Not too long ago, we mentioned India as a dark horse to become a monster music market. It is really happening.
Now, 8 months later, the 3 largest local platforms are displaying streaming counts of all songs and figures are amazing already.
We did the job for you, collecting streams from all these platforms as well as from Spotify India to complete the list of the most streamed international hits in India!
The music streaming market of India
I’ll not put links in this section, mainly because you will find a lot of articles online posting very contradictory numbers on this subject.
Most of them quote this Deloitte study, which claimed 150 monthly active users (MAU) in India as of December 2018.
In April 2019, Gaana claimed 100 million MAU, a few days later, their main rival JioSaavn did the same.
This last claim is dubious to say the least, likely a mixture of non-Indian users plus a confusion of created accounts against active users.
If in western countries the number of users and the number of monthly active users do not differ much, it’s mostly due to the unlimited internet access they enjoy.
In India, there is still large restrictions. Only a third of the population has a smartphone, and when they have, they won’t always access internet unlimited nor everywhere.
That concludes on a larger share of users who download the app without using it afterwards.
The next two big platforms in the country are Wynk Music and Hungama Music. Both claim around 50 million MAU, both claims to be taken with a pinch of salt, too.
Then there is YouTube Music and Spotify. The latter gained quickly 1 then 2 million users in its first month.
Since then, numbers of streams from Spotifycharts have been multiplied by more than 2 which suggests from 4 to 5 million MAU at the moment.
As for YouTube Music, the app was quickly downloaded 3 million times, a tally that increased to over 15 million.
A lot of numbers, many quite dubious, what’s safe to say is that Indian is currently exploding and that Gaana and JioSaavn are dominant actors.
Apart from the market size, a key factor is the distribution of streams. Historically, the Indian music market is massively fueled by the Bollywood industry.
It was visible on streaming platforms too with Hindi music getting 90% of the pie, most of which thanks to soundtracks.
As streaming opens a door to much more music, the public is fast expanding its listening habits.
Regional music went from less than 10% to 25% of the market in a pair of years.
Foreign music is booming as well. In fact, since 2017, it went from 2% to 10% of the countries’ overall streams.
Hence the interest in looking at the most streamed international hits in India.
The top international songs by platform
In recent times, Gaana, JioSaavn and Hungama all started to display play counts on their desktop or mobile apps.
We went through these numbers to present results to you. It takes quite a lot of time, requires a few VPNs as well, but results are fascinating.
The raw numbers printed in these apps have limitations. While they don’t impact the big picture, it’s our job to clearly explain the data we are sharing.
Most streamed songs on Gaana
It’s worth noting that the streaming numbers on Gaana is similar to a certification level.
Indeed, play counts are displayed using specific milestones. They show which songs are over 100k, 500k, 1-2-3-4-5m, and then there is one plateau every 5 million more.
This means that a song with 9 million streams will show the same indication as a song with 6 million streams, which is 5m+.
Different versions of the same song will have different play counts too, so this multiplies this effect.
An extreme example is Lil Nas X who records 11 million cumulative streams, most of which for Old Town Road, but the song only shows 6.2 million streams: 5m+, 500k+, 500k+, 100k+ and 100k+ for its 5 versions.
This mechanic isn’t that much relevant for truly big hits which are in the tens of millions range, so a round down every 5 million is still close to the reality.
So, which international songs have been doing the best there? Here’s the top 10.
1. Luis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee, Justin Bieber – Despacito – 139,300,000
2. Ed Sheeran – Shape Of You – 130,200,000
3. DJ Snake feat. Justin Bieber – Let Me Love You – 121,800,000
4. The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey – Closer – 81,400,000
5. DJ Snake feat. Selena Gomez, Ozuna, Cardi B – Taki Taki – 80,000,000
6. Sia feat. Sean Paul – Cheap Thrills – 68,700,000
7. Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B – Girls Like You – 60,500,000
8. Charlie Puth – Attention – 57,200,000
9. Shawn Mendes feat. Camila Cabello – Señorita – 55,000,000
10. Alan Walker feat. Sabrina Carpenter & Farruko – On My Way – 50,100,000
Most streamed songs on JioSaavn
Their display rules are closer to what we know on Spotify with exact play counts shown for every song.
1. Ed Sheeran – Shape Of You – 90,181,000
2. The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey – Closer – 83,040,000
3. DJ Snake feat. Justin Bieber – Let Me Love You – 75,236,000
4. Sia feat. Sean Paul – Cheap Thrills – 73,186,000
5. Alan Walker – Faded – 72,653,000
6. Charlie Puth – Attention – 58,725,000
7. DJ Snake feat. Selena Gomez, Ozuna, Cardi B – Taki Taki – 50,526,000
8. The Chainsmokers & Daya – Don’t Let Me Down – 48,393,000
9. Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do – 45,409,000
10. The Chainsmokers & Coldplay – Something Just Like This – 45,214,000
Most streamed songs on Hungama
The situation in Hungama is in-between the remaining two platforms. They display exact counts but they round them depending on their level.
A song with 555 streams will show 555. A song over 1k will be rounded down to the thousand.
Once a song reaches 1 million, it’s rounded down to 0.1 million. From 10 million, numbers are rounded down every million.
1. Ed Sheeran – Shape Of You – 28,563,000
2. Luis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee, Justin Bieber – Despacito – 26,783,000
3. Alan Walker – Faded – 19,309,000
4. DJ Snake feat. Selena Gomez, Ozuna, Cardi B – Taki Taki – 18,273,000
5. Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B – Girls Like You – 17,280,000
6. The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey – Closer – 15,241,000
7. DJ Snake feat. Justin Bieber – Let Me Love You – 14,139,000
8. Camila Cabello feat. Young Thug – Havana – 12,381,000
9. Charlie Puth – Attention – 12,000,000
10. Sia feat. Sean Paul – Cheap Thrills – 11,624,000
Most streamed songs on Spotify
We can’t know how many streams come from a specific country on Spotify. Their daily charts are available though and Kworb does an amazing job merging them together.
The list thus focuses on streams from songs which made the daily top 200 chart.
Since Spotify started less than 1 year ago there, few streams are missing. Recent songs have been continuously charting while others have no stream because of the rights holders conflict with Warner Music.
Catalog hits which continue to be streamed off the radar will have their numbers missing or incomplete, although here too it doesn’t alter the big picture.
1. Shawn Mendes feat. Camila Cabello – Señorita – 22,803,000
2. Lil Nas X – Old Town Road – 12,565,000
3. Post Malone feat. Swae Lee – Sunflower – 10,418,000
4. Billie Eilish – Bad Guy – 10,065,000
5. Alan Walker feat. Sabrina Carpenter & Farruko – On My Way – 9,432,000
6. Maroon 5 – Memories – 8,006,000
7. Jonas Brothers – Sucker – 7,926,000
8. Post Malone feat. Young Thug – Goodbyes – 7,329,000
9. Halsey – Without Me – 7,188,000
10. Ariana Grande – 7 Rings – 6,996,000
Most streamed international hits in India
Now that we went through the top 10 songs on each platform, what happens when we combine them all?
Please notice these numbers with a leader at 249 million streams, which goes on to show how huge the Indian market is getting.