All About Music 2019: A by-the-numbers picture of what data from Indian audio-streaming platforms reveals

Amit Gurbaxani

Sep 27, 2019 10:04:22 IST

At the All About Music conference in Mumbai last month, I moderated a panel discussion titled ‘The Big Data Debate: Marketing Goldmine or Creativity Killer’ during which not much data was shared, and neither was there much of a debate. This was because representatives of streaming platforms were in agreement with the musicians on the panel that data should not influence the songwriting process (whether or not it actually does was something nobody was willing to share).

Fortunately for me, composer-singer Vishal Dadlani was among the speakers and his inclusion ensured that the talk was entertaining at the very least. I got varied reactions from the handful of people I asked for their thoughts on the session, and I agreed with both the positive and negative opinions. There were points when no matter how many different questions were asked, the panelists said the same thing. On the other hand, they often said exactly what the audience wanted to hear.

Panel discussions are always going to be a mixed bag but the variety of voices on stage increase the odds of someone at some point saying something insightful. More often than not, that involves the mention of a number.

As I’ve written before in this column, data of the kind that should be in the public domain is guarded like a trade secret in the music industry and among the rare instances in which it’s shared is at conferences like All About Music (which quite a few international delegates told me matched and surpassed similar events in other countries in terms of the quality of the production and the selection of speakers).

Here are some of the key data points I heard at this year’s edition.

165 million

The number of Monthly Active Users (MAUs) across all Indian audio-streaming platforms at the end of March 2019, as stated by Pawan Agarwal, the head of music partnerships at YouTube, in his welcome speech. Agarwal’s source: KPMG India’s Media and Entertainment Report 2019, which was released in August.

300 to 350 million

The current number of MAUs on Indian audio-streaming services, as estimated by Neeraj Roy, the managing director and CEO of Hungama Digital Media Entertainment. Notably, three platforms, JioSaavn, Gaana and Wynk, claim to have over 100 million MAUs. Spotify, which launched in February, hasn’t provided an updated figure after it announced that it had acquired two million MAUs within its first month of operation. Hungama has 67 million MAUs across its audio and video-streaming platforms Hungama Music and Hungama Play.

 All About Music 2019: A by-the-numbers picture of what data from Indian audio-streaming platforms reveals

Data of the kind that should be in the public domain is guarded like a trade secret in the music industry and among the rare instances in which it’s shared is at conferences like All About Music. Image for representation only. File Photo/Reuters

7 billion

The total number of streams per month across Indian audio-streaming platforms, as estimated by Ed Peto, the founder and managing director of music services company Outdustry, a figure based on discussions with several Indian music industry professionals.

7-10 paise

The amount paid out per stream by Indian audio-streaming platforms.

2-2.5 paise

The amount paid out per stream by YouTube in India.

11 cents

The per capita revenue of the recorded music industry in India, the lowest for all markets tracked by International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

1.5 million

The units sold so far of retro Bollywood music digital audio player Saregama Carvaan, the most popular version of which is priced at approximately Rs 7,000. Right now, Saregama is one of the most profitable music companies in India, said the label’s managing director Vikram Mehra.

3 to 7

The average number of years it takes for a music label to recover the investment made in a Bollywood soundtrack, according to Anurag Bedi, the business head of Zee Music Company, the label that has released such recent soundtracks as Gully Boy, Kalank and Kesari and which boasts the second most popular Indian music channel on YouTube, with nearly 44 million subscribers.


The number of hit songs generated by Bollywood every year, as per Prashan Agarwal, the CEO of Gaana, and Vinit Thakkar, senior vice president at Universal Music Group India. Both Agarwal and Thakkar cited this seemingly low digit as the reason why they ventured into non-film content through the Gaana Originals and VYRL Originals series of releases respectively.


Or approximately Rs 1.05 lakh, the money that pop and Bollywood singer Neha Bhasin said she receives from YouTube every month.

60 percent

The share of live performances in the total revenue generated by DNH Artists, the artist management company whose main act is Hindi rapper Raftaar. Founder and CEO Ankit Khanna said that the remaining 40 percent of his enterprise’s income is split between brand deals, TV appearances and streaming.

70 million

The number of times independent Hindi rapper Emiway’s “Machayenge” was streamed across Indian audio-streaming services between January and August, said Soumini Sridhara Paul, the vice president of Hungama, which digitally distributed the track through its Artist Aloud platform. Interesting the total number of plays shown for “Machayenge” on Gaana (50 million) and JioSaavn (45 million), at the end of July exceed 95 million.

308 million

The number of YouTube views so far for Hindi pop song “Tera Ghata” by singer-composer Gajendra Verma, said to be "India’s first TikTok hit”. The track was used in nearly a million uploads on the social media video app, according to Jay Mehta, the director of digital business at Sony Music India.

7 to 8 million

The number of MAUs social networking music app Smule has in India, which is almost one-fifth of its total of 40 million. Smule’s daily active users here are 1 million, three times the number in the US, said its senior vice president of business development Jesse Gillette.

35 percent

The share of regional music in Gaana’s overall streams, which has increased rapidly from 10 per centjust three years ago, said CEO Prashan Agarwal.

15 per cent

Punjabi music’s share of the overall streams on Gaana, which makes it the most popular form of regional music.


The number of music labels in Punjab, according to Satvinder Singh Kohli, the managing director of Speed Records.

3,000 to 3,500

The number of original songs believed to have been released in the Punjabi music market in 2018, as per both Kohli and Rabindra Narayan, the managing director and president of Punjabi television network PTC.


Wave Music’s rank among the most subscribed Indian music channels on YouTube. With 27.9 million subscribers, it’s behind only T-Series and Zee Music Company.


The percentage split between pop and film music in the Bhojpuri market, according to Dinesh Railhan, the owner of Bhojpuri label Wave Music.

60 percent

The share of pop in the Odia music market, said Sitaram Agarwal, the founder of Sarthak Music, regarded to be the largest Odia label. Devotional music makes up 30 percent, devotional and film music the remaining 10 percent.

14 days

The duration of the “free play” period on music television channels, after which labels have to pay to get their songs aired, said Samir Bangara, the co-founder and managing director of Qyuki Digital Media.

Amit Gurbaxani is a Mumbai-based journalist who has been writing about music, specifically the country's independent scene, for nearly two decades. He tweets @TheGroovebox

Updated Date: Sep 29, 2019 12:07:49 IST