India's Music Industry is Echoing Tunes of Optimism
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In September this year, a video of Ranu Mondal—an impoverished woman singing at the Ranaghat station in West Bengal—went viral. A month later she recorded a song for Bollywood music director Himesh Reshammiya. It garnered nearly 30 million views online. Mondal's instant success succinctly illustrates the changes sweeping through India's music industry, as a confluence of deeper smartphone penetration, hectic streaming activity, an emerging non-film independent scene and a wider acceptance of regional talent breaks Bollywood's established hegemony and sets the music industry on a path to hyper growth.
According to the KPMG-FICCI Media and Entertainment Report 2018, India's music entertainment market size is expected to touch $441.53 million by FY23, up from $223.4 million in FY18, a projected CAGR of 15.5%. This upward trajectory is marked by three distinct emerging trends.
Music streaming & sing-along apps are growing at a fast pace
Music consumption on streaming platforms continues to grow at a fast pace. The streaming market is bustling with 8-9 active players, and as India overtakes the US as the world's second-largest smartphone market, growth in audio streaming is only expected to be swifter. Around 93 per cent of people surveyed by KPMG said they consumed music through their phones. Amid all these emerging trends, one of the most promising highlights is of social/karaoke music apps, both in terms of engagement and monetization.
Leading sing-along apps helmed by the likes of Smule, command greater engagement and retention than the music industry average. These apps enable users to express themselves, identify strongly with a community of singing enthusiasts and even engage directly with their favourite celebrity artists.
Bollywood dominates, but independent Indian artists are on the rise
Film-based soundtracks still command a lion’s share of revenue for the music industry, but non-film artists are making inroads gradually. Independent music creators with millions of online followers are also a growing base and a thriving ecosystem of music festivals is helping further amplify their appeal. As competition heats up, music-streaming services are also turning to bundled services and original music content produced by indie artists to improve profitability and attract consumers to their platforms.
A growing regional base
Consumption of music in regional languages is increasing steadily according to KPMG. And keeping up with the trend, several dedicated distributors and regional record labels have inked deals with digital music majors to take their catalogues online.