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Is Dhingana Shutting Down? CEO Says They’re Restructuring, Update Next Week


DhinganaUpdate: Dhingana has shut down

Earlier: Rohit Bhatia, CEO of music streaming service Dhingana, has told MediaNama that the company is in the process of restructuring its operations, while at the same time, not commenting on whether it is shutting down, saying only that we’ll hear from them early next week.

Yesterday, Soundbox had reported that Dhingana was shutting down its services by the end of this month, citing sources and quoting T-Series President Neeraj Kalyan as saying that they’ve withdrawn music from Dhingana, because the label, apparently, was not able to see much traction from this Dhingana in comparison with other services. In response, Bhatia told MediaNama that their contract with T-Series ended on the 17th or 18th of the month, and “we did not renew it, because we don’t have T-Series on the mobile. Today more than 75% of my users are on mobile. We’re a mobile-first company. When the license expired, it was mutually agreed that we would not renew it.”

MediaNama contacted him, Saregama CEO Surya Mantha said that Dhingana is a partner, and Saregama’s music is currently being provided to Dhingana.

Exclusivity Killing The Streaming Radio Star?

It’s worth noting that T-Series music on the mobile is exclusively with Hungama Digital, which is both a music aggregator and a direct to consumer service competing with other streaming services, and this exclusivity on mobile gives it a competitive advantage over other service providers. Much of the new music released in Bollywood is with T-Series, and as an extension of that, with Hungama.

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For online music streaming services, monetization is more likely to come on mobile, through paid subscription services, like the type Dhingana launched recently with Idea Cellular. In fact, Times Internet is planning to launch a new version of its Gaana app today. The exclusivity gives Hungama inordinate control over monetization of music, and given the minimum guarantees regime that exists in the music business, it has to wait it out for its competitors (especially the VC funded ones like Saavn and Dhingana) to run out of money.

Is Lightspeed Venture Partners Investing More Money In Dhingana?

For a music business, where revenues are tricky, funding becomes all the more important. Bhatia declined to comment on whether Lightspeed Venture Partners is investing further in the company, repeating again that Dhingana is currently undergoing a restructuring process. At the time of filing this report, Dev Khare from Lightspeed Venture Partners was not available for comment, and we’ll update in case we hear from him. Lightspeed and other investors had put in $7 million in Dhingana last October.

Dhingana So Far

December 10th, 2013: Ties-Up With General Mobile To Preload Apps On A Million Devices
November 12th, 2013: Brings Carrier Billing To Android With Idea Tie-Up
July 11th, 2013: Launches Paid Subscriptions; Revamps Website
May 20th, 2013:Launches Video Ads On iOS; Android To Follow
April 1st, 2013: Partners Sony, Universal & Others To Improve Its International & Regional Catalog
March 15th, 2013: Introduces Radio Stations; Plans RJ Based Programming
February 15th, 2013: Appoints Rohit Bhatia As CEO; Based In India
January 25th, 2013: Launches Mobile Site; Monetization; 3.5M App Downloads
January 7th, 2013: Inks Two Year Advertising Deal With Universal Music
October 25th, 2012: Raises $7M In Series B Round From Lightspeed & Existing Investors

Also read:
Vodafone India Launches Music Streaming Service; Why? (especially the discussion in the comments)

  • Anonymous

    This will be sad. I was looking forward for some good paid service for streaming service in future which will eliminate purchasing song. Saavn, Dhingana and ganna was top 3. Will other two follow suit?

  • shyam

    Unfortunate and just explains the state of affairs for publishers and mobile app ecosystem in India. Monetization would always be challenge for publishers as it is difficult for them to scale beyond India.