Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Music in India, Channel V and T Series.

Indians love music. Music is a very integral part of our lives... We like to have music in marriage ceremony as well as funeral.. which has been brilliantly portrayed by Anurag Kashyap in Gangs of Wasseypur.

But we dont like to pay for music. That is why music (songs) became an integral part of formula cinema. Music has never done a independent business in India.

In the 1990s, with some technological breakthrough, Channel V launched as a music only channel. MTV followed. At around the same time Gulshan Kumar made a fortune selling pirated music in the form of Super Cassettes and he eventually launched his original music enterprise with T Series.

MTV and Channel V withered away eventually. But, Indians never stopped listening to music, rather millenials got exposed to global music with the coming of internet.

So what were the strategies adopted by music publishers and broadcasters in the new millennium?
Everyone recognised the potential of internet and we saw a series of apps in India.. Gaana, Saavn, Wynk. Soundcloud entered the market almost a decade ago, while Spotify entered in as late as 2019.

But who is winning the music game in India?

It is the 1990s unicorn T Series, whose Youtube subscribers exceed music streaming market leader Gaana's users by a margin. So what did they do differently?

They understood the basic behavior of Indians that we like music (the content) and we dont like spending much for it ... (Even if it means app space in our phone) plus we like videos (colorful ones).

So while SaReGaMa was working on shit products like Carvaan and Gaana buying audio only rights, T Series quitely built a great video library of all trendy bollywood songs on its youtube.. with hand picked playlists.

Everyone including MTV missed the starting gun. Music streaming battles in India will be fought on Youtube. OTTs will remain niche.