Music streaming app Saavn (South Asian Audio Video Network) has appointed Gaurav Wadhwa, former senior marketing consultant at PepsiCo India, as vice president of entertainment and original content.
Wadhwa will lead Saavn’s expansion into new genres via original programming. He will manage the development of new content verticals and develop the company’s sports, comedy and other channels.
“It’s not every day that you get to create a whole new category from scratch, but that’s the kind of incredible opportunity we have at Saavn,” said Wadhwa.
Wadhwa has been involved in building brands such as Red Bull, MTV, Mountain Dew and Pepsi, and curating content for them.
In July this year, the US-based Saavn LLC had raised $100 million in Series C funding from existing investor Tiger Global besides others. Saavn’s other investors Bertelsmann India Investments, Steadview Capital, Liberty Media and Mousse Partners had also participated in this round of funding.
Saavn had earlier raised $6 million in its Series A round in 2009, and $4 million in its Series B funding round.
Saavn competes with Times Internet’s Gaana, Airtel’s Wynk, Apple Music, Guvera, Rdio and Hungama. Saavn is currently available in more than 150 countries, and offers 20 million tracks in 11 languages — Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, and Bhojpuri — in India.
Earlier this year, Saavn had appointed former Google executive Mahesh Narayanan as COO. Narayanan was the founding member of Google’s direct sales operations in 2005, before joining the leadership team of mobile advertising network, AdMob.
Music apps work on a ‘Freemium’ business model. While the app is free to download, users need to pay for certain premium music, propriety tools and virtual goods. Gaana, Wynk and others offer an ad-free experience for as low as Rs 5 a day. To expand their premium offerings, these apps are bringing in more genres in their portfolio. For example, Gaana.com claims to have expanded its collection of Indian music including its regional catalogue.