Leading Indian Streaming Services Saavn and JioMusic to Form Country's Biggest Music Platform
Two of India's leading digital music services, Saavn and JioMusic, have joined forces in a bid to grow their global reach and take on the giants of the streaming sector.
Under the terms of the deal, India's largest private sector company and owners of JioMusic Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) will acquire a partial stake in Saavn for $104 million, as well as invest up to $100 million to "aggressively" accelerate growth of the newly combined company, which it values at over $1 billion.
In a statement announcing the merger, Saavn said the integrated business will be developed into "a media platform of the future with global reach, cross-border original content, an independent artist marketplace, consolidated data and one of the largest mobile advertising mediums."
Founded in 2007, Saavn has grown to become one of South Asia's leading digital music streaming services, with over 22 million monthly active users and license deals in place with Universal, Sony, Warner, as well as over 900 Indian labels, including T-Series, Tips, YRF, Saregama and Eros.
As the service has grown, it has also grown its reach by producing its own music content, signing a number of predominantly South Asian acts, such as Indian rapper Naezy, to direct deals via its Artist Originals program, which launched last year. Other successes under its Artist Originals scheme include Zack Knght and Jasmin Walia's global hit single "Bom Diggy."
Following the merger with JioMusic, which is subject to final conditions, Saavn's three co-founders, Rishi Malhotra, Paramdeep Singh and Vinodh Bhat, will remain in their leadership roles and drive the integrated company forward. It is not yet clear how the joint platform will be branded, only that it will combine technologies from both services and would build on Saavn's commitment to original programming.
"Nearly 10 years ago, we had a vision to build a connected music platform, dedicated to South Asian culture across the globe," said Saavn CEO Malhotra in a statement announcing the deal. He said that the partnership with RIL "enables us to create one of the largest, fastest-growing, and most capable media platforms in the world."
"The investment and combination of our music assets with Saavn underlines our commitment to further boost the digital ecosystem and provide unlimited digital entertainment services to consumers over a strong uninterrupted network," added Akash Ambani, director, Reliance Jio.
"We are delighted to announce this partnership with Saavn, and believe that their highly experienced management team will be instrumental in expanding Jio-Saavn to an extensive user base," continued Ambani, "thereby strengthening our leadership position in the Indian streaming market."