Music is a #1 driver of views of YouTube and a key component of videos, TV, games and films. The growing developments of music streaming services in India have fueled innovations. This has highly influenced decisions of Venture Capital firms to invest in the industry.
Tiger Global Management
The catalytic movement to invest in music came after the Indian music app Saavn received heavy funding. In 2015, Saavn raised 100 million dollars in Series C funding from existing investor Tiger Global Management and others.
Before the emerging paradigm of venture capitalists in the music industry, Indian-music streaming app Dhingana had raised 7 million dollars in Series B funding led by LightSpeed Venture Partners in 2012. The portal, which provides free streaming of Bollywood music and Indian independent music had been claimed to have cross nine million monthly active users and was also backed by Helion Venture Partners and Inventus Capital Partners. However, the app decided to shut down in the subsequent year but was acquired by Rdio in 2014.
Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Another monumental investment in the music industry came from Chinese Internet conglomerate Tencent Holdings Ltd. Tencent is the majority shareholder of Tencent Music Entertainment, China’s largest music streaming business and has invested in a couple of brands and services in India. In February 2018, Tencent decided to lead a $115 million (Rs 748 crores) round in the music streaming service Gaana. The digital music service’s parent company Times Internet, also participated in the round.
Times Internet Ltd.
Times Internet Ltd (TIL) is the digital business division of media conglomerate Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL) that dominates market-leading newspapers such as The Times of India and The Economic Times as well as runs TV news channels. TIL typically make investments from its own resources or from deep-pocketed BCCL. The Gaana fundraise is the first external VC funding for the group.
Indian Angel Network
The investments in the industry are not only limited to music streaming services. SensiBol is a pure technology company that provides cross-platform solutions & services using proprietary (patented) audio signal processing algorithms. It is an interactive singing interface for mobile/desktop devices which primarily lets users measure their singing ability, get feedback and record & customize their music. They are funded by the Indian Angel Network.
India is currently one of the most important music economies in the world. The healthy parallel between Venture Capitalists and the music industry is growing at a slow pace with risk factors like licensing and value gap involved. Nonetheless it is an exciting environment for new technologies.
(Image Credits: SensiBol Audio Technologies FB Page, Tencent Holdings Ltd. FB Page, Saavn FB Page)