We’ve been following with keen interest the explosion of short-video apps in India since TikTok was banned there in the summer of 2020. Local apps like Moj, Josh, Roposo and MX Takatak have been battling with the short-video features of YouTube (Shorts) and Instagram (Reels) to win the hearts of users, influencers and music artists.
Now there’s a big, bold figure to quote in slide decks about all this: $19bn. That’s how much consultancy firm Redseer reckons India’s short-video market will be worth by 2030. Which, of course, is the kind of prediction nobody is going to check, challenge or even remember in eight years’ time. But it’s ideal for stoking the buzz now.
Bloomberg uses it as the jump-off for an analysis of how the local apps are competing with the global giants, while also making the sharp observation that Alphabet’s involvement in the market is about more than Shorts: it is also “funding and grooming” four of the biggest Indian apps.
It also quotes the boss of Meta in India, Ajit Mohan, with his ambition to use Reels to “have a big global celebrity come out of India, out of its small towns”; notes that Instagram is spending a “significant part” of its $1bn global expansion budget in India; and suggests that YouTube and Instagram see India as “a testing ground for their algorithms, influencer campaigns and content experiments that can be exported to the US”.
This is the point that’s sticking in our mind: India as the innovation hub for short-video apps – both in features and business models – which will be tested and refined there before (if successful) going global.
It’s certainly a reason for the western music industry to pay close attention to the evolution of these apps in India: especially the licensing models they’re using for music. Despite pressure from Indian rightsholders, the prevailing approach from local apps is still tilted towards safe harbours.
But given the rumblings in the west about how TikTok pays for music and how that should (in rightsholders’ eyes) evolve, big-figure predictions from the likes of Redseer may up the pressure to develop new and innovative licensing agreements in India. And that, in turn, could influence how short-video makes money for the wider music industry in future global deals…
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