India's Spotify, Dhingana, explodes past 15M active users, launches on Windows 8

By Michael Carney , written on November 28, 2012

From The News Desk

While streaming music titans like Spotify and Pandora fight over record label contracts and their respective slivers of the US music listening marketshare, another Silicon Valley company is growing by leaps and bounds in an entirely different market. Dhingana his grown rapidly into the world’s largest Indian music streaming service, catapulting from 11.5 million active users to 15 million active users in just the last three months, and from 100 million minutes streamed per month to over 300 million. Interestingly, 40 percent of these users are located outside of India, with the company’s audience spanning 250 countries and territories. Today Dhingana is launching a Windows 8 desktop and tablet app.

The Windows 8 app offers the usual suspects of features, including social sharing and discovery, personalized music recommendations, and background play mode. Also, the don’t-call-it-Metro interface is visually gorgeous. More importantly, however, it rounds out the company’s platform coverage which is a necessary evil for reaching a massive audience in the emerging market. Today’s app joins existing Dhingana offerings for iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Nokia (Symbian), and HTML5 Web. (As an aside, if US developers think Android is fragmented in the US, try developing for the span of high-end to low-end devices owned by the more than 1.2 billion Indians worldwide.)

Music plays an enormous role in Indian culture, yet no one other than Dhingana seems to be tackling this opportunity with anywhere near degree of success. Part of the challenge is that India is comprised of dozens of languages, making assembling a comprehensive catalog challenging. The company currently offers a library of 500,000 songs in 38 languages, divided among genres including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Bengali, Devotional, Ghazals, and others.

Dhingana was founded in 2007, but spent the first few years building its content library and attracting users. The product has been free to use thus far, with the company rolling out an ad platform for the first time in just August of this year. Expect to see a paid subscription model within the next year, according to co-founder and COO Swapnil Shinde, which will offer additional music selection and limited ads.

Just a month ago, Dhingana announced $7 million in Series B financing from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Inventus Capital Partners, and Helion Venture Partners. The company is putting this money to work to grow its engineering staff and to pursue additional Bollywood studio licenses.