Interview of the Week – Jyoti Handa, Executive VP; MD, Moodagent India

The Indian music consumer is spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting their music streaming service. With home grown platforms like JioSaavnGaana, Wynk, and Hungama and five international apps namely, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, Spotify, YouTube Music and Resso the market may seem overcrowded.

What differs among them is the quality of music discoverability, user experience on desktop and mobile apps, as well as sound quality.

The latest entrant in the Indian music streaming market is the Denamrk based app, Moodagent. Founded by music enthusiasts Peter Berg Steffensen and Mikael Henderson in 2020, the company has its offices in Berlin, Sydney, Delhi, and Mumbai, with the goal of being present in 25+ countries by the end of 2023.

The app launched in India with the promise of a dynamic and intuitive personalised listening experience.

As explained by the company’s CMO, George Howard,

“What makes Moodagent different is our values. Moodagent not only exposes listeners to artists who will become their new favorites, but – importantly – we expose artists to new listeners. We understand that we exist only because of the great art that these musicians create, and feel it is our duty and honor to help them create a meaningful connection with an ever-increasing number of new fans.”

In our Interview of the Week, we spoke to Jyoti Handa, Executive Vice President & Managing Director, Moodagent India to know about the app, why do they term technology as the app’s hero, localisation strategies, and more.

Moodagent’s entry into the Indian music streaming market has been in talks since a long time. Were you apprehensive to launch during the pandemic?

India is on its way to becoming one of the world’s leading music markets. We definitely see the launch of Moodagent further fortifying that positioning. The pandemic has redefined the music experience for users across categories. From the avid listeners to those who tuned in only a couple of hours a week, individuals found themselves increasing their consumption of music. Music transformed into a shared experience that transcended physical distance. With its unique music experience, Moodagent is well poised to revolutionize the music industry, from creating personalized playlists with a single tap to organically discovering new songs and artists, users will enjoy an unparallel music experience one tune at a time.

The Indian music streaming market is highly competitive with a number of local and international players in operation. How do you foresee Moodagent’s performance?

In India, music is much more than a pastime; it’s a way to both express and make sense of your feelings – from the mundane to the extraordinary. And it means something different to everyone. Moodagent understands that and with its patented core technology that combines artificial intelligence with in-depth music analysis, it gives listeners the ability to automatically create highly personalized and interactive playlists. The app also intuitively adjusts these playlists to match the individual moods of the users, even as those change in real time. We are confident to create a niche with the highly customized and intuitive listening experience offered by the app. Our hero is the technology that truly sets us apart and is a game changer for the music industry. It will transform uptake of new and old content and encourage discovery of new artists through the app. We know we are here for the long haul as we redefine the way India grooves to it various moods.

At what price point are you keeping the premium experience of Moodagent considering India is a highly price-conscious market?

At Moodagent we offer a premium experience to our consumers at Rs. 119/- per month with a free trial of 15 days followed by a monthly subscription. Exclusive experiences come with a premium, we are offering our consumers a game changing music experience. Moodagent hands over the controls to the listener, while serving their moods and grooves to build a customized experience. With Moodagent the exciting act of music discovery doesn’t feel intimidating or like a chore. Instead it empowers listeners to discover new artists as well as inspire others through sharing.

Technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) has played a prominent role in helping the streaming platforms understand its subscriber’s preference. How is Moodagent going to explore it? What exclusive Avant-garde features has the app incorporated?

Where other streaming services offer personal recommendations based on prior listening, editorial selections or the current charts, Moodagent approaches listening differently. Moodagent’s patented technology combines machine learning, audio analysis and tens of thousands of hours of human musicology. By analyzing key characteristics in songs, including emotions, moods, genres, instruments, vocal styles, and more, Moodagent is able to understand music and curate personal experiences for its users.

The consumer simply selects a seed track that reflects his or her mood and the patented AI technology creates a dynamic and personalized playlist or “Moodagent”. If a playlist is not quite right for the moment, users can adjust a set of moodsliders – Sensual, Tender, Happy, Angry, Tempo – and watch as their playlist instantly adapts. The app also offers the option to add 2 ‘flavours’ that could be songs or artists, to further personalise the list. This is one app that understands, appreciates and encourages your distinct music preferences. Both Metallica and Celine Dion, can create that same happy vibe for a listener. When the two are added as flavours, the app won’t simply create a dynamic playlist that features those artists but even introduce the listener to his or her next favourite song or artist.

How do you plan to make Moodagent the ‘go to’ app considering the wide Indian music consumption landscape?

While the world is shifting towards customization of specific genres and playlists, Modagent is an app which literally lets the user decide what the next track should be by simply articulating his or her mood through a seed track! It enables easier navigation of a rather daunting music universe. It gives listeners an opportunity to discover new songs, artists and maybe even genres that they would not have proactively accessed. The app intuitively aligns new tracks with the users existing mood to elevate the entire music experience. 

Moodagent is recreating what albums used to provide, an order, the right tracks in the right sequence, but presented in a way that matches the mood of the listener while giving them complete control. At Moodagent we believe that music, the music experience should be seamless and not feel like a chore with the listener forced to proactively discover what the next song on his or her playlist should be.

How are localising the content to suit the subscriber’s preferences?

That’s the beauty of music – it’s a universal language that transcends barriers such as dialects through heart thumping beats and grooving rhythms. We aim to bring the best and latest in international music to the discerning Indian audience. 

While our target audience is anyone who enjoys music, we understand that millennials are consuming international music more than ever. We cater to an audience that appreciates music and is not afraid to let their moods set the tone and the tempo for their own private concert. We believe there is a large audience out there seeking an opportunity to not simply groove to the popular chartbusters but also discover new artist and songs in an intuitive and exciting format.

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