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Last Updated : Oct 18, 2019 09:51 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Music OTTs tune into original content to drive user retention

Music streaming platforms like Hungama Music and Gaana have even launched originals in regional languages.

Tired of listening to the same old Bollywood music? Want to listen to something new, exclusive and original? Then tune into music streaming platforms as they are focusing on original content to break the clutter and offer something new to their listeners.

Take the example of Gaana, that launched artist Jas Manak’s track Lehanga which has seen over 50 million streams and is Gaana’s top performing Punjabi original. Another strong performer is Awaara Shaam Hai by Meet Brothers with more than 35 million streams on Gaana.

Talking to Moneycontrol, Prashan Agarwal, CEO, Gaana, said, “Originals have the potential to be among the most popular mainstream music sub-genres on streaming platforms. Plus, premium original content is a great way to drive user retention.”

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“Users, who come on the platform to consume originals, stay on the platform longer and engage with a wider content library as well,” Agarwal added.

Echoing a similar sentiment, Siddhartha Roy, COO, Hungama Digital Media, said, “Originals are a great way to create some form of consumer intrigue to bring the consumer back to your platform.”

This is why Gaana, that currently has 125 million monthly active users (MAUs), and Hungama, that has 65 million (both music and video) MAUs, have hopes of adding more listeners with more originals in the pipeline.

In 2017, Hungama started a project called Hungama Spotlight, which was a show celebrating live music performances by music artists.

“Artists would come out and release their piece of music and we would release their track and create a story around their journey. This has done well. We have done roughly over 65-70 episodes with over 70 plus artists and we had 50 million viewers watching across the globe," Roy said.

The project has got big names like Ash King, Guru Randhawa, Neha Kakkar, Javed Ali on board as Hungama’s intent is to get original content creators for mainstream music.

“We want to do original content that is mainstream. So, when Ash King came, he released his independent track but in that he included the soundtrack of some of his films and this becomes lively,” Roy explained.

Last year, Hungama started a program called Hungama Music Room.

“This was an informal conversation with music celebrities that gives users a chance to see their favorite artists in an unedited way. So, we got a lot of artists sharing their stories and playing music. We had Armaan Malik, Badshah, etc. So, when Badshah did the song Paagal, we did a Music Room in which he actually sings the rap. We got other artists like Shilpa Rao, Neha Bhasin, Jubin Nautiyal,” he added.

Are originals only focused on Hindi?

Roy explained that HSM (Hindi speaking market) in music is roughly about 48 to 52%. “So, you end up creating originals for that community and then regional stacks up, with south Indian languages bringing roughly about 30 to 32 percent. Punjabi has completely got itself mapped in with Hindi as there are massive cross-overs happening right now.”

But music streaming platforms like Hungama Music and Gaana have launched originals in regional languages.

“Music Room has gone Bangla. We have got the biggest music creator and singer Anupam Roy.

"Hungama Spotlight also did its first Kannada hip-hop that. Endrendum is our first original audio show in Tamil,” he added.

Soumini Paul, Vice President, Artist Aloud, added, “Today independent music is bracketed in two categories – Indi pop and regional. Artists like Raghu Dixit, or an Avial (a rock band From Kerala) or a lot of Bengali artists are doing mainstream rock pop, hip-hop in their own language.”

Artist Aloud was launched by Hungama Digital Media as a digital distribution platform for unreleased music created by artists.

At a time when the independent music space is booming in India and artists are getting platforms to showcase their talent, originals become another opportunity for them to release their tracks.

Talking about music artists benefiting from originals, Agarwal said that through Ganaa Originals, established as well as upcoming artists get a platform to launch their tracks at a scale of mainstream Bollywood songs.

“This helps give them the same visibility that any film music would provide them. For example, Gajendra Verma's Gaana Original Tera Ghata crossed 130 million streams last year,” he added.

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First Published on Oct 18, 2019 09:51 pm
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