Regional Music Changing Listening Habits Across India


The music scene in India continues to change. Regional music is now changing listening habits across the country according to a new report by Gaana, the audio streaming service owned by Times Internet Ltd. The category accounted for more than a billion music streams in December 2019, registering eight times growth in the past two-and-a-half years, according to the service.

Regional language music currently accounts for more than 35% music consumption on over-the-top (OTT) audio streaming platforms, with more than half of their users coming from smaller cities. Gaana said given the rising popularity of Punjabi, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam music across the country, the country’s audio OTT market is expected to grow to 600 million users over the next three years driven by the rising interest in regional music consumption.

Gaana Originals, the platform’s initiative to promote regional non-film music, has also seen a sharp jump and now contributes more than 100 million streams per month. Gaana said its most popular original for 2019 was Jas Manak’s Punjabi song Lehanga that crossed 115 million streams on the service.

“The meteoric rise in regional music consumption across the nation marks one of the biggest cultural shifts of the past decade. As established and emerging music artistes realised the growing importance of music streaming apps to reach their fans with scale in their own language, our primarily young music streaming population is embracing its culture and going back to its roots,” Prashan Agarwal, CEO, Gaana, said in a statement.

“It’s no longer uncool to groove to music from your own region or culture, rather it’s the in thing to have a playlist featuring music in multiple languages,” he added.

Regional music artistes continue to dominate preferences in their individual states as of now, while Jas Manak, Diljit Dosanjh, Guru Randhawa, Sukh-E Muzical Doctorz and B Praak topped charts in Punjab and Haryana, Telangana favored Devi Sri Prasad, Sid Sriram and S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and Tamil Nadu preferred A. R. Rahman, Anirudh Ravichander and Tamizha.

Gaana is not the only streaming app which has seen a rise in regional music consumption. According to an article by knowledge company Music Ally, Punjabi is now the second-most played language on JioSaavn, the official integration of JioMusic, Reliance Jio’s music app, and Saavn, ahead of English and behind Hindi. In terms of the percentage-wise increase in year-on-year listenership, it is the fourth on the list: Bengali (826%), Kannada (593%), Telugu (381%), Punjabi (290%) and Tamil (272%).


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