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'Our app uses product innovation and localised content to beat the competition', says Gaana exec

Despite Spotify pushing harder into Asia, Indian music streaming brand Gaana is finding success with a different, more localised tune.

According to an Indian media and entertainment industry report by KPMG India and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) , the digital music industry downloads and streams in India is estimated to be generating more than 70% of the Rs12.2 bn music industry’s overall revenue.

The Drum spoke to homegrown music streaming service Gaana's chief operating officer Prashan Agarwal to find out what marketing strategy the brand has implemented to engage its audience and increase its revenue.

He says: "Gaana is focusing on product innovation and differentiation via original and exclusive content, technical superiority and immersive user experience to become the most loved music streaming brand in India."

Gaana earlier launched ‘Gaana Originals’, a platform for independent music and exclusive content from both Bollywood movies and regional markets to cater to its diverse audience. It also rolled out ‘Gaana Specials’, an original audio content programming with celebrities and android-auto functionality, local music integration, transliterations in nine languages.

Localised content alone isn't enough to generate a buzz and Gaana takes this to its marketing strategy, using influencers and associations locally to keep its relevancy. As to how Gaana is using influencers, Agarwal says: "We have been very aggressive on leveraging artist imagery and associations via social, digital and Gaana platform - influencers and outreach programs are central to Gaana Originals strategy and would continue to leverage this in season two and other planned properties in next quarters."

Gaana made the top five list of most entertaining app by Google Play in India. However, it faces stiff competition from another homegrown brand Saavn. According to Agarwal, localising content and product innovation is what differentiates it from the competition.

He adds: "Over the last two years, we have grown by more than 300% as stated by Mary Meeker's report and currently leading the market by a huge margin delivering more than 50m monthly active users (MAU).

Gaana also launched 'Gaana Social', which allow users to share music across social media with their friends and family. To further expand its presence, Gaana is investing in partnerships for growth and engagement.

Agarwal says: "We have partnerships across e-commerce players, wallets, android auto, fire tv and would continue to nurture and build more moving forward."

An increase in Internet penetration has further boosted the growth of music streaming apps.

As to what is the future of podcasts and streaming in India, Agarwal adds: "Music streaming growth took off post Jio launch last year and is seeing strong growth trajectory. We believe with affordable data and smartphone growth, this space will continue to grow and reach about 300m music streaming users in the next three years."