In India, Spotify is in the atypical position of being the non-dominant player in a fairly over-crowded audio-streaming market. The service has yet to update its figure of more than two million monthly active users for the country, announced shortly after its launch in February 2019.
Since then, local leaders Gaana and JioSaavn have both claimed listenership of close to 200 million. Spotify, however, is widely regarded to have higher levels of engagement than its rival DSPs, especially among fans of Indian independent music. Now it has stats to back that up.
Well, at least stats from a nationwide survey of over 18,000 people in 24 cities Spotify commissioned Nielsen to conduct in January and February this year.
The survey found that audio-streaming apps are among the top five ways Indians discover new music. The other sources are films, friends, YouTube and radio, though the platform did not specify in which order. TV is surprisingly missing from the list despite the country having around 50 music channels across all languages, and the propensity of India’s movie-loving population to consume music “visually”.
Most of the music watching seems to be happening on YouTube, for which India is the largest market (and, until it was banned, on TikTok).
Spotify’s poll also revealed that Mumbai and New Delhi, which otherwise form their biggest cities in terms of the number of streamers, don’t figure among the cities where users check out the most new music. Instead, the service’s most adventurous listeners come from other metropolitan areas such as Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai and from the southern Tier-II city of Visakhapatnam.
Comparing Spotify users to the rest of the country, the survey showed that 84% of them follow their favourite artists on social media compared to the all-India average of 72.8%.
Other aspects where the service’s customers outmatched the country-wide average was in the frequency with which they shared “digital music” by posting links to tracks and videos (82% vs 72.8%), the likelihood of friends and family members asking them for recommendations (78% vs 70.3%), and notably, the willingness to pay for a “good music listening experience” (78% vs 71%) though it’s unclear whether this can be equated to the willingness to purchase a premium subscription.
The survey also quizzed respondents on when they listen to music. Based on the results, it would be fair to say that Spotify India’s audience skews younger than the average music consumer; they’re more likely to stream tunes while playing video games (56 per cent vs 43.4 per cent) or studying (47 per cent vs 37.1 per cent) at least once a month.
Corroborating Spotify’s youth appeal is the fact that it was determined to be the “most used streaming platform for listeners aged 16-24” by the IMI-IFPI’s Digital Music Study 2019, for which 3,000 internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 were interviewed in April and May 2019.
Breaking down consumer habits age-wise, Spotify tallied that those between 18 and 24 used music “to relax and unwind” the most, while those above 45 comprise the largest segment of listeners who stream “to promote wellness” and “learn about the artist”.
Spotify survey explores music listening trends in India“To pass time” was the top reason all age groups play music. Incidentally, “relaxing at home” was the top “music listening activity” among Indians according to the IMI-IFPI’s Digital Music Study 2019. Somewhat expectedly, Spotify’s survey ascertained that its users are more passionate about international repertoire than the average Indian music fan.