(By Preethi J & Nikhil Pahwa)

logo-saregamaIndian music label Saregama from the RPG group will be re-launching its website (which has been under construction since October 2008) to offer music downloads and subscriptions. Business Standard reports the website will be launched in October this year and will host over two million songs. Interestingly, Saregama VP Atul Churamani is quoted saying they are yet to work out the exact revenue model.

Revenue Model?

Is there a different approach from the pay-per-song model that they had previously? Hark back to 2006 when the company first launched music downloads for Rs. 12 per song. Saregama has previously experimented with prepaid ‘Mobitunes’ cards as well. The pay-per-song model hasn’t really worked online in India – Saregama itself shut down its Music store; Motorola also has shut Soundbuzz, and with it it’s online store.

In contrast, subscription based models appear to be emerging: Nokia is likely to offer an all-you-can-eat model, possibly bundled along with its Xpressmusic handsets. Hungama is offering music downloads via subscription with BSNL, and independently.

But Should Saregama Launch A Store?

Saregama provides music content to Nokia’s Music Store, which has a wider variety with its tie ups with other record labels- Universal Music, Sony BMG, T-Series, Yash Raj Films etc. So Saregama will have to look at this from  a consumers perspective – why would she go to each record label’s storefront when there are other stores offering a wider variety of songs? Saregama will have to launch an independent music store if it really wants to compete. Question is, will competing labels sign up? That’s unlikely.

Also read: Airtel versus Saregama – on which is the largest music company in India.

One area where Saregama can perhaps win over consumers, is with a DRM free store. Both Nokia and Hungama stores have music protected by Microsoft DRM, which limits the number of devices the music can be transferred to. We’re not sure if MP3 players are restricted by this DRM, but if the music isn’t portable, then it’s likely to be pirated.

Saregama is also planning to offer consumers storage devices such as SD cards and pen drives with music, to counter music pirates who offer consumers the same flexilibility.


— Nokia Music Store Goes Live In India: DRM Bound But Portable Music; Redeemable Coupons
— FY09: Saregama Reports Rs. 81.4 Million Loss; Music Biz Improves In Q4
— BSNL & Hungama Launch Broadband Content Service: Music @Rs. 149/Month