Q] How would you define Gaana’s journey over the years? Tell us about the brand’s leap from an app to a super app
Back in 2010 when we launched, audio streaming was unheard of in India, let alone paid streaming. Over the years, with the adoption of newer modes of entertainment coupled with technological advances and ease of mobile data, we have been able to satiate the audience needs and become a household name in the streaming arena. The year-on-year growth has been in-sync with industry standards and Gaana now boasts of 185 million monthly active users. Through conscious efforts, research on audience needs, insights across regions we have curated properties, campaigns and developed products to ensure we are the one-stop shop for everyone’s entertainment needs. Right from mainstream Bollywood music to Gaana Originals to providing a launchpad for independent music and a plethora of podcasts, we’ve forayed across numerous categories to inform and entertain the masses. Taking another step in the direction towards becoming a super-app, we launched Gaana Hotshots, allowing content creators to create short-videos and stories using quirky and interactive elements.
Q] What according to you are the trends that have propelled the growth of the audio streaming industry?
Innovation has always been the peak of any growing industry. The audio streaming industry has also witnessed a lot of changes, right from technological innovations to programming re-shuffling and launch of engaging content to keep the interactivity alive. Podcasts have emerged as an extremely engaging medium of entertainment. They are informative and allow audiences to access an array of content in an interactive manner. Live concerts have been another medium that has propelled the growth of the industry. It allowed artists to connect with their fans and enthrall them with their signing prowess. We feel Voice Dialog ads and Dynamic Audio will be very interesting units that advertisers can take advantage of to reach users in a native environment. Demand for customised short form snackable content and long form podcasts are gaining traction amongst the ad community.
Q] How is Gaana driving growth for independent artists through its properties?
Gaana has always aimed at fuelling growth for the independent music industry. We launched Gaana Launchpad, which will bring emerging artists in India into the spotlight. To ensure there is constant engagement, at Gaana we have been organising a Gaana Launchpad Night every thursday at 7pm. Through this effort, Gaana aims to identify, acknowledge and promote talent that promises to make the future of Indian music landscape an exciting one. This comes on the back of empowering artists with a dedicated cloud-based Artist Dashboard to learn more about their fans.
Q] What is that one USP that separates you from your competitors?
Our constant endeavour to entertain audiences through numerous channels and properties plus the conscious effort towards the upkeep across the industry and lastly our vision to become the entertainment super-app separates us from the competitors. Given our audience base, it also provides brands and advertisers the opportunity to connect with their audience base or curate a property to drive consumer connect.
Q] Gaana made its debut into the short-video category with Hotshots a few months ago, how was it received by the users? What marketing and communication strategies were used for the promotions?
The past year has seen remarkable growth in the short-video space. Right from content creators to labels have leveraged the sector to fuel audience engagement. Sensing the opportunity and the in-roads we have owing to Gaana’s reach, we launched Gaana Hotshots. A feature is embedded in the native Gaana application, owing to which we have a reach of over 185 million users who have downloaded it across iOS and Android platforms. It enables Indian content enthusiasts intuitive, seamless and snappy tools to create & share short viral videos and stories. Gaana Hotshots aims to offer the best-in-class product experience and a host of ‘HotShot Challenges’ in the performing arts like music, comedy & dance by HotShot influencers, celebs and international artists. The App would offer both the scale and the infrastructure to reach a massive audience who thrive on digital entertainment. The feature will offer content from leading influencers like Riyaz Ali, Avneet Kaur, Jannat Zubair Rehmani, Awez Darbar & Nagma Mirajkar and singers like Neha Kakkar, Darshan Raval, Tony Kakkar, Jass Manak, Parmish Verma, Maninder Bhuttar, Sunanda Sharma, Mankirt Aulakh, Karan Aujla, Kulwinder Billa, Gurlez Akhtar, Satbir Aujla, R Nait, Sukhe Muzical, Nikk and Guri among others.
Q] What is the brand’s aim for 2021? How are you planning to go forward with your marketing activities?
Our goal is to cross 250 mn MAU within this financial year, tapping into the potential for increased advertising revenues on the back of customised branding solutions. We have been growing aggressively in the past three years and we will continue to chase aggressive targets in the future as well. Our priority is to ensure our brands are able to reach out to our 185 million users in a brand safe and engaging manner. With music streaming marketing continuing to grow, our vision is to build a home-grown entertainment super app that is ready to serve as the country’s go-to destination for entertainment across music, podcasts, short viral videos, buzz and more, offering Indians the power to create and consume content on the back of Gaana’s world-class tech capabilities.