YouTube, a Google arm, which counts India as one of its fastest-growing markets, has now entered a new league with over 15 million downloads of its music app in just a month. During the company’s post-earnings call on Tuesday, Google CEO Sunder Pichai gave out the number, that caught the imagination of millions of netizens.
Alphabet’s Google competes with players such as Amazon Music, Spotify and homegrown companies JioSaavn and Gaana which are rapidly gaining share of the music streaming market in the country. Google introduced YouTube Music, a made-for-music app in March to make the world of music easier to explore and more personalised to users in India. The music streaming service consists of official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radio plus YouTube’s catalog of remixes, live performances, covers and music videos.
Google had acquired San Bruno-based YouTube, a video-sharing website, in 2006 for $1.65 billion. While the user can listen to the new ad-supported version of YouTube Music for free, Google had also unveiled YouTube Music Premium, a paid membership. It allows users to play a YouTube music video in the background while they toggle between apps, write a text message or lock their phone, along with offline downloads and an ad-free experience for ~99 a month.
YouTube Music and YouTube Premium are now available in 43 countries, up from five markets in 2018. Google said YouTube’s ad business for both brand and direct response campaigns continued to grow and support the creators. In Q1, the firm said it saw how YouTube was the go-to destination for watching Super Bowl ads before, during and after the big game. This year, viewership of Super Bowl ads during the game rose by 60 per cent.
India is becoming a big battleground for video and audio streaming services firms. This is due to number of smartphone users in India is expected to double to 829 million by 2022 from 404.1 million in 2017, according to a Cisco report.
The proliferation of smart devices is also expected to propel India’s per capita data consumption to nearly 14 gigabytes by 2022 from 2.4 GB in 2017. Swedish music streaming giant Spotify said that since its launch in India in the first quarter, it got more than 2 million users in the country. “We're really very pleased with the results there (India),” Daniel Ek, CEO, Spotify, had said during a post-earnings call. Spotify, which has reached 100 million paid subscribers, a first for any online music service, said it was excited about the growth in India, and it's faster than the company was initially expecting.
Last week, music streaming platform Gaana said it crossed 100 million monthly active users (MAU) in March 2019. It said a recent Deloitte report had indicated that in December 2018, there were nearly 150 million music streaming users in India. “With Gaana being used by over 100 million customers every month, Gaana has consolidated its market leadership position,” the company claimed.
Gaana said it was increasingly using AI-driven algorithms and product innovations that would help it make its service easier for new mobile users.
Meanwhile, Google pointed out its revenues from APAC region stood at $6.1 billion, up 27 per cent versus last year’s 31 per cent in constant currency, reflecting primarily the weakness of the Australian dollar and the Indian rupee.