| 22 Mar 2023
WiMP MD and former CEO of Dhingana Rohit Bhatia believes in paid-model for music services

MUMBAI: After the merger and acquisition of Dhingana, the company’s former CEO Rohit Bhatia moved to join WiMP music as MD, Asia and Middle East.

He joined WiMP music last year with a new responsibility of expanding WiMP Music and Tidal to new areas. Bhatia said, "WiMP and Tidal are in Europe and North America. We intend to grow in new geographies of Asia and Middle-East. I am handling this territory, which is diverse and large. My strategy is to establish our footprint in key markets of Asia and the Middle-East." WiMP is known for two of its services- one is a premium service like other streaming services and the other is the lossless music streaming-Tidal (which is a super-premium service).

Tidal is the first high fidelity lossless music streaming service with HD music videos and curated editorial. It is available in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Finland, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Without divulging into details of expansion, Bhatia stated, "In the Middle-East, there are countries like UAE, Kuwait and Qatar, which are cash-rich and consumers appreciate high-end products. In Asia, there are countries like Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, where there is a demand and willingness to pay for music."

India, however, will not be on WiMP’s radar. Bhatia said, "For now we do not plan to launch in India because the freemium-model is overplayed."

Taking the conversation ahead to the freemium-model in India, Bhatia expressed his dissatisfaction, he said, "There is a cost involved in content acquisition, streaming, editorial and marketing. Is it fair for anybody to give away music for free? If the music industry suffers immense loss due to piracy, then why give away music for free in another way." This is one reason why he championed the paid subscription model in collaboration with mobile operators during his tenure with Dhingana. "Within few months of its launch it was proven that there were consumers willing to pay for listening to good quality from the vast repertoire,"he added.

Bhatia joined WiMP music because he believes in the paid-model even though he received offers from various other international streaming services. He added, "I loved WiMP’s business model and joined them because we only have paid subscription services. We offer a premium service and have recently introduced a super-Premium service, called Tidal."

Prior to joining Dhingana, Bhatia was at Ericsson as OSS/ BSS practice leader. With over 25 years of experience, he has also worked at Seamless, ACL Wireless, SmartTrust AB and Bharti Airtel.

The two services-WiMP and Tidal, are operated by Aspiro, the Scandinavian company, which will soon be acquired by Jay-Z indirectly. The bid was made by Project Panther, indirectly owned by the rapper's company S. Carter Enterprises, for $56 million.