Saavn, a joint venture between Hungama Digital Media and 212 Media appears to have replaced Phulki, a little known but much liked Bollywood music search engine. Phulki users tweeted (this and this) a few days ago mentioned the change in name, and Pluggd.in followed up with a post on the change. We’ve written to 212Media MD Paramdeep Singh, as well as Hungama for details on what has transpired. Phulki indexes Hindi and Tamil songs, allows creation of playlists, and discovery of featured playlists (an excellent feature), search by album, movie, singer, director, year and actor.
Remember that Hungama is the exclusive licensee of content from music company T-Series, and the latter had filed a police complaint against search engine Guruji.com for copyright violation (Guruji search allowed users access to pirated music hosted on multiple websites), following which senior Guruji executes were arrested. So what is the plan: take down Guruji’s music search, and prop up Saavn’s by acquiring Phulki?
Saavn has licensed content (courtesy Hungama being a partner), so it is likely that songs streamed by them are legit, whereas Phulki was streaming content serviced by others. Note that the search incorporates videos from YouTube, and plays them in a frame; the problem is that not many of those videos being surfaced by this site are legit. There’s a case between T-Series and YouTube in the Delhi High Court as well.
Saavn’s Network Includes Smashits.com, Raaga.com
Remember Bollywood music streaming site Smashits, among the first to launch, in 1999-2000? It’s worth noting that Abhesh Verma, founder and CEO of Smashits.com is currently the CEO of Saavn Interactive. Smashits had been the subject of a lawsuit by Yash Raj Films for copyright infringement in November 2008. According to his LinkedIn profile, Verma joined Saavn in January 2009. Music being streamed on Smashits now links to an iTunes store. Another music streaming website, Raaga.com is also, according to this presentation (see slide 16) by param212 (Paramdeep Singh, MD of 212 Media?), a part of Saavn’s network.
So on the face of it, it appears that Saavn is taking into its network various music streaming websites, looking to provide access to that music through Phulki search, and monetizing through ad sales on Saavn Interactive.