audio streaming in India is strong, with 90% of all respondents accessing a music streaming service in the past month – up by about 7% over 2018. The highest rate of growth for engagement is in the 16–24-year-old age group, with 97% of that group accessing a music streaming service in the past month (+10% on 2018).

In fact, audio streaming comprises 39.4% of all time spent listening to music, radio is responsible for 21.7% of music listening time across streaming and radio while video streaming represents 38.9% of music listening time.

80% of surveyed internet users identified themselves as “music fanatics" or “music lovers", higher than the corresponding global average of 54%. Compared to their global counterparts, the surveyed respondents in India showcased a greater preference to visually engage with music- with the time spent on video streaming services accounting for 28% of the average user's total listening time in India, i.e., 5.3 hrs per week, compared to the global average of 19.6% or 3.5 hrs per week.

Unsurprisingly, film music (Bollywood in particular) make up a large chunk of the most preferred musical genres. New Bollywood music (released over the last 12-18 months) was listened to by 60% of survey respondents while 53% listened to vintage Bollywood songs. Asked to pick a single favourite genre, new Bollywood catalogue was chosen by 19% respondents with classic Bollywood songs chosen as a favourite by 16%. The study also revealed burgeoning consumption in the form of regional “oldies", i.e. older catalogues of music in languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, etc, collectively ranking 7th in the list of top genres preferred by the average user in the survey.

However, the music ecosystem in India continues to be subject to piracy levels which are still sky high (67%) – more than global average of 27%. With the growth of smartphone penetration and internet usage in India, the locus of music piracy has shifted from physical piracy to cyberspace.

“Thanks to cheap data and smartphone penetration, music consumption in India is growing regionally. The growth rate will be higher in the regional segment due to a low smartphone base. The increase in consumption of catalogues of music in languages also serves as a reminder of the diversity of India and reaffirms our belief that regional music is the new champion of India’s soft power," Aditya Gupta, director, Aditya Music, said in a statement.

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