Regional music hits the right notes for netizens

Regional music hits the right notes for netizens

Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada songs see more demand on streaming sites

Online music consumption continues to register a steady increase in India, with more and more netizens making use of increased smartphone penetration and cheap data tariffs to listen to their favourite genres and artistes all through the day. But in a country which has traditionally favoured Bollywood music over all others, a surge in the demand for regional music comes as a pleasant surprise.

The country’s largest music app Gaana says it has seen the demand for non-Hindi songs surge from a mere five per cent to more than 25 per cent annually. The demand has been observed across Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.

Music streaming app Spotify also says that South Indian audiences have an eclectic taste that includes genres such as film music, Carnatic, indie and devotional. Playlists featuring South Indian languages, such as Tamil and Telugu, are listened to in countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, France, US , UK, Canada and Australia.

The massive demand for regional music also led Gaana to create the South Indian edition of its iconic non-film music series ‘Gaana Originals’. This edition, which features the likes of D Imman, Shankar Mahadevan, Hariharan, G V Prakash Kumar, Anirudh Ravichander and D Sathyaprakash among others, proved to be a massive hit across India, with the highest traction from Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore and Ernakulam.

Spotify says some of the top South Indian artistes on its platform are Anirudh, AR Rahman, Sid Sriram and Devi Sri Prasad.

‘People have access to all kinds of music now, from all parts of the world’

Bengaluru-based singer Vasu Dixit credits this increase in demand to the potent combination of the increased reach of the Internet and awareness spread by social media.

“People are able to access all kinds of music, and by this, I mean not just South Indian music but all global genres. Once they discover they like a particular genre, they go and explore other artistes doing similar kind of work,” he says.

“It does not mean that the music coming out from South Indian industries, film or otherwise, is better now. This is happening because the reach has improved,” he adds.

Does he believe that the grip of Bollywood music over Indian audiences will also loosen up a bit now?

“Bollywood music has a strong fanbase because the industry is strong — there is a lot of money involved which increases the reach. But the industry has been churning out similar kind of music for a long time which is causing people to look for entertainment elsewhere,” he says, adding that indie musicians are ushering in a welcome change in the industry now.

An earlier report by Gaana also revealed that regional music consumption hit a three year high among music lovers in the country last year.

Music is India’s top entertainment choice

According to the Digital Music Study 2019, brought out by the Indian Music Industry, Indians spend more time listening to music than rest of the world. The Indian average was 19.1 hours per week, higher than the 18 hours seen in other parts of the world.

Also, 80 per cent of Indian internet users who were surveyed identified themselves as ‘music fanatics’ or ‘music lovers’. The global average was 54 per cent.  

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