Times Internet Limited has infused fresh capital of Rs 2.48 billion into its online music streaming service Gaana as it prepares to battle giant Amazon's Prime Music service which was launched in India late last year.
The investment comes hot on the heels of Amazon signing deals with Bollywood music labels Zee Music and T-Series to make all their content available to its Prime members. Prime Music is currently available to users of Amazon Echo devices but will roll out more broadly in the near future.
The disclosure of the fresh investment in Gaana to the Registrar of Companies (RoC) was sourced by Business Standard through Paper.vc.
Gaana is the fastest growing business in Times Internet's portfolio, with the company claiming that it had 40 million active monthly users in September last year. The service is considered to the largest of its kind in India, offering users both free and paid access to Bollywood and regional music on its app.
Amazon, whose Prime Video has already become the largest paid movie and television show streaming service in the country, is now looking to replicate the same with music. The company is using Music and Video streaming as hook to get users who sign up for its Rs 999 yearly Prime subscription.
The US retail giant has been steadily lapping up Indian content through partnership deals with providers like Saregama, Sony Music, Tips Music, Venus Music, and even Times Music. Apart from Gaana, Prime Music will take on Bharti Airtel's Wynk, Saavn and Hungama.
While Apple Music and Google Music are also present in India, the services have found limited success given lack of selection of Bollywood and regional music on them. Unlike these global services, Amazon has been more focused on getting local content onto its service as it is using it to cross-sell its e-commerce business to them.
Amazon's deep pockets mean Gaana will have to bleed if it wants to continue to maintain its lead in the Indian music streaming space. With mobile data rates falling in the country, millions of new users are expected to sign up on such services in the coming years, making it an important market globally.
Apple, which charges $9.99 for its Apple Music service in the US, offers the same to Indian customers at Rs 120, or under $2.