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A Look At Spotify India’s Most Popular Indie Artists Right Now

Trends show how established and rising artists have fared since the streaming giant’s launch in India in February last year

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Anurag Tagat Jul 07, 2020

New Delhi singer-songwriter Sanjeeta Bhattacharya. Photo: Pritiza Barua

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If Spotify India’s streaming trends are anything to go by, the country’s non-film music listening audience is one that likely prefers polished, electronic-informed Hindi and English pop.

According to data culled in the last two weeks, the “most popular indie artists” on Spotify India are producer-singer Ritviz (whose May 2020 release “Thandi Hawa” has nearly three million streams), singer-songwriter Raghav Meattle (releasing “City Life” and gaining 200,000 listens) and Arunachalese singer-songwriter Taba Chake, still going strong with over 160,000 monthly listeners for his 2019 album Bombay Dreams and specifically songs like “Aao Chalein.”

Amongst the more surprising inclusions are electronic-fusion singer-producer Kanishk Seth, whose song “Rangi Saari” is nearing 300,000 plays. But also on the list is Chennai/Mumbai pop artist Mali aka Maalavika Manoj, supported by Spotify’s global RADAR program that’s pushed her 2020 single “Age of Limbo” past 100,000 streams.

Launched earlier this year, the RADAR program has also extended to include Chake as well as Kerala folk-indie group When Chai Met Toast. With a new single “Maybe I Can Fly” from their upcoming album When We Feel Young due out on July 10th, the band is likely to break new ground with nearly 100,000 followers. New Delhi singer-songwriter Sanjeeta Bhattacharya is the latest addition to Spotify’s RADAR list, with her new song “Everything’s Fine?” — released in June — steadily climbing up past 40,000 streams.

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In terms of listening habits, stats show that the Indie India playlist — with 80,000 followers and currently featuring about a 100 songs — is amongst the most popular for non-film listenership. This is followed by playlists such as Rap 91 (66,000+ followers), Chai & Acoustic (39,000+ followers) and others.

Launching in India after a long wait in February 2019, data given to Rolling Stone India shows the growth curve of several influential artists in indie. Mumbai rapper DIVINE, for example, went from 15, 600 followers before the launch of Spotify to a jumpstart of 62,000 followers on the day of Spotify India’s arrival. Currently, the star has over 1.4 million followers. Although more popular on YouTube, the rapper’s supposed adversary Emiway Bantai (their beef now ended), stands at over 743,000 followers.

The only other star who can claim a following in the millions as of now is EDM DI-producer Nucleya, who may not have a 2020 release just yet but clearly capitalized on the launch of his 2019 record Tota Myna, going from 37,500 followers before Spotify’s India launch to 112,500 followers and now at 1.17 million followers.

While hip-hop and electronic music might seem like dominant forces in India, New Delhi band The Local Train are keeping the rock flag flying high, going from 49,000 followers on the day of the app launch to over 470,000 followers as on date. Indie favorite Prateek Kuhad is slowly building up to 250,000 followers (from about 21,000 followers before Spotify launched in the country), while the likes of Zaeden, Dhruv Visvanath, Raghav Chaitanya, Anuv Jain and more amongst the more increasingly heard names in Indian non-film music.

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