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The entry of 4G has helped us grow: Saavn’s Paramdeep Singh

Saavn recently partnered with India artist Naezy to produce original content on its platform. It also launched an audio show, Hip Hop Highway. BestMediaInfo.com spoke to Paramdeep Singh, Co-founder and Executive Chairman, Saavn, to know how they are taking on a popular medium like radio and much more

Archit Ambekar | Mumbai | March 6, 2017

Paramdeep-Singh Paramdeep Singh

About a decade back, searching for music and new songs online meant downloading from the internet but most of it was pirated. Radio also was, and still is, a major medium for some latest music in town.

Come 2017, we are in an era where music is available for online streaming – and legally. The best of Indian and international music is now available on various apps. Saavn – one of the players in the music streaming space in India -- has been doing some interesting associations on that front in the recent past.

Saavn recently partnered with Indian artist Naezy to produce original content on its platform. It also launched an audio show Hip Hop Highway. BestMediaInfo.com spoke to Paramdeep Singh, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Saavn to know more.

For a music streaming app to be the default service for people to listen to music, certain market conditions are required – like smart phones and good bandwidths. “Since the time Jio was launched in September 2016, we have seen an upward rise in our consumption. Earlier last year we were about 13-14 million users, while today we have over 20 million active users and it’s a great deal for us. The entry of 4G has definitely helped us grow,” Singh asserts.

Singh recalls how bandwidth was an issue few years back, when they were working on technology for users to stream on lower bandwidths and be able to download content. While that has improved substantially, these services still remain.

There has also been a substantial rise of the use of smart phones. Today, the way people look at music is way different than what it used to be five years back. With many apps eating up space in phones, one doesn’t prefer storing music. Some have evolved and have started using music streaming apps to access the best of music on the go. The shift is happening and people are now moving away from the pirated model.

Being of American origin, Singh gives us a sense of the global music streaming market. He said, “Internationally, there is a more mature broadband market. People have access to more data and that makes a huge difference in consumption patterns. In India, we are very calculative in terms of how much data we consume.”

While this remains, the investment cost in music streaming is very high. One has to buy rights of streaming music from respective producers. But are they really monetising this model? “In India, we have ad-led model. Advertisers across travel, auto, handset devices and across boards advertise on our platform. One of the key things that we’ve pulled is the native advertising format for our platform. We’ve had to build our own audio ad-tech system. Combine that with deep data analytics that will provide a lot of value to the brands.”

Partnering with independent artists is the new normal. The music industry is evolving into an independent industry and is here to stay. The reality is that the artists don’t have any other platform, and collaboration is the best way for both of them. Speaking about artists’’ collaboration and offering exclusive content, Singh said, “We’ve been working on that for the last one year. We have partnered with various artists to create content for us. The latest one being Naezy. When it comes to offering exclusive music on our platform, a lot of Bollywood music breaks on our platform first. In May last year we launched Saavn Originals. We wanted to expand into a talk show with Neelesh Misra, so we did that. We recently did a show with Neha Dhupia. So apart from artists, we are doing a lot of things. Audio dramas and a bunch of audio content are exclusive on our platform.”

A thin line probably differentiates the users who listen to Saavn and users who listen to music on radio or online. While online radio is very nascent, radio is still heard by many. Asked how they see radio players eating up their audience, Singh said, “Radio is the traditional way people listen to music. Ever since we’ve launched, we’ve directly been tackling radio. We’ve been giving an experience that people won’t get on radio.”

While that remains, radio still has an upper hand when it comes to localising content. Saavn too is integrating features like location tracking, which will enable users to consume content in the region they are in. As music streaming gets bigger by the day, it seems streaming music is going to be the default form of access to music in the years to come.


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