Spotify bets on vernacular music, independent artists to develop their base
NEW DELHI : Swedish audio streaming service Spotify, which completed three years of operations in India this month, said it was seeing more non-film independent music and regional languages like Malayalam, Kannada, Bhojpuri and Bengali as listeners explore genres other than film music.
The platform saw double-digit growth in monthly active users last year, with non-film independent artists gradually being discovered and nurtured by the service as well. Custom algorithms are on the rise, with users creating 150,000 playlists a day, making India one of the top 20 markets for user-created playlists on the platform.
“There has been a definite shift towards local languages on the platform. Where previously 80% of consumption occurred in Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu, we are now seeing the listener opening up to Malayalam, Kannada, Bhojpuri and Bengali as well,” said Amarjit Batra, Director General of Spotify India. mint.
Music in the country was previously mostly limited to movie soundtracks, which basically meant a cap on the number of songs that could be released per year. This is changing with the rise of independent artists, especially in languages like Punjabi which dominate the country’s non-film music scene.
In 2021, brown world by AP Dhillon, Gminxr, Gurinder Gill, Shinda Kahlon and Lut Gaye by Jubin Nautiyal, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Manoj Muntashir were among the top tracks on Spotify even though the list was led by Raataan Lambiyaan from Shershaaha hindi movie.
Still, Top Hits Hindi remained the most streamed playlist in India in 2021 with 636,000 subscribers, nearly double the previous year. New Music Punjabi, Punjabi 101, Today’s Top Hits and This Is BTS made up the other four most streamed playlists on the service last year. There are seven times more locally curated playlists on Spotify today, compared to three years ago. The service offers over 150 original and exclusive podcasts in multiple languages like Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali, Telugu, Punjabi, English, Gujarati, Malayalam and Marathi.
Gustav Gyllenhammar, vice president, markets and subscriber growth at Spotify, said the company took its time getting started in India, recognizing that it was different from single-culture markets like Europe and needed investments to meet them.
The company saw its paying customer base more than double in 2021 compared to 2020 despite a difficult year, he added. Although Batra and Söderström did not share specific numbers on investment in the country, they said the same would happen on three fronts: artist-specific programs such as RADAR that showcase the work of independent musicians emerging, creating content including original music and podcasts and tools like Anchor, a free and beginner-friendly platform for creating podcasts, which allows users to record and edit audio , in addition to publishing it.
To expand its reach, Spotify has in the past partnered and offered free membership with brands such as VISA, consumer electronics maker One Plus, e-commerce company Flipkart, Citibank and Samsung, among other industries. of consumption. But media analysts said the platform has niche appeal. “The Indian consumer is looking for deals that bundle music, video and other benefits, should they have to pay for the music. Rival companies like Gaana, Amazon and Airtel have acknowledged the same,” said Karan Taurani, senior vice president of Elara Capital Ltd, explaining the packages offered by some of these companies. Amazon, for example, offers music, video and shopping benefits for Taurani compared the Swedish audio streaming service to Netflix, which over time has been forced to rework its strategies and lower prices in India to deepen its penetration.
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