Music streaming service provider Gaana which has over 60 million users, was recently in news for raising a whopping $115 million investment. With the market getting more and more competitive with Saavn, Apple Music and the newly-launched Amazon Prime Music playing the field, the Times Media-owned Gaana is trying to differentiate itself with the use of artificial intelligence for better user experience.
Analytics India Magazine spoke to Gaana CEO Prashan Agarwal about the strategic partnership with the Chinese tech giant Tencent and how it will help in innovating digital music experience and deepen Gaana’s tech capabilities. “Tencent has deep capabilities to create engaging user experiences in music and entertainment. We will benefit strongly from their initiatives in different markets and core tech capabilities which they have developed in the process,” said Agarwal.
How Gaana Staves Off Competition In The Highly-Competitive Digital Music Space
Agarwal believes that Gaana has a very strong brand presence when it comes to market leadership in the music streaming industry. Also, the Times Media-owned company has a robust content ecosystem relationship, deep understanding of Indian music and listener’s behaviour, as well as a highly capable product which is adept at identifying and solving user problems. “Both Google and Gaana have tapped into their pragmatic market experience and technological expertise to make the experience and the joy of listening at Gaana as seamless as possible by integrating with Google Home Devices. With all the ingredients in place and continued investments in strengthening each of these, we are confident of winning against emerging and existing competition,” he said.
The Gaana top brass believes that the platform has multiple differentiators, including some globally unique innovations, which pitches it them as a near-zero-friction platform and is a key driver of long term growth and continued market leadership.
We Asked Agarwal About The Use Of AI And How It Is Being Leveraged To Improve The App Experience:
- Primarily, AI helps improve experience in two ways — frictionless discovery and personalised content and engagement experiences. One of the biggest challenge for users is to rapidly find content they will love to spend time with.
- To address this pain point, our tech team created a different-Gaana-on-every-device- level of personalisation, powered by AI.
- The team is leveraging device attributes, user personas and listening history to power these experience and the personalisation initiative will be extended to all the user acquisition and engagement initiatives.
Tech Stack At Gaana
Gaana has been at the forefront of using open-source technologies and distributed systems architecture which is heavily service-oriented, said Agarwal. “We are using Undertow application container, Spring Framework, MariaDB database and Aerospike caching for backend APIs. Apache Kafka is being used in end-to-end user events aggregation system. We also heavily use Apache foundation’s Zookeeper, Flume, Hive and Hadoop in our distributed systems. For data visualisation and analysis we are using Zeppelin. Gaana’s recommendation system is proprietary and has a secret sauce that cannot be share,” he quipped.
Currently, Gaana has about 80 people in their tech team, but given how the tech landscape is shifting rapidly, the top brass believes in hiring go-getters on the team. “We believe our investment in acquiring right talent and empowering them to learn their way to deliver excellent outcomes on latest technologies works very well. Focusing on quality rather than quantity alleviates some of the impediments caused by current talent crunch,” he said, emphasising how the company tackles the talent crunch by focusing on-the-job learning.
Talking about the learning culture, Agarwal shared that the Gaana team is always buzzing with new ideas and innovations which require deep problems solving, and new skills acquisition, from both tech and product teams. “We encourage team members to go deep beyond their regular contribution areas and work-related adjacency skills in the process. Individual team members are encouraged to take role-specific online programs for continuous skill development. For hiring, we are augmenting our team in key functional areas at specific levels based on our mid-long-term growth track,” he said.
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Richa Bhatia is a seasoned journalist with six-years experience in reportage and news coverage and has had stints at Times of India and The Indian Express. She is an avid reader, mum to a feisty two-year-old and loves writing about the next-gen technology that is shaping our world.