I recently came across a music streaming service called Dhingana, and have been exploring its range of songs which I must admit is quite impressive. It was designed from the ground up as a mobile app with social capabilities as part of the app rather than an afterthought.
Since its launch in 2007 Dhingana has focused on usability of its product and its usebase. This move has paid off as it now boasts licensing deals with 500 music labels and bollywood production houses, and over 11 million monthly active users. This is roughly one third of Spotifys user base, but considering the niche of music is very impressive. So now the company wants to make money.
Co-founder and COO Swapnil Shinde is launching an advertising platform. Shinde wants Dhingana to be a “must buy” service for advertisers such as production studios, music labels, artists, independent musicians, and any other brands that want to reach its young, socially engaged audience.
Dhingana is offering a number of ad formats (the most popular so far, Shinde says, is a reskin of the homepage), and it can target ads based on factors like music genre, platform, geo-location, and audience demographics.
Dhingana has been beta testing the platform, and during that period, the company says it ran a campaign for the Bollywood movie Cocktail, driving 100,000 audio streams of the ad in the first 18 hours, and more than 1 million streams in the first five days.
Eventually, Shinde says advertising should make up 70 to 80 percent of Dhingana’s revenue, with the rest coming from subscription services.
In addition to launching the ad platform, Dhingana has just announced the addition of Gokul Rajaram to its advisory board, who played a major role in the developing Google AdSense and who is now Facebook’s product director for advertising. Rajaram says he first encountered Dhingana as a consumer, listening “to an inordinate amount of songs” on the service.
When he met the team, Rajaram says he was “blown away” at what it accomplished without much funding. He argues that Dhingana is “social from the ground up,” making it easy for users to find music through social discovery, and that it’s also “mobile first”, with more than 7 million active users on iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia devices.
This is just the sort of service the bhangra industry in the UK needs. Spotify has a good array of Indian music, but every platform should be exploited, especially those which are social, as it results in users spreading the word without realising they are doing so.
My brief experience of the app shows bhangra music is quite out of date on the Dhingana app, with Imran Khan’s Amplifier album occupying most of the top sings section within the punjabi category, and Daler Mehndhi most of the Bhangra category. Speed Records should really jump on this. With 11 million monthly active users Dhingana is surely an excellent platform to push releases.