Con Raso, MD & co-founder, Tuned Global, manages the entire Tuned Global network which involves offices in Melbourne, Sydney, London and San Francisco.
Over the past 10 years, he has focused on creating innovative mobile and online distribution models within the B2C entertainment market. Here, Raso looks at the global potential for niche music streaming services…
It's no secret, pandemic or no pandemic, streaming is the predominant form of music consumption today. No doubt, the Western music streaming world is dominated by services such as Spotify and Apple Music that offer an ‘everything for everyone’ menu.
We are, however, witnessing a rise of services that dig deeper and offer a specialist take based on geography, genre or even leisure activity. In fact, Spotify’s revenue growth is slowing down, partly due to the rise of local services in emerging markets. Taking all of that into consideration, is music heading in a similar direction to the TV world where consumers are prepared to pay for a range of different subscriptions with different types of content rather than just sticking with one option?
Granted, the mainstream music streaming services all share similar content compared to TV where they all have unique offerings (eg, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+). That being said, there are plenty of music services that focus on a tailored approach to their local audience with localised content. They don’t replicate or replace the offering of mainstream DSPs, but rather complement them by catering to the local social economic needs. This focus allows them to engage with super-fans and support local music industries and artists.
A prime example of this is the content found on Gaana, India’s largest commercial music streaming service with 185m MAUs and 20 regional languages. This DSP’s content consists primarily of Indian titles in genres such as Hindu Hip Hop, Punjabi pop ballads and devotional religious songs.
Similarly, the Pan-African platform Deedo, powered by Tuned Global, offers local musicians the opportunity to distribute their music online and keep 100% of their income. Meanwhile, PortalDisc in Chile provides a fully localised user experience achieved by using custom metadata provided by our turnkey branded solution to divide the content into regions and Chilean music genres. With over 130,000 Chilean songs from 300 national labels and more than 7,000 independent artists, it covers the full range of the country’s musical styles, geographical regions and historical eras.
Music streaming can be used to deepen a brand’s connection with its customers
For users who may already be satisfied with their local content offerings on the major DSPs, they could perhaps feel underserviced in another area, one of which could be a lack of diversity or deep catalogues, in particular genres which fall outside of the mainstream. Fans of classical music or jazz, for example, might not get very specific recommendations and have limited options for editorial playlists. Services such as Primephonic offer classical music listeners a unique experience with curated playlists, hi-res audio quality that is needed for this genre and, more importantly, enables users to search by period, genre, style or personnel, such as who conducted the performance.
Music doesn’t always have to be the sole focus of a service, but music can still play an important role when integrated with an activity. This is especially the case with apps tailored to specific activities such as fitness or meditation. In the case of fitness, music was always used to accompany workouts, with the pandemic increasing the demand for digital alternatives, such as Peloton, where your workout playlist is integrated with your workout experience.
Going one step beyond, music streaming can be used to deepen a brand’s connection with its customers. ACX Music and Ultimate Fighting Championship developed an app that enables UFC fans to engage with their favourite athletes via music playlists and videos. Pizza Hut Malaysia also used music streaming to connect with its customer base with the recent ‘Singing Pizza’ campaign, by offering an exclusive playlist tailored to each pizza box within the Pizza Hut app.
Specialty services don’t aspire to necessarily displace Spotify or Apple, they hope to attract a different audience by providing a feature and content-rich service for their core/niche tastes. Niche services have the ability to understand and cater to their specific target audience's tastes in a way that the larger companies cannot. Being able to curate listeners’ experiences with deeper playlists and podcasts is another advantage and allows these companies to establish loyalty and authenticity with their audience. Put simply, they are able to focus on the vertical, rather than the horizontal, Everything for someone, rather than something for everyone.