Universal Tunes In Bollywood Music Streamer

Dhingana's 15 million users lure first ad deal with a major label

While most brands have Pandora and Spotify on their ad-minded radar, international marketers should probably get to know Bollywood and Hindu digital music streamer Dhingana.

Anything but a blip on the screen, the India-based service tells Adweek it now has 15 million monthly users, while revealing a two-year advertising partnership with Universal Music. Though five-year-old Dhinganga has attracted regional advertisers aplenty, the Universal deal represents its first with a major record label, entailing exclusive album releases and ads.

Beginning later this quarter, the music behemoth will run roadblock and reskin ads via Dhinganga for two notable Indian music acts, pop-rock duo Colonial Cousins and singer Sonu Nigam, as well as the popular Swedish deejay Avicii. The roadblock ads will require users to view or listen to the ads before logging onto the service. The ads—which will appear via the music service's web, mobile and tablet properties—will direct users to content about the artists upcoming albums while offering song listens.

Dhingana is easily one of India's biggest music streaming firms, giving its millions of users access to more than 350,000 songs in 38 languages. Snehal Shinde, Dhingana CEO, says that 55 percent of his company's user base live in India, while the rest mostly reside in the U.S. and Europe.

"They are all highly engaged with music," he said. "That's why our click-through rate is high."

To his point, a 6 percent click-through rate from a recent two-week test led to the now more-fomalized Universal-Dhingana relationship. That Web-and-mobile effort also produced 250,000 song listens, 500,000 ad impressions and 1 million push notifications to smartphone/tablet users.

"The success of this campaign was much better than I expected, quite honestly," said Devraj Sanyal, managing director at Universal Music India, in an emailed statement. "A roadblock campaign where every listener has to watch our content before they can log onto the service was pretty impactful, and we were absolutely thrilled with the impact that we were able to rack in real time."

Meanwhile, Dhinganga—once again, with 15 million monthly users—still has a long way to go to compete with rivals Spotify and Pandora in terms of scale. Publicly traded Pandora says it has 62 million monthly active users, while some reports have Spotify at more than 25 million monthly active users.

Recommended articles