How Tencent-backed Gaana topped India’s music-streaming market and is now looking to monetise bigAugust 25, 2019
India’s oldest music-streaming service Gaana crossed 100 million monthly users earlier this year. When the Times Internet-owned service started operations back in 2010, ‘streaming’ was unheard of in the country. And, paid streaming was a non-starter.
A decade later though, things have changed dramatically. Not only are streaming services household names now, but India also has an estimated 150 million listeners who tune into audio-streaming apps daily.
Gaana leads the market, not just by users but also in terms of popularity. A recent report by CyberMedia Research revealed that the company has surpassed even global names like Apple Music and YouTube when it comes to brand recall.
In an exclusive interaction withYourStory, Gaana CEO Prashan Agarwal says the platform’s “paid subscriptions have grown more than 3X last year”. Additionally, revenues are growing 100 percent year-on-year, and original programming has crossed 220 million streams.
But, there’s more to come.
Flush with funds from BCCL (Times Internet parent) and China’s Tencent, which pumped in $115 million last year, Gaana is now looking to double its user base and turn profitable in the next three years. By then, it believes, India’s music-streaming market will have about half a billion users, “a majority” of which it is confident of on-boarding.
Agarwal goes on to talk about Gaana’s journey to 100 million, learnings from the Indian market, lessons from China’s music monetisation models, warding off competition, product innovations and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for curating a highly personalised listening experience for users.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
YourStory: Describe Gaana’s journey to 100 million users. What have been the biggest learnings?
Prashan Agarwal: Gaana was launched back in April 2010, and we have steadily gained market leadership over the last nine years. We surpassed 100 million monthly active users in March 2019.
Looking back, the launch of affordable 4G plans was one of the biggest turning points for music streaming in India. The market has exploded to more than 7X its size in the last three years.
The biggest learning has been to be singularly obsessed about the Indian consumer’s demands. Thanks to our deep understanding of their content preferences, we have been able to be the primary beneficiaries of this internet wave, launching a string of innovative products that have struck a chord with both the millennial as well as the rural population who are often first-time users of mobile internet.
YS: How has the domestic music-streaming space evolved from the time Gaana launched to now, where 10 or more services are competing for the same consumer’s attention?
PA: It has evolved significantly in terms of content consumption as well as technological innovation. On the consumption front, regional music contributes to 35 percent of the overall consumption on Gaana today, led by…