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The Rise of Independent Music in India: Stealing the Spotlight

For years, Bollywood soundtracks were the soundtrack to our lives. Remember turning on Spotify and seeing movie songs dominate the charts? It wasn’t uncommon – in fact, film music made up a whopping 90% of all listening on Spotify India! But hold onto your headphones, because the tides are turning.

Independent music, created by talented artists working with labels or by themselves, is making a serious splash. This isn’t just a ripple either, it’s a wave gaining momentum. Let’s dive into the reasons behind this exciting shift in the Indian music scene.

The Rise of the Independent Stars

Remember in 2023 where “Maan Meri Jaan” by King and Saurabh Lokahnde took Spotify India by storm, racking up over 275 million streams and stealing the number one spot – and it wasn’t even a film song! This, along with the growing popularity of artists like AP Dhillon, Anuv Jain, and Kanishk Seth, paints a clear picture: independent music is here to stay.

The Language Factor

Spotify is seeing a surge in the popularity of local languages in India and around the world. Music in Malayalam is leading the way, with a growth rate of 5,300 percent, followed by Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi, and Hindi.

Spotify’s playlists like Hot Hits Punjabi and Punjabi 101 have gained a huge following globally, along with Hot Hits Hindi and Bollywood Mush.

These trends were shared by Spotify India to celebrate its fifth anniversary in the country. Since its launch in India, Spotify has become a popular choice for music lovers, both in India and internationally. The streaming platform has seen an 85 percent year-on-year growth in the consumption of Indian music globally.

When Spotify launched in India in 2019, about 70 percent of its streams were from international music. Now, more than 70 percent of its streams are from local Indian music.

Balancing Bollywood and Indie

Amarjit Singh Batra, the Managing Director of Spotify India, has a vision – a future where film music and independent music share the spotlight equally, with a healthy 50/50 split. He acknowledges it won’t happen overnight, though. When Spotify first entered the Indian market, the independent music scene was relatively small. Film music dominated because it was the established path to success.

But India boasts a rich musical heritage, and the rise of online platforms has opened doors for independent artists like never before. Spotify is playing its part by empowering artists with tools like “Spotify for Artists.” This platform offers valuable data on listener habits, allowing artists to understand who’s listening to their music, and even who those listeners are also enjoying. This information is gold for artists, helping them connect with new audiences and potentially collaborate with other musicians.

Devraj Sanyal, a leading figure in the Indian music industry, believes film music will likely remain popular. However, he also sees a shift towards an “artist-first” approach. This means listeners will connect with songs based on the singers themselves, not just the actors who lip-sync them in movies. Imagine a world where you love a song because of the artist’s voice and talent, not just because you saw it in a blockbuster film.

A Brighter Future for Indian Music

While Bollywood soundtracks will always hold a special place in our hearts, the future of Indian music is looking increasingly bright and diverse. Independent artists are carving their own paths, captivating audiences with their unique sounds and stories. With platforms like Spotify bridging the gap between artists and fans, we can expect a thrilling wave of creative expression to wash over the Indian music scene. So, get ready to discover your next favorite artist, because the beat is definitely changing, and it’s an exciting change for music lovers across India and the world!

The Takeaway

Indian music is undergoing a fascinating transformation. Independent artists are gaining traction, with regional preferences playing a key role in the rise of indie music. New  platforms are empowering artists and fostering a future where film music and independent music coexist and thrive.

The future of Indian music sounds incredible! And if you want to be a part of movement that uplifts independent music and artists alike, check out musifie.

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