In the wake of TikTok being banned in India, several short format video apps have struggled for dominance in the country’s dense mobile-first market. MX TakaTak, Josh, and Lasso are among the most popular apps in this category, with each offering its own unique set of features. While all of them offer a great experience for users, Josh has emerged from the pack. With a mix of strategic music licensing partnerships and technological innovations, Josh has pulled away from the pack.
VerSe Innovation, the parent company of Josh is a made-in-India short-video app launched in August 2020. The platform boasts India’s top 1000-plus creators, 20,000 strong managed community of creators, the 10 biggest music labels, 15 million-plus UGC creators, best-in-class content creation tools, the hottest entertainment formats and formidable user demographics. Josh has also been consistently rated as the leading Indian short-video app in India on the Play Store with over 100 million downloads, and it is currently the fastest growing and most engaged short-video app in India with 115+ million MAUs (Monthly Active Users) and 56+ million DAUs (Daily Active Users).
Launched in its beta phase on July 4, 2020, Josh has been one of the most significant gainers after India banned TikTok, along with 58 other Chinese apps in the wake of political friction. The app has since garnered more than 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store. Partnered with music labels such as T-Series, Sony, Zee Music, and Divo Music, Josh was able to attain 50 million downloads within the last 45 days of its beta phase. With 5 million independent content creators, Josh has nurtured strong relationships with 200 original content providers on its platform.
Catering to the many languages of the region has been one of the key aspects of Josh’s success. The app claims to offer more than 1 million new content pieces every day in 14 languages. The content on Josh is licensed and sourced from over 50,000 content partners and a deep pool of individual creators. The company’s mission is to be “The Indic platform empowering a billion Indians to discover, consume, and socialize with content that informs, enriches, and entertains.”
Josh has been able to acquire licensing deals with several companies that not only host the largest music libraries but also provide region-specific music in various languages. Recently, Josh announced its partnership with SVF, eastern India’s leading media and entertainment production and distribution company. SVF’s content mainly consists of Bengali film, television and OTT content from Bangla language content and creators specifically from eastern India. SVF Music, including songs from Bengali movies and web series to singles from popular artists both from India and Bangladesh.
Another giant, Saregama holds an extensive catalog spanning genres like film/non-film songs, devotional music, ghazals, and Indie-Pop in more than 25 languages. As part of this deal, Saregama licenses its entire catalog to Josh allowing users to create content inspired by its robust music library in diverse Indian languages like Hindi, Bhojpuri, Bengali, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, and Gujarati, amongst many others, it added.
During the race to replace TikTok in 2020, T series, one of the larger music licensing companies in India filed suits against many of the rising short-video apps. This action prompted Josh to partner with ACRCloud, an automatic content recognition technology to manage musical content uploaded or shared by creators on its video platform.
ACRCloud provides proprietary automatic audio identification. Specialized in digital fingerprinting technology, its automatic content recognition engine accurately identifies musical content by automatically scanning each piece of audio or video uploaded or added to videos, and matching their acoustic fingerprints against a cloud-based database of registered musical works. Not only can ACRCloud’s recognition engine identify the original version of a song, but also cover versions.
ACRCloud has built one of the largest databases of the fingerprinted copyrighted music through partnerships with major global record labels, publishers and distributors, and other copyright owners or managers from around the world.
Josh has also partnered with D-ID, a global leader in AI video reenactment technology. Using its proprietary Live Portrait technology, D-ID has developed a photo transformation feature specifically for Josh’s users to be able to create videos from still photos, add music, and then share those videos with their followers on the app. D-ID uses AI and Deep Learning to develop reenactment-based products, ranging from animating still photos, to developing high-quality video production.
As the music streaming and short-video app market continues to expand within the region, Josh has emerged as the clear-cut leader. Strategically paired with the news aggregator app Dailyhunt, VerSe has created a juggernaut media conglomerate capable of raising USD 2 billion in its latest funding round. With its snackable and informative content, VerSe has made considerable progress in smaller Indian cities and towns that were previously thought to be non-monetizable. Amid rumors of possible TikTok bans in several countries, Josh and VerSe have successfully set themselves up to fill the void left by the Chinese app in India and beyond. With successful funding rounds amassing new capital, along with its existing reserves and a strong position within the market Josh has a clear path toward the future.