The largest music streaming service in India isn’t from Spotify, Apple, Google, or Amazon. Gaana is a local streaming app, with 152 million monthly active users (MAU).
Gaana says the staggering growth is thanks to a 40% growth in regional music consumption. Bollywood music consumption is another growing category with 35% growth last year.
Gaana crossed the 125 million user threshold in December of 2019. The word Gaana is Hindi for “song,” making it a natural fit. Gaana focuses on offering hyper-local music tastes throughout India with cut-rate pricing to boot.
Gaana’s 152 MAUs is more than half of Spotify’s global user base. It is double Apple Music’s global count, and many more than YouTube Music or Amazon Music have ever revealed. While each of these services is available in India with rock-bottom pricing, none can match the popularity or growth rate of Gaana.
Gaana is built from the ground up to cater to Indian music tastes. It features more than 45 million songs in more than 20 different regional languages. Most Western music services lack this depth, despite their international appeal.
Gaana Chief Executive Prashan Agarwal says India’s music tastes vary significantly across different regions. “You have to understand the consumption habits by region and even by city,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
The Indian music service has the edge over its international rivals because Indians built the app for India.
India is one of the world’s largest emerging tech markets. Only half of India’s 1.3 billion people have access to the internet. Accordingly, many tech firms are scrambling to establish their presence in the country. Millions of people are connecting to the internet for the first time — becoming brand new potential customers in the process.
India’s relationship with music is of particular interest to the global music industry. Indians spend an average of 21.5 hours a week listening to music. That’s 20% higher than the worldwide average, according to one recent finding. The most-watched YouTube channel is T-Series, which showcases Indian music videos.