By securing music rights with regional labels we intend to expand our foothold across India: Guvera’s Ananya Amin

As the financial year ends in March, we look back at changes in music streaming space, what were the challenges they faced and what are the new targeted areas for them.

Guvera, an Australian based music streaming service, which completed its first anniversary in India, last year, has been growing its roots deeper in the Indian market. Guvera is also responsible for launching Brand Channels, a world-first in the entertainment streaming industry.

As we look back in 2015, Ananya Amin, Head of Business Development, Asia and Middle East, Guvera, spoke to The Business Front in an exclusive interview, where he talks about Guvera’s expanding market in India, role of regional music and trends in music streaming eco-system.

Excerpts:

How was year 2015 for Guvera?

2015 has been a great journey for Guvera in the Indian market. We completed one year in November and have achieved around 6.6 million members within 12 months. We worked with more than 20 brands and had associations with India’s leading Smartphone manufacturer and a partnership with India’s largest 4G telecom company. Our catalog consists of over 23 million songs. We now look forward to a more eventful 2016.

How has been Guvera’s growth since 2014?

Guvera has witnessed tremendous growth since its launch in India in 2014. A lot can attributed to the changing consumption pattern of users in India and the adoption of smart phones. Millennials dedicate a significant amount of time in the day streaming music. Our unique brand-funded model in particular has engaged audiences really well. The growth, in terms of both users and advertisers, is a direct result of the same. Guvera has been creating value for brands while creating an immersive experience for users.

Guvera was very much active on ground activities. How has that been?

We engaged in many engaging activities this year. The two that really stood out were the ‘Ultimate University Stream-Off’ and ‘Harley Rock Riders’. In the first-of-its-kind initiative, the Stream-Off was a music streaming competition that was held in some of India’s most premier educational institutions. As a result, Guvera gained a substantial number of users across key consumer and market demographics that drive new age media consumption across a billion-plus population. The ‘Harley Rock Riders’ concert in partnership with Harley Davidson was our second consecutive year of collaboration to tap into the group of music and biking enthusiasts.

How has been the year in terms of brand integration and partnerships?

Brand channels are one of the features that differentiate Guvera from other streaming services. This feature positions brands in front of the music experience in a non-disruptive, engaging and enjoyable manner for the consumer. The core function of the feature lies in providing branded e-commerce solutions through the power of music. Brand channels help Guvera users to listen to the best local and international music while shopping for the latest fashion, reading up articles during travel, or viewing exclusive videos. ‘Brand channels’ highlight Guvera’s advancements in innovation and are transforming the way consumers experience music and content, while enabling people to have complete control of their experience. Some key partnerships include Reliance Jio and Switch N Walk.

What are the different trends you observed in 2015, in music streaming eco-system?

Music consumption in India has changed rapidly, with streaming dominating the format. The year also witnessed the entry of a few international players. The increase in the number of international as well as domestic players in the country is testimony to the fact that music streaming is here to stay. Bollywood music in particular dominated the music space in India, closely followed by international pop music. From a geographical perspective, apart from the metros and Tier I, Tier II and Tier III regions in India are adding rapidly to our user base. This can be largely attributed to the coming of 4G in India. Regional music is quickly gaining traction within this space.

What challenges did Guvera face in the last year?

With the entry of several international and domestic players, music streaming has turned into a crowded space. However, Guvera’s early entry as the first international service to enter India has worked positively. The fact that our user base reached 6.8 million in 2015 is testimony to the success that we have tasted in India. Our brand channels are a key differentiating factor for Guvera, within this space.

What are your plans for 2016?

We are looking forward to a big year for our listeners as well as for us. In 2016 we will be enhancing our immersive and entertaining music experience and combining this with brands and the latest music. Guvera has recently signed up with two regional music labels, giving our member’s access to the latest Malayalam, Bengali and Oriya tracks, therefore growing our music offering regionally and taking our catalog size to 30 million Bollywood, regional and international songs.

The coming year will also witness many more brands coming onto the platform. Guvera really offers a seamless native experience to its members and brands equally though our unique brand channel offering. It’s the perfect tool for marketers to target the right audience through music. Soon we will also be announcing partnerships with one of the biggest cricketing events in the country as well as a Bollywood movie, stay tuned!

What are the targeted areas Guvera will focus on?

Making music discovery really simple is one of our main objectives, combined with making the best and latest music available to our members via brands. India is our key market and we are confident of becoming the first choice of music entertainment platform for the public as well as brands. We’ll continue to foster excellent relationships with the brands we already have on board, as well as pursue new and exciting opportunities. By securing music rights with regional labels we also intend to expand our foothold across India, enticing new members to the platform with a broad selection of local music.

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