Saavn, India's Spotify, Reveals Its Most-Active Cities and Users

(Victorgrigas via Wikimedia)

The country's leading music service reveals its most active regions, giving a window into the listening habits of the diverse subcontinent (and beyond).

Mumbai is the king of music streaming in India. Or rather, Mumbai is the most active city for Saavn, an Indian music streaming service with listeners in India and countries around the world.

An infographic produced by Bollywood streaming service Saavn breaks down the company's 50 most active cities and its most active listeners (5 each for free streamers and subscribers to its Pro account). The top 10 cities are:

1. Mumbai (pop. 6,748,000)

2. Delhi (pop. 4,430,000)

3. New Delhi (pop. 3,685,000)

4. Bangalore (pop. 3,082,000)

5. Hyderbad (pop. 1,401,000)

6. Gurgaon (pop. 906,000)

7. Pune (pop. 847,000)

8. Kolkata (pop. 784,000)

9. Powai (pop. 678,000)

10. Thane (pop. 536,000)

An astute reader will notice some cities in the top 10 are actually part of the same metropolitan areas: Powai and Thane are part of Mumbai, and New Delhi is the capital of India and part of Delhi.

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Rishi Malhotra, Saavn's CEO, explains that cities may be part of the same metropolitan region but are technically separate designated market area (DMA). "If we clubbed the respective cities together, Mumbai still leads."

Of note is the relatively week performance of some of the country's biggest cities. Chennai is India's third-largest city but ranks 13th on this list. Surat is the 8th largest city but is Saavn's 23rd-most active market. Not in the top 10 is Kanpur, India's 10th biggest city but Saavn's 33rd most-active market.

The explanation lies in India's multi-lingual society. Malhotra explains that cities that listen to Hindi music over-index in the top 10. Hindi is by far the most popular of the languages spoken in India, followed by Bengali and Telugu. But, for example, Chennai, is a Tamil-speaking and listening city, so it ranks lower than its population alone might predict.

Income appears to also play a factor in a city's streaming activity. For example, Gurgaon, close to the Delhi's metropolitan area, has a population of less than 1 million -- making it the 54th largest city -- but has one of the highest per-capita incomes in the country.

Saavn has also revealed its most-active users. Of the ten users listed, only one is from the subcontinent. The top three Pro streamers were located in the United States while the fourth and fifth lived in Norway and India, respectively. The most-active free user lived in New York and streamed 37,107 songs. According to Malhotra, roughly half of Pro subscribers are located in India.