Gaana hopes to net almost 100 mn customers, mostly TikTok users


Mumbai: The country’s largest music-streaming platform Gaana, backed by the Times Group and Chinese investment giant Tencent Holdings, expects to add nearly 100 million users over the next 12 months to its already 150 million-plus strong users, mostly netting the now-defunct TikTok users.

The Noida-based company, set up in 2011, expects that most of the new additions will be users of TikTok that was banned by the government following the border clashes with China last month.

With over 150 million active monthly users and over 45 million songs on its library, Gaana is the world’ second-largest music platform after the Swedish Spotify that has a subscriber base of around 248 million. But, Gaana’s user base is more than four times that of Apple Music’s 60 million and nearly five times that of Amazon Music’s 55 million.

Gaana offers over 45 million songs, mostly Indian and in over 20 regional languages, including Punjabi pop ballads, Hindi hip-hop and tens of thousands of devotional songs. Its music library features over 45 million songs across Bollywood, international, and the nearly two dozen domestic languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Kannada, Punjabi, Malayalam, English, Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Bengali, Assamese and Oriya.

Of the total songs collection, the Indian library is around 1.5 million, according to the company.
“We expect a large majority of the over 100 million Tiktok users to migrate to Gaana because we are the best. With this, we hope to add another 100 million new users to our platform over the next one year, taking the total to 250 million,” Gaana Chief Executive Officer Prashan Agarwal told PTI over the weekend.

Whether the lockdown has fetched him more users, he answered in the positive saying that the overall numbers have gone up by around 13 per cent in the past three months and that the numbers would have been more had it not been for the dip in in-commute consumption spawned by the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

Agarwal said that of the over 150 million users, 50 per cent are from Hindi, followed by 35 per cent from the regional languages led by Punjabi, and the rest from English, which, from a linguistic catalogue point of view, is the largest on its platform. Significantly, he said that more and more listeners of English music are coming from the small towns and are kids and the youth in the 15-25 age bracket.

Gaana’s revenue model includes multiple subscription models, along with advertising. Its premium service is priced at Rs 399 per annum offering unlimited songs without advertisements and in HD quality. Then there are many other price points with more segmentation and the lowest is Rs 99 a year, he said.

Agarwal said that paid subscribers form only a low-single digit of the 150 million-plus monthly viewers despite a four-times growth in them in recent months.

Playing on the pricing side, Gaana beats it much deep pocket international rivals such as the Swedish Spotify, and Apple Music, YouTube Music which charge much higher. For YouTube Music, India is one of their biggest video-viewing markets, while Apple Music has been localising its offerings here to increase their user base.

Apple Music and Amazon Prime Music are available in the country for several years now but have not been able to match Gaana’s popularity, while Spotify is said to be getting aggressive here. None of these foreign companies could be reached for comments.

Gaana’s domestic rival include T-Series, and Reliance Industries-controlled JioSaavn.
According to a recent report by Counterpoint, global music-streaming revenue hit the USD 24 billion-mark in 2019 but India accounts for just a pale of that at around USD 200 million. But, India’s streaming revenue is projected to climb to double to USD 400 million by 2023, according to another report by Techsci Research, and Gaana expects the userbase to top 600 million in some years.

Refusing to share any financial numbers, citing Gaana as a privately-held entity, Agarwal said he expects the company, which employs around 270, to break even in the next three-four years as they are still in the investment mode.

Recently, Gaana launched Podcast to create more traction and last week, it launched Hotshot, which will create content through influencers, musicians and celebs.

Podcasts, ranging from comedy, self-help and motivation, romance to educational, has been widely accepted by the audience, while Hotshots by Gaana is a platform that allows Indian content enthusiasts an intuitive, seamless and snappy tools to create and share short viral videos and stories.