Prashan Agarwal, CEO, Gaana talks about music streaming gaining importance in India and how brands need to come up with specialized strategies to stay ahead in the competition
Music has been an integral part of our lives since time immemorial. From flocking around the travelling bards of yesteryear to attending performances by modern musicians, we have always taken advantage of a variety of mediums to listen to and enjoy music. Today, the widespread availability of affordable smartphones and rapidly falling data rates have given rise to a number of dedicated music streaming services. By offering an almost endless collection of popular, as well as lesser known songs on a convenient and affordable platform, music streaming services have become a prominent vertical in the digital music space in India, as well as in the rest of the world in the last few years.
According to the India Music 360 report published by Nielsen this year, Indians spend close to 20 hours every week listening to music, with revenue from music streaming services having grown at a rate of 37.26% in the last couple of years. The majority of such Indians use their smartphones to listen to music, by means of an app or a mobile site, with Bollywood being the most popular genre, followed by Punjabi songs, and world music occupying the third position.
However, the popularity of a music streaming service is determined by many factors, the chief among them being the volume and variety of music available on the platform. This is followed closely by the product experience - how user-friendly the service is, in addition to discovery of content and deep personalization to understand and tailor the interface to the music needs of the user. The pricing and subscription packages are the third factor of importance for discerning users. All of these factors, along with many others, help define the user experience, which is what ultimately helps retain a consumer on the platform, and transforms first time users into consumers. As a result, it is crucial for such services to conduct realistic surveys and analysis of the market, as well as its user bases, to tailor themselves specifically for them.
Furthermore, the popularity of social media has greatly encouraged user interaction on such services, which have a community of music listeners present on the platforms. Additionally, features like voice search, song lyrics, artist information, automatic song recommendations, music videos, and the like, help drive user interaction on these music streaming apps, which are increasingly being designed to be the one-stopsolution for all one’s music needs. However, as is true in any domain, innovation continues to be of utmost importance in the digital music space in India, which is rife with fierce competition. Unique, personalized features, such as interfaces with regional languages, personalized playlists, besides others, have a huge impact on consumers of today. Advanced technologies like AI are also being used increasingly by such service providers to deliver content and user experiences curated specially for the consumers.
Brands need to come up with specialized strategies to stay ahead in the competition, with an additional focus on innovation and customer service. Sticky content, ease of discovery, and a high variety of music available on the database continue to be the primary strategies employed by leading players in the market. Integration of niche, innovative features like voice search, auto queue recommended songs, music identification and others which are not available with existing competitors is yet another high-reward strategy that is today utilized by several brands in the sector.
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