October 26, 2012
Americans might think they love music, but Indians really love music: among Internet users, Indians are interested in online music at double the rate of Americans.
“If you look at India, there are two basic religions – one is Bollywood, and the second is cricket,” jokes Snehal Shinde.
Shinde is capitalizing on their fervor with Dhingana, a streaming music service for Bollywood music. The site, which recommends content to each user, features a half million songs now and will have a million by the end of the year. It has attracted 15 million monthly active users – 60 percent of them coming from India – and is adding a million more every month.
This opportunity stems from India’s music industry, which is different from the American one. While US record labels are separate from Hollywood, most Indian music is made for Bollywood movies. According to Shinde, the music comes out a month before the movie and can make or break it, as fans flock to the theaters to see the singing and dancing.
So, while services like Spotify and Pandora revolve around artists, Dhingana revolves around movies. They also have to contend with music in over 30 different languages.
At 24 people, the Dhingana team has offices in Sunnyvale, California, and Pune, India. Shinde visits India often, meeting with Bollywood production houses to license their content. Sometimes they haven’t even digitized their music yet, or don’t understand why they should put it online. But as a Bollywood fan himself, Shinde makes a good negotiator.
“We are so into Bollywood music,” says Shinde. “I don’t even consider it to be work … I’m living my passion.”
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