The latest entrant in the online music streaming segment in India, Amazon Prime Music aims to deliver a truly localised experience to attract more users in the growing on-demand music segment in the country. Amazon has launched its music streaming service in the country at a time when smartphone adoption is growing at a faster rate, thanks to cheaper 4G data and falling handset prices.
“We spent over a year in listening to our customers to understand how they consume music, what’s important to them, types of content, their preferences etc,” Sahas Malhotra, Director at Amazon Music India, told Indianexpress.com in an email interview. “We further deep dived and created genres and subcategories to cater to specific customer tastes. One of the example is in the genre of Classical music: we have separated Western classical, Hindustani and Carnatic classical subgenres making these easily accessible to customers interested in these genres.”
Amazon’s India strategy is based on improving local content its subscribers would listen to and that has helped the company launch the final product in the market. Based on user insights it gathered during the invite-only phase of Amazon Prime Music launch on Echo, the company collated a lot of data about its users – the choice of music, popular genres and trending artists, etc.
“Our customers love independent music tracks, followed by music genres and artists. We have witnessed a healthy mix of international and domestic content – Indian music lovers prefer listening to music in their own languages like Hindi, Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam,” says Malhotra.
“There’s a lot of affinity towards our playlists and stations on Bollywood, followed by Pop, Jazz, Party, and Dance. Artists like Arijit Singh, Kishore Kumar, A.R. Rahman are the top three most requested Indian artists, along with Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and Justin Bieber from International catalogue.”
“Devotional and Kids music are two additional franchises which have positively surprised us in terms of customer traction on Amazon Prime Music. In moods and activities, workout and meditation are amongst the top two activities requested by customers,” adds Malhotra.
Amazon is relying on both algorithms and human curators to pick the music in order to give a more personal touch. “Playlists and Stations are especially hand-curated by our music experts across moods, genres, activities, artists and decades especially new release and trending music,” he said. The company hopes this kind of approach is more personal and effective in nature.
Malhotra thinks that while the international music is gaining fast, Indian users still want to listen to music across in their own local language, which is the reason why its music streaming service can be accessed over 10 languages such as English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bhojpuri, Punjabi and more. He further said that the company will continue to expand selection and curation that’s relevant to its users.
Even though Malhotra refrained from telling how many people have subscribed to the music streaming service in India so far, he says the response has been overwhelming. Amazon Prime Music has been bundled in as a part of its Prime service, a membership programme that gives customers access to access to early deals, fast shipping and streaming video for Rs 999 annually. Its ad-free music streaming service with offline support is available on many devices including smartphones, Amazon’s Echo speakers, Macs, and PCs.
Amazon Prime Music competes with Apple Music, Google Play Music and a slew of other local music streaming services such as Saavn and Gaana that are already available in the country. The competition in this space will further grow with the arrival of Spotify, which has shown its interest to launch its services in the country. The popular music streaming service operates across 65 countries in the world and has over 159 million users of which 71 million are premium subscribers.