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Home > Smart Living> Innovation > Five homegrown audio apps reaching out to Indians in their own languages 

Five homegrown audio apps reaching out to Indians in their own languages

From Kuku FM to Pocket FM, these audio platforms may not be targeted at the urban consumer but they have built niche audiences 

Homegrown audio first apps are targeting regional languages, local communities and colloquial subjects of interest to pique interest among audiences.
Homegrown audio first apps are targeting regional languages, local communities and colloquial subjects of interest to pique interest among audiences. (iStock)

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Another day, yet another audio-based app launch on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store. Audio is booming across the world, and India is not lagging behind in producing audio content aimed at the car-driving urban commuter listening to her favourite podcast.  

For People Like Us, audio apps mean Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and at most local music apps like such as Wynk, JioSaavn and Gaana. And yet, there is a whole host of other audio-first companies that are producing great content in English and in Indian languages that largely flies below the radar of the urban consumer in metro cities. These homegrown audio-first apps are targeting regional languages, local communities and colloquial subjects to pique interest among audiences.

Also Read: Playing it by the ear: the art of debate on audio social apps

Whether you want to stay connected to content in your mother tongue or with the ever-changing cultural and social landscape of India beyond the metros, there's no better way to absorb these impressions than consuming audio content, so here's a list of audio-first streaming apps you may not have heard of but should tune into.

1. Kuku FM

Founded in: 2018

Available on: Google Play Store and Apple App Store

Premium cost: 399/year

Kuku FM
Kuku FM

Founded by Lal Chand Bisu, Vinod Kumar Meena and Vikas Goyalback in 2018, Kuku FM is a Mumbai-based podcast and audiobooks platform. Kuku FM’s aim was to re-invent the radio in India. Four years on and they’ve crossed 1 million active paying subscribers in the country.

Kuku FM offers content across 50+ genres and in over 5 languages. Their target audience is anyone aged 6 years to over 60 years.

Kuku FM offers over 150,000 hours of content - audiobooks, book summaries, podcasts, courses and more - across various genres of fiction and non-fiction, including education, entertainment, personal finance, history and much more. Some of the major languages included in Kuku FM are Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Bengali.

Kuku FM claims that 50% of its content is exclusive to the platform. As of today, there are working with over 30,000 creators.

2. Resso

Founded in: 2020

Available on: Google Play Store, Apple App Store and Mac App Store

Premium cost: Individual plan at 99/month and a Family plan (up to 6 accounts) at 119/month

Resso
Resso

Resso was developed in-house by the TikTok team with the initial aim of offering an experience similar to Spotify. The Google Play Store description reads, “a music streaming app that lets users express themselves and connect with others through tracks they love and the ones they will soon discover”.

Resso, in short, is a “social music streaming app”. It encourages its users to share lyrics, comment and share user-generated content and also consume full-length tracks of music (though a much smaller library than the likes of Spotify and Apple Music).

Mint’s own Shephali Bhatt had written about the app that is blazing the music charts last October. User on Resso can listen to music in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi and many more languages.

Resso, for its part, has managed to escape the Chinese app ban that its sister TikTok couldn’t.

3. Pratilipi FM

Founded in: 2014

Available on: Google Play Store and Apple App Store

Premium cost: N/A

Pratilipi FM
Pratilipi FM

Pratilipi started as an online-reading writing platform where authors, content creators and others can publish in a whopping 12 languages and read original works such as stories, poetry, essays and articles. Pratilipi launched Pratilipi FM last year and has over 300,000 monthly active users.

Pratilipi FM is an app where one can listen to over 1,000+ audio stores, books and podcasts in 8 Indian languages.

Also read: A profile of Ranjeet Singh, founder of Pratilipi

4. Khabri

Founded in: 2017

Available on: Google Play Store and Apple App Store

Premium cost: N/A

Khabri
Khabri

Khabri is targeting the “next billion internet users” in the country and is one of the fastest-growing vernacular audio platforms out there. Khabri was founded by Sandeep Singh, Pulkit Sharma, and Aankit Roy.

Khabri has content in four major segments: news, knowledge, government jobs, and inspiration. It is currently focusing on helping young Indians prepare for various competitive exams that take place yearly.

The app covers local as well as international content and aggregates audio content across several categories. These include books, movies, current affairs and more.

Khabri also sells over 700-odd courses to its users.

5. Pocket FM

Founded: 2018

Available on: Google Play Store and Apple App Store

Premium cost: Freemium

Pocket FM
Pocket FM

“A personalised audio streaming service,” is what Pocket FM bills itself as. Founded by Rohan Nayak, Nishanth KS, and Prateek Dixit, Pocket FM’s vision was to “redefine the OTT space with an audio-first approach”. Pocket FM develops “a vernacular social audio platform for audiobooks and podcasts”. From authors to voice-over artists, it provides a platform for those involved in the production of audiobooks, stories, podcasts and more.

The company claims that the app has over 15 million monthly active listeners with an average of over 100 minutes spent per day. Content is offered in 8 different languages and multiple genres including horror, crime and self-help.  

The content doesn’t have a paid plan but instead has come up with the freemium model. The app offers users one free episode every 24 hours. Alternatively, they can pay in-app to unlock one or multiple episodes.

Also Read: This new audio series wants to normalise sexual pleasure

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