The top bosses at YouTube, including CEO Susan Wojcicki and global head of music Lyor Cohen, are in India to mark the launch of YouTube Music there, announcing the app has been downloaded 3m times in its first week. (In comparison, Spotify said 1m people had signed up for the service during the first week of its launch in India.)
At a media roundtable, Adam Smith, VP of product management at YouTube, shared some country-specific statistics for what he called one of YouTube’s “fastest-growing markets”. There are currently over 230m YouTube users in India – although updated figures are expected to be announced by the company later today (9th April) – where DAUs have grown over 100% year-on-year. Smith also said that India is a “mobile-first market” where 80% of time spent watching YouTube happens on mobile devices. He added that 60% of watch time is “happening outside the six metro areas”, mirroring what the CEO of Indian audio streaming service Gaana told Music Ally about how much of its customer acquisition is coming from “Tier II, III and IV cities”.
In a release shared today, Wojcicki stated that India is expected to have 500m internet users who will consume online video by 2020. The importance of India as a market is, as we’ve previously reported, evident on YouTube’s charts where “week to week, in 2019, an average one-fifth of the entries on the Global Top Songs chart featured Indian artists,” according to Cohen.
A recent report from the Federation Of Indian Chambers Of Commerce & Industry forecast that the Indian music market will grow from Rs 14.2bn (circa $207m) last year to Rs 19.2bn ($280m) by 2021. It also added that 83% of label revenue in India is coming from digital and, of that, some 40% is coming from YouTube. It estimated just 1% of music fans in the country are paying for a subscription.
There is also a pricing war breaking out in the country as Apple Music responded to the arrival of both Spotify and YouTube Music in India by slashing its prices. Last week, industry body IMI claimed that India was the 15th biggest recorded music market in 2018, up from 19th in 2017, with IMI saying growth is “well positioning India to break into the top 10 music markets by 2022”.