Global consumption of music from India soared 2,000% in 5 years on Spotify

Naveed Ahmed via Unsplash

It’s no secret that India’s music market is becoming one of the world’s most important.

Recent data from market monitor Luminate suggests that, by volume, India could be the world’s largest music streamer very soon.

In 2023, music listeners in India streamed 1.037 trillion music and music video tracks, behind only the US at 1.454 trillion plays.

Yet that number is growing in India much faster than it is in the US, up 80.9% YoY. By comparison, US plays grew by 14.5% YoY, meaning that India could overtake the US as the biggest streaming market by volume as soon as this year.

Of course, when looking at average revenue per user, India – like other developing markets – is still nowhere near the numbers seen in developed markets like the US.

According to IFPI data, India’s recorded music business was worth $319 million in 2022. While that marked a year-on-year increase of 48%, it’s still a fairly small sum compared to the music markets in developed countries.

And for India’s music market to truly mature, it still has some kinks to work out. A recent report from EY India noted that the industry is held back by copyright compliance issues. (Though that report did note that music publishing revenues in India grew 2.5-fold in the three years between 2019-2020 and 2022-2023.)

Growing pains or not, India’s music industry is on the right track – and a fast one, at that.

Illustrating this point clearly is newly-released data from Spotify, which last month celebrated its fifth anniversary of operating in India.

The music streaming service looked into its data on its activity in India and found some jaw-dropping statistics: For one, global consumption of music from India jumped by more than 2,000% on its platform during those five years.

In 2023 alone, global consumption of music from India jumped 85% YoY, the music streaming service said.

The growing popularity of music from India was particularly pronounced in Turkiye, Brazil and Italy, Spotify said, along with Canada, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates.

Spotify India statistics
Chart: Spotify

Over the past five years, the largest musical exports out of India were A.R. Rahman, Alka Yagnik, Anirudh Ravichander, AP Dhillon and Arijit Singh, Spotify said in a blog post published on Tuesday (March 12).

Indian music is also becoming more popular within India: In Spotify’s first year in India, 70% of the music consumed on the platform was international; today, 70% is from India, Spotify said.

That number may prove to be even higher in 2024. Spotify’s Weekly Top Songs list for India for the week of March 7 shows all of the top 10 spots held by Indian artists (including no fewer than three tracks featuring Arijit Singh).

Some of this may have to do with Spotify itself, in that the company, in its own words, is “focused on supporting artists locally” and “deeply invested in educating the artist community on how to make the most of Spotify For Artists, a platform that empowers artists and their management to analyze how their music is consumed around the world.”

The number of artists in India using Spotify For Artists has doubled in the past year, the company said, to 28,000.

So it appears that India, like many other countries, is experiencing “glocalization” – the trend of music tastes becoming more local even as the music industry itself becomes more global.

That trend can be seen in many countries worldwide, including in Latin America, home of the Latin music trend that has exploded worldwide in recent years – but nowhere more so than in some of Latin music’s home countries.

According to Spotify data released last December, between 2014 (when Spotify began expanding into LatAm) and 2023, the share of Latin music consumed on the platform in Argentina grew from 25% to 94%. In Colombia, it went from 36% to 87%, and in Mexico, from 49% to 88%.

Chart: Spotify

A similar trend – though perhaps not as pronounced – can be seen in some parts of Europe as well. According to a new analysis of Luminate data carried out by former Spotify chief economist and London School of Economics European Institute fellow Will Page and Chris Dalla Riva of Audiomack, eight of the 10 most-streamed artists in Germany in 2023 were German. At least half of the top 10 acts were local in France, Italy, Poland and Sweden.

Chart: Will Page, Chris Dalla Riva

In a guest column for MBW, Page explained what he sees as the reasons for the “glocalization” trend.

“On the supply side, digitization has meant production and distribution costs have fallen, more data enables labels to learn what consumers actually want, and [there is] less global prioritization from international companies,” he wrote.

“On the demand side, it’s easy: consumers used to get what they were given on local radio, whereas now they choose what they want on global streaming. And what they increasingly want is local.”

“Consumers used to get what they were given on local radio, whereas now they choose what they want on global streaming. And what they increasingly want is local.”

Will Page, London School of Economics

Of course this trend is a zero-sum game, to an extent. With more and more people joining the global consumer class, overall music consumption is growing rapidly; and yet, the data does show a decline in the English-language musical acts that once dominated the global music scene.

According to a report from Luminate released last year, English-language music’s share of the top 10,000 total on-demand (audio and video) tracks globally fell to 56.4% in the first half of 2023. By comparison, it accounted for 62.1% in 2022, and 67.2% in 2021.

While that may not be good news for the Taylor Swifts and Ed Sheerans of the world, it is certainly good news for the many local acts who’ve come to dominate the charts in their home countries, while gaining broad audiences worldwide.Music Business Worldwide

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