image010MixBacardi.com

Liquor company Bacardi has set up an online music store at MixBacardi.com, powered by Hungama Digital Media Entertainment. The site has the exact same format as Hungama.com, the online music and video download store launched by Hungama in September; it’s Hungama.com with a Bacardi skin. The rest of the site:  there’s an events page with news and photos of Bacardi parties and a flavours section that showcases its drinks. Users can win tickets for the company’s dance music festival Bacardi Blast from the site and there are quizzes and contests to entertain visitors to the portal.

Pricing has not changed from Hungama.com – unlimited downloads for Rs. 99 per month,
Rs. 49 for 15 songs and Rs. 20 for 5 songs. Wallpapers, videos and songs are available for download, the library remains the same – 3 million songs.

The Bacardi Mixxology page has a ridiculous entry criteria, which has been spied on some other portals, that merely asks for a date of birth and a click on a button “I’m of legal drinking age” – not a singularly inventive way of keeping out smart teenagers. The company is planning to launch a collaborative platform for professional bartenders called Bacardi Bar League which will allow them to interact with it. It already has a gallery of photos of bartenders and a list of recipes for best cocktails.

Since Hungama’s launch, 2 other online music stores have set up shop in India: Nokia’s Music Store recently renamed as Ovi Player, Rediff launched an audio streaming service in November called Rediff SongBuzz.

AR Rahman’s Store

arrahmanstorescreenshot TopNews reports that Indian Oscar award winner and musician AR Rahman has launched an online music store too on his website. The store appears to be targeted at global fans – currencies enabled for buying songs are – Canadian Dollars, Euros, British Pounds and US Dollars, making it obvious that Rahman’s new store is not for his domestic fanbase.

The store is currently limited to 2 categories of content – soundtracks & scores and albums & compilations. There are only 4 soundtracks and 3 albums on sale. However, the site informs that it will add inventory in a few months’ time – exclusive pre-sale tickets, merchandise and DVDs will be available for purchase on the store. Payment methods include VISA, Maestro and MasterCard credit cards and Solo, prices are between $12.49 to $22.99.

This concept of creating his own store as part of his website can be viewed as more of a promotion of his CDs than a calculated effort at using the online medium.

Nikhil adds: a question that’s been on my mind for a while is whether labels will eventually die out: their primary function has been that of a distribution network, and a marketing machine for music. They have had the muscle, and the undiscovered artists haven’t. So what happens when a medium like the Internet takes care of issues of discovery and distribution, and each band or artist is a label unto himself? Platforms like YouTube, Last.fm and the recently launched Vevo become all the more powerful.

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