Bollywood Music & its Rapid Industry Growth

The Bollywood music industry is one of the largest music industries in the world. With an estimated value of around fifteen billion Indian rupees in 2019, this is one of the most rapidly growing areas within the entertainment world. Bollywood music is basically Hindi Music that is featured mainly in Bollywood movies, and are “filmi” songs. Bollywood music was originally derived from the vivid and wonderful art, music, and dance cultures of India, and gave the music a vibrant feel, value, and context. Hindi music is generally popular in northern India, and plays a significant role in the Indian pop music scene, taking inspiration from various elements like the modern and classical melodies of India. So in this article, we shall dive deep into this dynamic music industry, and understand its history, evolution and growth.

1) History & Evolution of the Bollywood Music Industry

The first-ever song that was recorded in India was by Gauhar Jaan in 1902, and the first Bollywood movie “Alam Ara” (1932), was under Saregama which is India’s oldest music label owned by RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group. While Bollywood songs generally tend to use

Hindi vocabulary, languages such as Urdu have heavily influenced and been incorporated into Bollywood music. And Along with the Urdu language, Urdu poetry has also had a major impact on Bollywood music, where artists often draw the lyrics from Urdu poetry and the beautiful ghazal tradition. And along with Urdu, the Punjabi language also strongly influences Bollywood music.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the Bollywood music industry was heavily dominated by cassette tapes. The annual cassette sales in 1990 were huge with over 180 million units sold. And globally, this made the Bollywood music industry the second-largest cassette market after the U.S. By 1998, the annual earning of this industry had reached twelve billion Indian rupees. However, with technology and introduction of the internet, majority of the industry shifted towards online streaming, and it had a huge negative impact on the CD and Cassette market, making them almost obsolete.

The Indian music industry is to a great extent dominated by Indian film soundtracks, which represent almost 80% of the countries music revenue, trailed by Indi-pop. When it comes to the biggest record labels, T-Series is the country’s largest Indian record label, with a market share of around 35%, and is followed by the biggest foreign-owned label, Sony Music India, which holds a market share of around 25%, and Sony music also has a partnership with one of the largest Indian music groups, Zee Music. Coming to the online music streaming services, companies such as YouTube, Gaana, Hungama, Saavan, and Spotify dominate the streaming service industry with around 300 million users in India.

2) Charts & Recognition

Unlike other countries, the Bollywood music industry does not have or maintain official charts. Instead, companies like “The Times of India” which is one of the largest newspaper brands in India, and FM radio channels like “Radio Mirchi” both maintain charts for all the songs and music by each individual category. Both these companies are owned by The Times Group. And when it comes to album charts, the Bollywood music industry uses the sales data from iTunes and categorizes the albums. For music and songs created individually, companies like “Saavan” and “Nokia MixRadio” maintain the charts.

3) Musical Genres in the Bollywood Music Industry

Being a vibrant and dynamic country with various cultures and traditions, the Indian music industry has several musical genres, and the music changes as you go across the vast landscape of India, where each region has its own diverse kind of melodies and harmonies. There are various beautiful musical genres in India, and the general genres like Pop, Dance, Rock, and more dominate the industry. But there are some truly Indian genres that comprise and makeup the Bollywood music industry. Some of them are the following –

Bhajan – Bhajan is a musical genre that is focused on devotional and worship music, and it encompasses “Filmi devotional songs”, worship music, and music that is focused on prayer and worship.

Qawwali – Qawwali is a musical genre that comprises of a distinct type of film music that is generally focused toward the romantic side and is fused with the Urdu language. It represents a form of Sufi music and takes inspiration from the heritage and traditions of India.

Ghazal – Ghazal music is a beautiful musical genre that takes influence from the tradition of Urdu poetry, infusing it into the lyrics and creating deep and soulful music. Ghazal music was one of the first musical genres in Bollywood music, which was often featured in Bollywood movies.

4) Components of The Bollywood Music Industry

The Bollywood music industry is a vast and dynamic place with an ever-growing population of music artists and listeners. This is a rapidly growing industry with several areas, but the three main components of this industry can be categorized as – the live music industry, recording industry, and the publishing industry. With an estimated value of around $443 million, it is a rapidly evolving industry with various amazing opportunities for growth and development. Here are the three main segments of the Bollywood music industry:

1. Live Industry – The live music industry is one of the largest components of the Bollywood music industry, with revenues reaching up to the $280 million mark. With a population of more than 1.3 billion people, India has millions of music lovers that make up the live music audience.

2. Recording Industry – The recording industry of the Bollywood music industry is made up of various segments, however, the film music or music used in Bollywood movies make up around 80% of this industry. With revenues around the $150 million mark, it is an evolving and fast-growing industry.

3. Publishing Industry – The publishing sector in India is relatively new and has been developing in the past few years. As the majority of music that is published is under the banner of movies and producers control and receives the revenues, leaving very little room for songwriters and music creators.

Rise of Digital Streaming Services

The Bollywood music industry has seen the rise of digital streaming services in the past few years and the streaming market has seen tremendous competition. With the major domestic players like Gaana, Jio Saavan, Hungama and Wynk, there is cut-throat competition in the streaming sector. And with a huge population, India has more than 90% of its population listening to music on digital streaming platforms. This has created a huge market for music streaming companies. The biggest players in this industry are Gaana and Jio Saavan, which was earlier called Saavan. After its merger with the telecom giant company Jio, it was renamed Jio Saavan.

Along with domestic music streaming services, India also has foreign music streaming brands like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. And lately, these music streaming services have been offering great services to their users and thus taking up a big chunk of the audience. With all these companies catering to the audience for online music streaming, India offers huge potential for further growth and development. Along with these music streaming services, India’s favorite music video streaming platform is YouTube. And the record label T-Series has the most subscribed YouTube Channel in the world, with over 161 million subscribers. Being one of the largest growing economies in the world, India offers great potential for companies that offer digital music streaming and entertainment content.


The Bollywood music industry is one of the largest music industries in the world, and with rapid growth and development, it offers several wonderful opportunities. With annual revenues of around 15 billion Indian rupees, this industry offers great potential to businesses, record labels, music streaming companies, and many more participants. Filled with vibrant and dynamic melodies, the Bollywood music industry has some of the most talented artists in the world. 

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