Dhingana raises $7M to spread Bollywood love

Mobile music service wants to service the India population

Financial trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
October 25, 2012
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Dhingana, a five-year-old mobile music service, announced Thursday that it's raised $7 million in a Series B round of funding, led by Lightspeed Vetnure Partners, with the participation from its Series A investors, Inventus Captial Partners and Helion Venture Partners. 

The company boasts having 15 million monthly active visitors around the world, with 60% in India, making it the largest streaming and on-demand music service focused on Bollywood and Indian music. 

Dhingana is similar to Spotify and Pandora, in that it offers personalized music playlists, like Pandora, as well as an ability to create playlists with any song, like Spotify. But Dhingana is focused only on Indian music. 

Why focus on just this one genre? Arguably, the audience that likes this kind of music is a pretty big market in and of itself. There's one billion people in India, and million more Indians around the world, said John Dougery, Managing Director, Inventus Capital Partners, who's on the board of Dhingana. 

Dhingana has a music library of 500,000 and can be accessed in 35 Indian languages, plus English. 

Today, the company is not charging, though there are plans to offer subscription and advertising at some point. Spotify is big in Europe, and has shown that subscription works there, whereas in the US, Pandora has shown that advertising works here, said Dougery. To that end, Dhingana, plans to test the market with a little bit of both. But based on the Indian consumer, it sounds like advertising may be the way to go.

"The Indian consumer is very different [than the US consumer]," said Dougery. "They're more price sensitive and they're not used to paying for things we pay for."

Dhingana is targeting the 40% of the 800 million cell phone owners who have data plans.