Universal Music Builds Initial Audience Through Online Streaming

Snehal-Shinde-BUniversal Music India signed a deal with Dhingana to promote new music for up to 15 days exclusively on the streaming music service.

The goal is to reach a prime audience between the ages of 15 and 30, composed of people who mostly listen to music on their smartphones, while building a following prior to the tracks' official release, according to Snehal Shinde, CEO and co-founder of the streaming music site.

About 20% of its 15 million monthly active listeners worldwide make up the streaming music site's U.S. audience, supporting a library of 500,000 songs in 38 different Indian languages and 35 genres on iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia.

The streaming music site's ad platform supports roadblocks, and display ads, both video and audio, will also become available to Universal Music. The feature launched three months ago.



An analytics platform running in the background allows marketers to log in to analyze and map the correlation between streams and sales, although Dhingana does not yet have a "buy" feature on the site. Dhingana said the company also plans to build apps for Google and connected TV.

Shinde described the service closer to Spotify, rather than Pandora, because Dhingana allows listeners to  create the list, share it with friends or listen to the radio.

Nielsen report, with support from Billboard, shows U.S. music sales grew 3.1% in 2012, setting a new record for the music industry. While overall music purchases exceeded 1.65 billion units in 2012. Digital album sales rose 14.1% to 117.7 million units; and digital track sales rose 5.1%.

Country artist Taylor Swift with 216,000,000 streams took the most-streamed artist spot in 2012, according to Nielsen. Country music sales showed the most growth last year, up 38%. Overall, digital album sales accounted for 37% of all album purchases in 2012 compared with 31% in 2011, 26% in 2010, 20% in 2009, 15% in 2008, 10% in 2007 and 5.5% in 2006. Despite falling 12.8%, physical remains the dominant media.

Aside from Spotify, Dhingana competes with streaming music services from Google as well as Pandora, which now claims 67.1 million active users as of December 2012, up 41% compared with the year-ago month. Listener hours for Pandora rose 54% to 1.39 billion in December, compared with the same period in the prior year.

Analysts expect Apple to launch a streaming music service this year. Reports suggest Apple will launch a service after securing licenses with labels.

Services have a better chance to succeed when not chained to Windows or Android. J.P. Morgan Analyst Doug Anmuth points out consumers would only have access to an Apple streaming music service on Apple devices and Windows-based PCs, leaving out about half of the smartphone market.

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