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India News

100% spike in Indian regional music streams pushes growth of the digital music industry

Indrani Thakurata


Gone are the days of cassettes that would sit pretty in your cabinets or tape recorders; adding the the much needed melody in our day-today life. Though tape recorders and cassettes have been replaced, but not the melody. The digital age has given us the opportunity to access music with a click of a mouse or with a tap of a finger. Reports suggest that the already robust digital music industry is expected to cross Rs.3,100 crore in revenue by 2020, with almost 273 million online music listeners according to Deloitte India’s report in Digital Media.  The study dwelled into the evolution of the on-demand content ecosystem and its future.

According to the report the the digital video subscription market (excluding advertising) alone is estimated to be around Rs.3,500-4,000 crore by 2020 and what more, it also says the increase in online music users is a result of increased demand for regional content. “ Indians have a tendency to gravitate towards free content and not willing to pay for subscriptions. But the report says that the the paid subscriber penetration among online music users is expected to increase to 10-15%. And this is known to all of us that the social media and entertainment are the two activities on which we Indians spend the maximum time. Games, general searches and emails come later than social media and entertainment.  But the report has put a percentage to it, which is about 21% spent on audio and video entertainment,” says Sayantan Das, an online music enthusiast who has read the report.

This statistics has helped the marketers strategise their advertising spends towards digital media. Around 36% of total ad spends are expected to be directed towards the digital space. Rajat Banerji, the senior director of Deloitte India was quoted saying that the increase in internet and smartphones along with the spends on entertainment by the youth will drive the on-demand digital content industry.  13% of the active user base now comes from rural markets, underlining content demand created by growing penetration of smartphones and data networks  Wynk Music, the popular OTT music app from Airtel, recenntly announced that it has crossed 75 million app installs, underlining its growing popularity as the go to destination for music lovers.

Overall song streams on Wynk Music have seen solid growth on the back of strong demand for local content. While overall music from Bollywood continued to rule, it was Indian regional music streams on Wynk that stole the show and grew by over 100%.

Wynk Music has a collection of over 3 million songs, including popular music in 12 Indian regional languages. It has streaming partnership rights with nearly all content providers and labels in the industry providing users an unmatchable entertainment experience. Music in languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi & Kannada accounted for bulk of the 100% growth in regional content. [Please see charts below to see popular regional hits].

Another highlight of Wynk Music’s growth story has been that 13% of its active users now come from rural India and contribute to nearly 10% of the overall daily streams. These customers too looked up for content in their local languages.

Sameer Batra, CEO – Wynk, says, “It is really gratifying to see the overwhelming response from our users. We believe it’s an outcome of our unrelenting focus on innovation to deliver a great in-app experience driven by superior content curation with sharp focus on regional music. Affordable smartphones and increasing penetration of high speed data services will continue to add to the uptake of music and other content on smartphones. At Wynk, we will continue to bring more exciting innovations to make add to the music experience of our users.”

Some other highlights of what customers have been listening to:

  • Customers in India clearly have a thing for Remixes – The remixed versions of Bollywood classics to the latest hits continue to grow in popularity and made up for 13 of last year’s top 50 tracks on Wynk, contributing over 3% to the overall streams in the year.
  • Jingles all the way: In a new trend, songs featured in popular ad campaigns went viral on Wynk Music. Levi’s ‘Live as You Dance’ campaign pushed Makeba by Jain into the limelight, as did the iPhone X campaign for Best Friend by SofiTukker feat. Nervo.
  • Tier 2/3 towns look up for international music: User interest in international music continued to grow. And it was users from Tier-2 & Tier 3 cities that drove a lot of streaming thanks to increasing familiarity with artists via social media. Shape of You by Ed Shereen crossed 100 million streams to break all popularity records on Wynk Music.
  • India also loves Latino: The Spanglish single Despacito by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Beiber crossed 75Mn song plays, with its funky beats and popularity cutting across language preferences and musical affinities. The other major Latin pop hits on Wynk Music were MiGente, Echame La Culpa, Chantaje, and Subeme La Radio among others.

Top Kannada hits on Wynk Music (by streams over last 12 months).




3.Kaagadada Doniyalli

4.Katheyonda Helide

5.Thirboki Jeevana

6.Last Benchu Party

7.Ondu Malebillu

8.Neenire Saniha

9.Hey Who Are You


There is no denying that indeed the digital media consumption pattern has changed drastically compared to a decade ago when ringtones were expected to boost the music industry’s revenues. The total Internet video traffic in India is expected to make up 72% of all-India Internet traffic by 2018.

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