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Streaming AND physical made India 15th biggest music market in 2018


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India is an exciting ‘high-potential’ market for the music industry in 2019, but the abridged version of the IFPI’s new Global Music Report – the one that’s made available for free – only mentions India twice. Once in a reference to the country bucking the global trend for physical music-sales to decline (because they were up by 21.2% in India last year) and then again in a quote from WMG’s Alfonso Perez Soto about youngsters embracing tech in Africa, India, the Middle East and Europe.

The full report will include more data on India, but yesterday industry body IMI published some of those figures. It included the news that India was the 15th biggest recorded-music market in 2018, up from 19th in 2017, with IMI claiming growth is “well positioning India to break into the top 10 music markets by 2022”. What’s the growth? India’s recorded-music revenues grew by 24.5% in 2018 to $156m in US-dollar terms, including 31% growth in streaming revenues and that startling 21.2% rise in physical sales.

What’s going on with the latter? IMI mentioned “investments in innovative products such as Carvaan” in that context. That’s the device preloaded with classic songs, developed by music/films company Saregama. As we reported in January, the company had sold more than 1m Carvaan players by the end of 2018, including 297k units in the final quarter of the year alone. Meanwhile, intensifying competition in the music-streaming market is driving that side of the business forward too.

“Talent, technology and tenacity have been the key drivers of the recorded music industry in India, through the ever changing technological and legislative landscapes,” is how IMI boss Blaise Fernandes put it in a statement, in which he also referenced the ‘value gap’ debate. “It is imperative… that the investment cycles by rights holders are sustained through fair valuation of music and voluntary licensing norms. The music will keep spinning, and audiences will keep engaging, it is now more important than ever to narrow the value gap and lack of fair value, which is necessary to keep the party going,” he said.

(A recent study published by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) suggested that YouTube generates around 40% of labels’ digital revenues in India, estimating that “around 250 million people watched music on YouTube” in India last year.)

Talking of music-streaming in India: another new study has been published, this one from research firm CMR. It asked 2,500 Indian people about their music-streaming app habits. 25% said Gaana was their favourite app, ahead of Apple Music (20%), YouTube (20%) and Wynk (14%). Only 50% were aware of Spotify and 40% said they had tried it – CMR didn’t say when the survey was conducted though: bear in mind Spotify launched in India in February. The not-so-good news for the music industry: “An overwhelming majority of those surveyed indicated that they would not like to pay for music.”

Stuart Dredge

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