In Developing Asian Markets, Mobile and SoundCloud Dominate Listening

(Victorgrigas via Wikimedia)

Western music services attempting to reach certain emerging markets in Asia will have to contend with a fragmented market for music apps, according to a new study by brand marketing platform developer Jana Mobile. The report examined Asia’s fast-growing smartphone market, which is expected to account for more than half of those devices sold worldwide this year.

Smartphones have become the primary music-listening devices for most consumers in all four Asian countries that Jana studied. The report reveals a disjointed sector in which usage of Soundcloud and several locally popular apps outpaced better-known names.

The study polled 700 mobile users in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. The vast majority of people used their phones to listen to music, ranging as high as 90% in Indonesia and as low as 69% in the Philippines.

Streaming apps have now eclipsed media library apps as methods of music consumption in three of the four nations, reaching between 23% and 29% of users in India, Vietnam and Indonesia. Across all four markets, 11% of people used video apps such as YouTube to listen to music -- more than the 9% who said they listened to the radio.

SoundCloud was revealed to be an especially popular app in Southeast Asia. It was the most popular music app among smartphone users in Indonesia, and a top-three app in Vietnam and the Philippines. Indian users preferred SongsPK, Saavn, and Hungama -- all Bollywood music and entertainment specialists.

In the Philippines, the only country of the four where Spotify is available, the streaming service reached 14% of users since its launch through a partnership with telco Globe Telecom. It’s still lagging behind Spinnr, the music service launched by wireless provider Smart Communications last fall, which reached 32%.

Zing MP3, a music service owned by Vietnamese social networking, gaming and entertainment provider VNG Corp., is easily the most popular music app in Vietnam. In that country, 39% of users said they used Zing MP3 more than any other smartphone app; no other app had more than 10%. Apple’s iTunes was most commonly used by just 5% of Vietnamese smartphone owners.

The diversity of apps mirrors the results of another new study by Waterloo, Ontario-based networking equipment vendor Sandvine, released earlier this week. Sandvine examined upstream and downstream traffic to discover trends in media consumption in various regions of the world, and discovered a similarly fragmented pattern in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Unlike other regions where one or two applications drive much of the category, in Asia-Pacific, multiple applications including YouTube, Wowza, MPEG, PPStream, QVoD, and Dailymotion are responsible for driving traffic,” the study reads.

Such trends will be discussed at the upcoming Music Matters conference, part of the larger All That Matters event between May 20 and 25 in Singapore. Billboard staff will be on hand at the conference, including Tokyo bureau chief Rob Schwartz.