After giving tough competition to telecom firms, Jio is now disrupting India’s music-streaming business.
In March, Reliance-owned JioMusic merged with global music-streaming portal Saavn in a $1 billion-plus deal. By the end of March, the combined entity was the only music-streaming company to make gains in terms of app installs on free internet provider Jana’s mCent browser.
The merged company saw a 1.24 percentage point share increase from the combined market share back in January, Jana found in its latest Mobile Majority report. For its research, Jana collected app install and usage data from its mCent browser users in India during the first three months of the year. Jana has amassed over 30 million users in India.
Google Play Music saw the largest share drop of more than 1.25 percentage points over the same period.
“Jio’s growth in India comes as little surprise as they’ve been effective in their strategy to reach large audiences in India with massive volumes of regional content,” said Nathan Eagle, Jana founder and CEO, adding that Gaana brings record label partnerships and English-heavy playlists to the table. “This, combined with the company’s ability to offer cheap data plans, makes the content highly accessible to millions.”
Besides local players like Hungama and Airtel-owned Wynk, many global companies have tuned into India’s music streaming market over the last year. Amazon recently coupled its free music offering with its Prime membership while Chinese internet giant Tencent led a $115 million funding round for Gaana. Swedish digital music company Spotify set up an office in Mumbai last year, employing over 300 persons in India and hiring former OLX India CEO Amarjit Singh Batra.
“The merger of Saavn-Jio will be interesting to watch and could be a precursor to (a) broader consolidation of Indian-based streaming providers banding together to fight against global tech giants like Google, Spotify, and Apple,” Eagle said.
More than market share, Jio has, in fact, cost Google users’ time: At the start of this year, JioMusic and Saavn had a combined 32.5% share of time spent in app, with Jio’s share being 25.9% and Saavn contributing 6.6%. By the last week of March, the combined entity accounted for a higher 37.8% share by March 31, as per Jana’s study.
The proportion of time spent on Google Play Music, which entered India in 2016 with a Rs89 ($1.32) per month subscription service in April 2017 (paywall), dropped significantly from 45.7% in January to 40% by March-end. Though it still managed to maintain a lead, the competition is increasing.