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JioSaavn becomes India’s answer to Spotify and Apple Music

India finally has its answer to Spotify after Reliance Jio merged its music service with Saavn, the startup it acquired earlier this year.
The deal itself isn’t new — it was announced back in March — but it has reached its logical conclusion after two apps were merged to create a single entity, JioSaavn, which is valued at $1 billion. For the first time, India has a credible rival to global names like Spotify and Apple Music through the combination of a venture capital-funded business — Saavn — and good old-fashioned telecom, JioMusic from Reliance’s disruptive Jio operator brand.
This merger deal comes days after reports suggested that Spotify is preparing to (finally) enter the Indian market, a move that has been in the planning for over a year as we have reported.
That would set up an interesting battle between global names Spotify and Apple and local players JioSaavn and Gaana, a project from media firm Times Internet which is also backed by China’s Tencent.
It isn’t uncommon to see international firms compete in Asia — Walmart and Amazon are the two major e-commerce players while Chinese firms Alibaba and Tencent have busily snapped up stakes in promising internet companies for the past couple of years — but that competition has finally come to the streaming space.
There have certainly been misses over the years.
Early India-based pioneer Dhingana was scooped by Rdio back in 2014 having initial shut down its service due to financial issues. Ultimately, though, Rdio itself went bankrupt and was sold to Pandora, leaving both Rdio and Dhingana in the startup graveyard.
Saavn, the early competitor too Dhingana, seemed destined to a similar fate, at least from the outside. But it hit the big time in 2015 when it raised $100 million from Tiger Global, the New York hedge fund that made ambitious bets on a number of India’s most promising internet firms. That gave it the fuel to reach this merger deal with JioMusic.
Unlike Dhingana’s fire sale, Saavn’s executive team continues on under the JioSaavn banner.
The coming-together is certainly a far more solid outcome than the Rdio deal. JioSaavn has some 45 million songs — including a slate of originals started by Saav — and access to the Jio network, which claims over 250 million subscribers.
JioSaavn becomes India’s answer to Spotify and Apple Music
JioSaavn is available across iOS, Android, web and Reliance Jio’s own app store
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