| 05 Oct 2023
Industry professionals believe there will be 100 million streaming users in a few years

MUMBAI: The digital ecosystem has been on an upward curve for the last few years now, and it is still evolving said the panel during the Crystal Ball session on the second day of MRMC 2014. With music streaming services, visual content streaming services and considerable number of music channels on satellite, brands and companies are competing with each other for uniqueness that will attract more users to their service.

The industry ‘biggies’ discussed their business models and gave rough predictions about which direction the digital music industry is moving towards. The panel comprised VP & Business Head Pawan Agarwal, HMV Saregama India Ltd. Head Music Business Adarsh Gupta, Bharti Airtel Ltd. Chief Product Officer Anand Chandrasekaran, Sony MAX & Sony MIX Senior Exec VP & Business Head Neeraj Vyas and Samsung South West Asia Director & Head, Media & Cloud Services Tarun Malik. The session was moderated by Turnkey Music & Publishing Pvt. Ltd MD Atul Churamani.

Churamani stated that the future is unpredictable, and with the industry moving extremely fast, along with technology, foreseeing where the business is going becomes important for long term plans.

Commenting on the digital eco system, Gupta added, “It is going to take a quantum leap in the next three years; there has been immense mobile penetration and data digitisation in recent times and many digital services have been launched.”

Vyas said, “Today there are around 17 to 18 music channels in the country, and we need to focus on bringing music back to the audience.

Agarwal added, “There are two big things that are happening right now – availability of content and a lot more awareness of the industry going faster. The number of downloads are increasing and digital is the future.”

The discussion saw a healthy conversation between the speakers about the many services that are being offered to consumers. However, they also narrowed down the problem, stating ‘differentiation’ between the services is what needs to be solved. Malik explained, “Personalisation is the key and differentiation should go beyond just music. The services must be more centric and personalised in terms of what the users want to consume.”

“What we need to focus on in the coming future is ‘convergence of devices’. The volume of consumption is increasing and they need to be accessible easily across all users’ devices,” he added.
Chandrasekharan expressed his opinions on what is the need of the hour saying, “I think we all need to cater to what users want. User problems need to be solved and there must be transparency. For example, when a user is using a music streaming app, they do not know how much data is going to be consumed. That is why we have introduced Freedom subscription in Wynk, which includes bundled data.”

The biggest challenge that the music industry faces is piracy, especially in India, where users are downloading illegal music for convenience. Agarwal said, “The entire industry is trying very hard to curb piracy by introducing so many services. Apps should introduce subscriptions which allow the users to download music when they have Wi-Fi and later listen, without data usage.”
The panellists agreed that the mid-term goal is to get at least a hundred million people to stream music, which will reduce piracy. With healthy smartphone consumption in the country, they believe, that hundred million is a reasonable number to expect in the next two years. They concluded that they all need to work cohesively to achieve the number in terms of streaming users and that content is ‘king’.