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A report by Deloitte claims that music streaming services in India will garner close to 273 million subscribers by 2020. This has encouraged music streaming platforms like Saavn, Gaana, Apple Music ,among others to bolster their marketing strategies.

The Drum spoke with Prashan Agarwal, chief executive officer of Gaana to know how it aims to attract more customers.

According to Agarwal, Gaana is now used by more than 80 million users to access over 1.2 billion streams a month across 30 languages, including Indian regional languages. Gaana has also recently rolled out an updated iOS and Android app to deliver a new experience by introducing better voice search to enhance the discoverability of music, and an AI-powered intuitive recommendation engine that personalizes music suggestions. 

As to how the voice assistant feature improves the subscriber base, he says: "Voice is the most convenient medium for input unlike a keyboard and we see the millennial generation moving to voice in a big way. The new wave of internet users will primarily use voice as input as many will not be comfortable with typing. On Gaana, currently, almost 25% of the users use voice assistant to search and play songs directly.

"Users can search for their favorite songs by saying the name of song, singer, movie, lyrics, moods, and occasions. Therefore having a powerful tool like a voice search assistant allows for greater retention and greater stickiness for the audience."

Apart from VA, Agarwal highlight how Auto Queue is another very strong feature which helps predict similar songs to a song searched that the user will like and increases the session length for users. Gaana is also introducing full-screen player along with lyrics to increase stickiness on the platform.

The marketing strategy of the brand revolves around building the market and the category of online music streaming. 

Recently, a report said that streaming platforms like Jio-Saavn and Hotstar are leading the audio and video streaming segment in India. On how Gaana tackles competition, Agarwal says: "Today about 150 million users consume music legally through music streaming platforms. This is less than 10% of the population. Thus we believe that a lot of investments needs to be made to educate and bring users online to consume music legally."

Localization is another aspect Gaana is focusing on. According to Agarwal, localization is extremely critical given the diversity of languages across the whole the country. Given that music is so culturally entrenched in Indian lives, the languages in which music is consumed are not only the core languages but also the associated dialects. Also given heavy migration of population across the country and the emergence of a cosmopolitan culture across many key cities localization is the first step, the real final offering is total personalization across languages and genres for the customer. 

He concludes: "The real delight on top of this personalization is the ability to learn from collaborative listening of millions of users and to be able to predict to the consumer what he or she would like to hear in his current mood."