Music streaming service Gaana is more popular than some of the bigwigs of the global music streaming industry, according to The Wall Street Journal. While that would not have been surprising had we been talking about India only, the WSJ's recent report states that Gaana, which has 152 million subscribers on its platform, is actually far larger than what the likes of Spotify and Apple Music are, across the world. Taking cues from the market data, the report has revealed that it is at least 50 percent larger in subscriber base than Spotify, double that of Apple Music, and significantly larger than other notable, international music streaming services, which include YouTube Music, Amazon Prime Music and others.
Pricing is likely a key factor for this — Gaana's 'premium' service, which gives users offline downloads and ad-free listening, costs Rs 99 per month (with complementary access to Zee5), and Rs 399 for the full year. For students, this comes down to just Rs 149 for the full year — Rs 30 more than what Spotify costs for just one month. In comparison, both Apple Music and Spotify cost nearly Rs 1,200 for one year. Even though Apple Music is priced at Rs 99 per month (like Gaana), the report notes that a hyperlocal approach in its music collection has helped Gaana gain mainstream status, and in turn, appeal more to a wider section of users in India.
Gaana, which is also offered as a free, ad-supported service for those who do not wish to pay, has a very targeted playlist that appeals to the average Indian listeners. Of the 45 million tracks that are part of its library, its playlists are curated around Punjabi pop, Bollywood, Hindi hip-hop, devotional and other regional favourites, something that international services such as Apple Music and Spotify offer in limited quantities, but do not particularly target. The report also talks about the Gaana interface, which is kept simple and is hence easier for users to tackle — devoid of roadblock screens and other such complications.
Going forward, it will be interesting to note whether Gaana can hold on to its lead, as international players look at India with increasing focus. India today holds a fraction of the music streaming market's revenue — WSJ states that while global music streaming revenues hit $24 billion globally, India only accounted for $200 million, or less than one percent. That said, rising digital penetration coupled with willingness to pay for lifestyle services, particularly among the urban youth, is seen as a strong growth opportunity, and analysts state that the industry can double in revenue to reach $400 million in just two years' time.