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BMG to license music through SESAC in India

The Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) has made a digital licensing and administration deal with SESAC Digital Licensing for the Indian market. SESAC will negotiate licensing terms and agreements with Indian and international online service providers, the companies announced.

BMG will reach 1.3 billion “potential” online music users through Mint Digital Services, which is a company alliance between SESAC and Swiss authors’ rights society SUISA. Mint will represent artists like Sir Ringo Starr, Bruno Mars, Bebe Rexha, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Camille Purcell, Yusuf / Cat Stevens, Jess Glynne, George Ezra, Quincy Jones, Aphex Twin, Bring Me The Horizon, Lenny Kravitz, Gossip and The National in India.

Note that BMG was a part of the Bertelsmann family before it was bought by Sony Corporation in 2008. BMG had a joint venture with Sony Music in 2004, and then had a 21.5% share in the global music market.

Given that BMG is a content creator and publisher, it will most likely be platform agnostic and be able to make multiple licensing agreements with India’s streaming players and other broadcasters.

Music apps in India, Spotify’s challenges

The Indian music streaming space is populated with multiple Indian and international (Indian versions of) apps which more or less cost the standard Rs 100-150 per month. Spotify was rumoured to launch in the country yesterday, by making a deal with T-Series, but doesn’t seem to have launched just yet.

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In an earnings call last November, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek cited, “India specifically is a very fragmented marketplace, with lots of different local labels, lots of different local publishers.” He added that when the company deals with ‘licensing situations’, “it’s very hard for us to predict accurate timelines on the basis of multiple partnerships — just the sheer scale of number of partnerships makes it very hard to predict that, but there’s nothing that we see that prevents us from launching in India.”

Digital music consumption on the rise in India

report released by the Indian Music Industry late last year indicated that digital streaming had overtaken physical music revenues in the country. The Indian Music Industry is a music companies’ association whose members include Sony Music, Saregama, Universal Music India, Tips, Venus, Times Music etc.

  • Digital represents 78% of total Indian music revenues.
  • Physical music revenue in India has fallen from $30 million to $9 million
  • 33% of digital revenues are from paid subscribers, 27% from free but legitimate services, and the rest from video streaming and other types of digital services.
  • Indians spent 21.5 hours a week listening to music, higher than the global average of 17.8 hours
  • 95% of internet users in India consume music through on-demand streaming
  • Audio-streaming is used by 86% of Internet users in India
  • YouTube is responsible for 14% of all music listening time and 36% of all on-demand music streaming time
  • 72% of the respondents download music through stream-ripping

Our music and music streaming coverage.

Written By

I'm a MediaNama alumna from 2015-16 (remember TinyOwl?) now back to cover e-services like food and grocery delivery, app based transport and policies, platforms and media in India.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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