Rediff.com, a leading Indian portal, has launched an audio streaming service called Rediff SongBuzz. SongBuzz allows consumers to search for and play music (via streaming) online. There’s a social component as well, wherein users can discover which songs are being listened to through “WorldStream“. On my 512kbps connection, the sound quality was excellent, there was no buffering, and the switch between songs was seamless. The concept appears to be similar to songza.fm. A Rediff spokesperson said that the service is currently in testing phase, and declined to comment further. We’ll update when we have more inputs. (P.s.: thanks for the anonymous tip)
Online music streaming appears to have caught on, with Web18 (on their portal In.com) launching music streaming, and companies like Guruji.com providing access to music content via their search engine. Both, according to industry sources, have seen significant traction.
Guruji, a Sequoia Capital funded search engine has recently claimed to be number one in “Music Search” leadership in this genre, allowing users to search for music on sites like songs.pk and musicplug.in. Web18 and Rediff have licensed content.
Content & Interface
Content: At present, the amount of content available on Rediff SongBuzz appears to be limited: couldn’t find more than a few songs for Led Zeppelin or Green Day. It’s rather disappointing to search for song after song, and not find any, but since the service is currently being tested, the catalog might be limited. We would suggest that Rediff eventually include song suggestions in results, whether based on user preferences or history, or from playlists of other users.
Registration: We wonder why Rediff has chosen to force signing in (hence registration for those not on Rediff). Peers in this space, In.com and Guruji, do not require registration for access to music.
Interface: Rediff has a simple interface, with users able to create their own playlist, and also view a timeline of what other users are listening to, via WorldStream. Discovery is being facilitated better by In.com and Guruji, with access to top 10 lists, recommendations on the basis of songs being listened to, content by genre/language. As consumption of consumption of content grows on Rediff, the company will have more access to data and usage patterns, which it can use for enabling discovery of more content.
We’re not sure if banner ads will really work for a service like this, since users are likely to play music in the background and carry on with their work (as I am doing now while composing this post). One means of monetization here, like in the radio business, is to include advertisements after every few songs. Else this is just going to remain a significant cost center – with both royalty and streaming costs.
The Platform Clause
Guruji emphasizes on search in its claim since it doesn’t host or license the content: it allows consumers to connect to sites which host music content. Thus as a platform it claims not to hold any responsibility for the content, though it does appear to monetize with ads in the popup window. Under the IT Act 2008 (Amended) which was came into effect on October 27th, an intermediary is not responsible for any third party content or links made available by him, as long as he doesn’t select the content, the receiver or modify the information, and has done due diligence, and removes the information on receiving actual knowledge, or being notified by a government agency.