Indian Streaming Service JioSaavn’s Co-Founders to Step Down From Exec Roles

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MUMBAI — The three co-founders of Indian music streaming service JioSaavn — including CEO Rishi Malhotra, president Vinodh Bhat and executive vice chairman Paramdeep Singh — will be stepping down from their executive positions shortly, Billboard has learned.

Three sources familiar with the matter say differences of vision with executives brought in by parent company Jio — which merged with Saavn in 2018 — were among the factors that contributed to the co-founders’ decision to decrease their involvement in the day-to-day operations. Malhotra, Bhat and Singh will each retain their seats on the board of directors, the sources say.

The co-founders announced the news earlier this week in a virtual meeting with over 30 senior staff members during which they were informed of an imminent transition in leadership.

The recent hiring of Khushboo Yadav as vice president of Jio Entertainment Services in charge of profit and loss at JioSaavn, JioTV and JioCinema, is believed to have triggered the development. According to one person close to the company, Yadav, who has taken over JioSaavn’s licensing negotiations with labels, is said to have an “aggressive” working style that is at odds with the prevailing culture at the streaming service.

Saavn was founded in 2007 as a business-to-business company that distributed Indian music to international streaming platforms, before it pivoted into a streaming platform in 2010. Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries acquired the DSP in 2018 and merged it with it JioMusic, the audio streaming service run by its telecom Jio.

At the time of the deal, the merged entity, JioSaavn, was valued at $1 billion. With around 150 million Monthly Active Users, JioSaavn is among India’s leading music services. The overhaul in its leadership follows a similar shuffle at main rival Gaana, whose long-term CEO Prashan Agarwal quit in March this year. His replacement, Sandeep Lodha joined the platform in August.

 
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