Desi fans turn to videshi music

Arts & Culture Business National

As live-streaming apps strengthen their base in the country, the demand for global music is shooting up. A large chunk of international artists are also coming to the country for concerts.

Tapping her feet on the beats of Beatles, Aishwarya adjusts her earphones and increases the sound level while waiting for the metro. “International music is far better than Bollywood music. Not because it is relatable but because it is not nonsensical”, she says as she flaunts her playlist of liked songs on a widely known streaming application.

“Five to six years ago, I hardly had any exposure to these so-called classics. It is only when these streaming apps came into existence that I began surfing for music by Billie Eilish or Bohemian Rhapsody, or for that matter, Pink Floyd. I have a variety of streaming apps so that I am up to date with tunes and artists of all sorts,” she adds.

Indian market provides a great opportunity for the music industry at large. As per Nielsen India’s report on music, “With a growing urban population and young economy, India presents an abundance of opportunities for global marketers. One way that brands are connecting with consumers in India is through music.

“Music outranks all other interests/hobbies as an important/very important part of Online Consumers’ lives, more than Sports (67%) and Cooking & Food (66%). In total, 94% of Online Consumers listen to music throughout the year. Around 71 percent of Online Consumers consider music an important/very important part of their lives while 94 percent listen to music (either primary listening, in the background, or at live music events throughout the year).”

Samkit Jain, an employee atJio Saavn, said, “As of now, Bollywood playlists tops our list but slowly and steadily we are observing a shift in the users’ tastes. For instance, every time a new song is released by prominent international artists, people tend to play it over and over again. They tend to create playlists of songs and share them extensively. It’s like a mixtape. Global songs top these playlists, especially for users in the  20-35 age group.”

Global music is being streamed more, not just in cafes but also in fitness centers. Jaya, a student who goes for a dance fitness session, said, “In the classes that I visit, they tend to play Latin and Korean songs more than the Hindi ones. People enjoy these more because they are upbeat, fun and unusual. You get really hooked to the tunes of these songs.”

The reason for the increase in demand for this music is also because of lesser costs. According to a report, “One day of Spotify Premium access in India cost INR 13 ($0.18), while a week cost INR 39 ($0.55) and INR 129 ($1.81) for a month. A 3 month’s subscription was accounted for INR 389 ($5.47) and a 6 month’s, INR 719 ($10.10). Premium Spotify in India for 6 months was an approximate equivalent price of one month ($9.99) in the USA.”

Priya Dileep, former performing arts professor at Christ, said, “There is no doubt that global music is capturing the Indian markets at a steady pace. However, the decreasing popularity of regional music is a cause for worry. Bollywood and other regional music industries now have tough competition with global music. If they don’t pull up their socks, they might lose a huge chunk of business.”