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With over 10.5 million active users, Dhingana capitalizes on the popularity of Bollywood music with a cloud-based service.

We’ve talked a lot about music on this blog. Music is almost a universal interest. There are now a plethora of cloud-based music services available in the United States with more starting all the time. One aspect of cloud hosted music that we haven’t examined is what music fans do who don’t live in the United States.


Senzari was one service we blogged about late last year. The company is taking advantage of the huge South American music industry that was being left untapped by big-name United States streaming music services like Pandora. In a similar move, the startup site Dhingana has launched an online music service similar to Rdio and Spotify which capitalizes on local Indian jams that other services are forgetting.

The majority of Dhingana’s library is made up of Hindi Bollywood soundtracks. Dhingana claims it has served up 100 million minutes of music per month. At last count, Spotify said it had 10 million active users (although that figure is most likely higher now) while Dhingana has over 10.5 million active users. The site sees 200,000 new users each month.

Dhingana is working on top of HTML5 and is available in app form on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia. All together, a version of the app is downloaded about 10,000 times each day with over 4.5 million monthly active users. Naturally, all of this is run from cloud servers to be available at all times to all users.

Note: By Dhingana’s own admission, its app users account for a large chunk of its traffic and use. To handle 4.5 millions app users, you would need the best app hosting available, like the app hosting from NetHosting.

The founders are brothers, Snehal and Swapnil Shinde, who left Yahoo to get going on their idea and started Dhingana in Sunnyvale, California (located in Silicon Valley). Right now the company only has twelve employees and despite being founded in Sunnyvale, operates out of Pune, India. Snehal explained that while Hollywood and the music industry are separate in the United States, “99% of music in India is part of the movies. Hence, the opportunity in India is fivefold compared to the U.S..”

Functionality on the site includes the music player in a frame that stays on every page the user navigates to. Additionally, listeners can create playlists then share them, rate songs, and sync their listening habits with their Facebook profile if they so desire. And while the focus is on India (and 60 percent of the Dhingana demographic is Indian), 40 percent of users are in the United States.

Dhingana isn’t the first company to focus on tapping the Indian music market. In 2010, Google Music first launched in India and didn’t come west until 2011. Nokia, 7digital, and Saavn have also attempted to breach the Indian music market and be successful. The hopeful prospect of Dhingana is that it has obtained global rights to stream Bollywood music from 300+ labels. Just like the industry in the United States, music licensing in India is also fractured and difficult to navigate.

To make money, the company is selling branded and premium advertising, which its hoping will make up 90 percent of its revenue. It will also offered paid subscriptions which it’s predicting will cover the last 10 percent of the services revenue.

The company’s first round of funding came from Helion and Inventus in February of 2011. The brothers have said in interviews past that the goal is to breakeven in 2014. Further goals include starting revenue efforts in earnest in Q3 of 2012, developing the site and apps in more languages (although it already covers 35 languages), and becoming the biggest legal Indian music content site on the Internet.

If you want to read more about cloud hosting and music sharing, read our blog post about Best Buy, Google, and Amazon’s cloud music services.