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Music Streaming Battle Intensifies As Saavn Gobbles Up $100 Million From Tiger Global

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Saavn, which is India’s largest Music streaming service by userbase, today announced that it has raised a whopping $100 million Series C round led by Tiger Global, to take music streaming wars at an all-time high. The new capital will be used to drive “long-term product development” and aggressive customer acquisition. The company also aims to move into video services and increase their already abundant content.

With music streaming making headlines everywhere ever since that grand Apple Music launch, it’s no surprise that other streaming services are trying to get as much as they can, and investors are more than readily backing them up. The New York HQ’d, Saavn, was founded in 2007 and has offices all over India. Sources within Saavn confirmed to The Tech Portal that the round values the company at $300-400 million.

There are a handful of streaming services in India, thus, a fair amount of competition. Saavn’s rivals include Times internet-backed, Rdio which acquired shuttered Indian rival Dhingana and launched in India this year and music and video service Hungama. These services have grown a lot due to gargantuan smartphone sales in the subcontinent and increase in the internet coverage throughout the region.

The current investment round into Saavn was led by Tiger Global, which has already been investing in a handful of Indian companies since last year. Other investors include investors Bertelsmann India Investments, Steadview Capital, Liberty Media, and Mousse Partners and new backers Quilvest along with a few unnamed hedge funds from Hong Kong and “a number of strategic individuals.” Advisory for the round was led by Avendus Capital in Mumbai and LionTree Advisors in New York.

CEO and co-founder of Saavn, Rishi Malhotra said that Saavn is adding more than one million monthly active users per month. In January this year, Saavn claimed 11 million MAUs which has increased to 14 million this month. According to Malhotra, the number of MAUs will surpass 20 million by the end of this year.

Music streaming is at the center of the music industry, and India is one of the most important music economies in the world. With 2 million Androids shipping each week, music is driving data consumption and redefining mobile advertising.

Saavn, despite numerous Indian competitors, has been successful in attracting more customers to its platform, than the others. Moreover, considering how easily pirated content is available in India, Saavn success till now, is an achievement in itself. Malhotra explains how thats happening and what lies ahead,

We are building the best-in-class mobile entertainment ecosystem, with music as the foundation. Our investors continue to be the best partners in the world. We’re excited to add millions of users to the Saavn family and deliver our long-term product vision across multiple platforms. Music is only the beginning.

He further said that 90 percent of Saavn’s users were on mobile and thus their main effort would be going in that sector. Also, as the mainstream mobile platform of the country is Android, the focus would surely be there in that respect.

Along with this huge funding announcement, Saavn also rolled out major updates to its apps. The updates include:

  • Personalized multi-language homescreen, supporting 11 languages
  • Infinite scroll on homescreen
  • “One-Click Play” on homescreen
  • New & Trending content along with enhanced personalization in “My Music”
  • Additional Charts, including top “Rewind” charts by decade for all 11 languages
  • Enhanced music tagging and music chat features for Saavn Social

The company also aims to focus more on the free ad-supported client more than the paid version as Malhotra believes that Indian consumers and other emerging markets are less open to paying for services. That’s saying because the lowest deal at Saavn is priced at Rs. 120, the same price for which Apple is offering Apple music.

Following the new Series C investment round, the streaming service has aggressive plans in place to move to video. Malhotra says, that Saavn aims to become an entertainment ecosystem much like part Spotify, part Pandora, and part Netflix, keeping the Indian market system in mind.


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