India’s Gaana Streaming Service Far Surpasses Apple, Spotify

India has access to the well-known music streaming sites Spotify and Apple Music, but it’s the country’s homegrown Gaana that is getting the majority of listeners, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Sunday (Feb. 2).

Gaana — Hindi for “song” — used a grassroots strategy and budget prices to take on rivals. It now boasts 152 million monthly subscribers —  50 percent of Spotify’s global customer base, double Apple Music, and ahead of YouTube Music and Amazon music.

Analysts said that music-loving Indians turn to Gaana because it was custom-built just for them. The majority of its 45-plus million tunes are from India. In addition, the music is in 20 regional languages, including “auto-tuned Punjabi-language pop ballads, Hindi hip-hop and devotional tunes for the Hindu monkey god, Hanuman,” the WSJ said.

No other music service has the scope of region-specific Indian songs that Gaana offers.

“You have to understand the consumption habits by region and even by city,” Gaana chief executive Prashan Agarwal said.

Gaana’s advantage over its international rivals is its local connection to the region. All of Gaana’s teams have deep, personal knowledge of the area and scour the country for emerging musicians and unexpected listening fads.

India is attractive to big tech firms worldwide because of its population of untapped customers, people who have not yet become internet users. That segment of the population comprises almost half of the country’s 1.3 billion people.

As prices drop for online access and smartphones, more residents are figuring out how to send instant messages and shop online.

“Every global player is trying to get a share in India,” said Abhilash Kumar, an analyst at India’s Counterpoint Technology Market Research. “The market is very nascent and not at all saturated.”

Spotify is the number one music streaming service in the world. Apple’s service makes up almost one-fifth of the total streaming market.



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