People have always been good listeners when it comes to music. From traditional oral storytelling predating the written word to more modern means initiated with advanced digital technologies. It’s safe to say music plays an important role in day to day lives of people at large.


However, with the changing market scenario, more and more consumers have flocked to digital audio medium, showing significant growth trends in the realm of digital audio streaming in the recent years.


Looking at the technology trends that propel the industry forward. Mobility Foresights conducted a market survey around millennials and Generation Z and decided to look specifically at music streaming as the industry, artists, and fans further embrace the shifting culture of how people listen to songs.


Hence, this Market survey aims to understand people’s listening behaviors with the onset of Online Music Streaming services and find out about consumer’s perception and preferences overtime.


As the days of owning music both physical mediums and downloads fade into the past, the increase in subscriptions to streaming platforms is largely responsible for the phenomenal rise in revenue from recorded music in 2020 with the effects of the Covid19 pandemic still in place. With over one million new subscriptions added per month during this period, streaming music has become the new norm.


This growth has been witnessed from around the world, as record companies continue to expand their geographical footprint and cultural reach to bring music to everyone, wherever they want to listen to it. The growing popularity of digital platforms and the increasing adoption of smart devices has contributed greatly in accelerating the growth prospects of this market. With enhanced focus on the personalized streaming of an endless collection of music, curated to the user’s preference and taste driving further growth.


Music streaming contrasts sharply with video streaming. While the video marketplace is characterized by unique catalogues, a variety of pricing and diverse value propositions (including a host of niche services) music streaming services are all at their core fundamentally the same product.


When the market was in its hyper-growth phase and there were enough new users to go around, it did not matter too much that the streaming services only had branding, curation and interface to differentiate themselves from each other.


Now that the companies are approaching a slowdown in the high- revenue/developed markets, growth is attributable by expanding into developing markets like that of India, South Korea, Japan among others’ and increase its audience reach. This is where the market leaders in Music Streaming apps are aiming to thrive upon in the near future.


Innovating new product features and introducing new formats for audio consumption in the form of Podcasts listening and Audio books is another way by which Music Streaming sites are aiming to expand and retain their user base and eventually push for paid streaming consumption. By creating a differentiated product offering in the market and providing exclusive content on its platform thus creating a niche for themselves in the market, essentially gives them a competitive edge over its contemporaries.


Algorithm recommendations, personalized music collections, next generation device sync and live streaming are just some of the tools used by these sites for the same.




Winced out of daily commutes, music has now emerged as the preferred stressbuster for the millions who are working from home, playing a therapeutic role for these multi-tasking times.


Both the number of subscribers of audio streaming services and the time they spend listening have grown nearly 40% in 2020 across platforms.


This survey was conducted among a sample size from different age groups spanning from different cuties in India in order to gain a holistic insight into this market. Most of the respondents belonged to the generation z who are either post-grad students or working professionals.




  • Most of the paying audience who frequently subscribe to Music streaming platforms belong to the age group between 23-27 years.
  • About 56.7 % of the respondents have subscribed to a freemium model of subscription while the rest belong to the premium audience for music streaming.
  • About 90% of the respondents prefer listening to music on their smartphone devices as it is quick and handy
  • Spotify has emerged as the most popular and preferred music streaming app by consumers, quickly followed by YouTube music and Amazon Prime music gaining considerable traction.
  • Ad-free usage is the primary reason why consumers would like to make a switch to a subscription based model of Music Streaming service with nearly 64% respondents opting for it.


  1. Age Group Division Of Most Frequently Used Streaming Service


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Most of the paying audience who frequently subscribe to Music streaming platforms belong to the age group between 23-27 years.


Millennials are fast moving and fast switching consumers with limited attention spans. They’re always on the spree to get the most out of their music experience and wouldn’t shy away from switching platforms if they see a driving point in it.


  • Which Streaming Service Do You Use? (Free Streaming /Premium)


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It is no surprise that all consumers like free content and try to get the most out of it as in the case of this survey. About 56.7 % of the respondents have subscribed to a freemium model of subscription to fulfil their streaming needs. But, what’s noteworthy is the number of people (43.3%, in this case) increasingly switching to a subscription based model from a freemium model on the basis of assessing some additional features which is considered important for them in their music streaming experience.


The low price offered to users (some services are even free of charge) is a key factor in the success of music streaming. Price lowering by major Streaming platforms in order to attract and retain customers has been a major driving factor contributing to this shift in consumption.


Additionally, this could indicate market leaders like Spotify and Gaana have succeeded in creating experiences that encourage paid subscriptions, such as paid subscribers having the ability to select songs from their playlists on mobile devices.


  • Frequency Of Use: How Often Do You Stream Music Online?


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  • 57.7% of the respondents said that they listen to music online on streaming services at least once every day.
  • People are moving towards online music streaming services and streaming content every day (57.7%).
  • With many respondents (about 15%) highlighting the fact that they stream music online more than once in a day. This can be attributed to multitasking roles with work from home becoming the new normal for majority of the places in India.


  • What Type Of Device(S) Do You Use To Stream Music?




(Multiple options selected by respondents)


  • More than 90% of the respondents have rated Smartphone as the most preferred choice for consuming music streaming services as it quick and handy.
  • However, with state-of-the art integration in smart devices, many other forms of consumption have come into play,
    • like Voice assistants (nearly 6%), Tablets (about 11%), Vehicle (11.5%) and Computer/desktop (about 32%) which provide for a good alternate medium to consume music from these streaming services in the background while focusing on your main task.
  • Listening to music while driving, work out regimes, Work-from-home routines, cooking and cleaning are common practices and with the rise of smartphone integration with other devices, this process just becomes more seamless for its consumers.


  • Popularity Of Major Music Streaming Platforms Among Indian Consumers: Which Music Streaming Service(S) Have You Used?  





(Multiple options selected by respondents)


  • Majority of the consumers have preferred to subscribe to more than one options for music streaming services.
  • With Spotify (63.5%) emerging as the most popular streaming app for consumption among audience.
    • This can be attributed to a variety of reasons ranging from its global brand name and presence, its product offerings and features, favourable price metrics or
    •  its integration with other social media engagements that have managed to attract majority of the audience into its umbrella.
  • This is followed by a relatively new market entrant, YouTube music ( with about 59%. votes) which is already very popular among Indian consumers and holds a considerable user base here.
  • YouTube music is quickly becoming a favourable choice among the consumers followed by some other regional players.


  • Consumer Preference Among The Available Apps And Reason For Preference: Which Is The Most Preferred Music Streaming App For You?


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Spotify stands out as the most preferred choice for Music streaming among the Indian audience with nearly 32% penetration quickly followed by YouTube music and Amazon Prime Music becoming increasingly popular.


Music Streaming App Reason for preference
Spotify It’s user friendly, has variety, love the aesthetic/design, and the most used app by my friends hence making it common. I also like the brand a lot, they’ve been doing super stuff on social and outdoor.
Spotify Best playlists and user interface
Spotify Auto music suggestions
Spotify Has great library and also podcast
Spotify User friendly. All original songs are easily available
Spotify Easy to use and they have a wide range 9f albums and collaboration with various record label companies.


Music Streaming App Reason for preference
YouTube Music Convenient to use and variety of songs is more.
YouTube Music I can find every possible song on YouTube music which has been an issue with other apps that I’ve used before. It has a simple UI and also very cost effective.
YouTube Music Easy to Access and auto-play recommendations are as per my history.
YouTube Music Wider range of music choices available


  • What Is Your Monthly Average Expenditure On Streaming Platforms? (in Rs.)


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  • Before Spotify’s arrival, in March 2019, Gaana had just crossed 100 million monthly active users (MAUs), becoming the first domestic platform to garner that number.
  • No sooner had Gaana made the announcement than JioSaavn reduced their annual subscription rate by 70% (INR 999 to INR 299). Gaana followed suit by reducing their annual subscription rate from INR 399 to INR 299, if paid through the PayTM wallet.
  • Gaana Plus also has a monthly subscription plan for Rs. 99/month and 3-month plan for Rs. 199.
  • Expeditiously, Spotify did not shy away from introducing reduced rates. In fact, over 2019, they introduced several tiers, including those at launch, followed by the Premium Family plan(Rs. 179/month), Duo plan (Rs. 149/month), Student discount plans (Rs. 59/month) and Annual plan for Rs. 999.
  • Spotify has also updated two of its Premium subscription plans in India in 2020. Spotify Premium daily and weekly plans have received discounts, and are also called ‘Premium Mini’ now. The revised Spotify Premium Mini plans now cost ₹7 per day, and ₹25 per week.
    • These bite-sized plans can be used only on Spotify’s mobile app, and are restricted to only one device at a time.
  • The price war had just become evident and the competition palpable. In so much as the penetration of internet users and music consumers in India lies in Tier II and III cities, it is a challenge to convert these users to a paying consumer base.


  • What Will Be Your Preferred Reason To Upgrade To Premium Model Of Subscription For Music Streaming Apps?

    • Own Playlists
    • Music Catalogue range
    • Multiple device usability
    • Ad supported
    • Social media engagement


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  • Ad-free usage is the primary reason why consumers would like to make a switch to a subscription based model of Music Streaming service with nearly 64% respondents opting for it.
  • While the traditional Rs. 99 / month on-demand subscription model continues to dominate much of the growth in music industry revenue, there are new ways in which companies and record labels are monetizing music in sync with technological innovation.
  • Variety in Music catalogue and playlists range is another key criteria deriving importance while choosing a paid subscription especially in a culturally diverse region like India.
  • Music Streaming platforms largely thrive on maximising on regionalised and local content in order to attract and retain its customers from diverse backgrounds and ranging preferences including language and variety in music collection.


  • Highly Valued Features Of Subscription Based Services:


  • Price
    • Catalogue/ Library
    • Usability
    • Sound Quality
    • Ad free
    • Information security
    • legitimacy/exclusivity
    • Others


Rate the importance of the following features in subscription based services on a scale of 1-5 (1=most important and 5=least important)


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Indian music streaming platforms in 2020 witnessed an opportune market. For the years to come, the likes of Music apps like Spotify, Gaana, and JioSaavn collectively will foster the audio streaming industry to grow continuously to its full potential.


Ultimately, brands that are building user experiences, and have invested long term, are expected to survive and thrive. People developed relaxation and sleep rituals where audio has become an important part of the process. Specific activity based or ‘intent music listening’ is a habit that is here to stay.


With the consumers being smart and abreast with the latest trends, the need to, constantly, create engaging content is a pressure for OTTS’s that they can alternatively use to build upon their user base and encourage customer loyalty.


Avenues where music surfaces, platforms where discovery takes place and how music gets noticed is what enhances user-experience. Hence, converting momentary users to dedicated consumers.


The success of short-format video content platforms like, Tik Tok, in India along with thriving music streaming platforms proves the Indian music industry is standing at the cusp of an incredible growth curve.


Akanksha, Research Associate at Mobility Foresights
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