Lightspeed Ventures backed music streaming service Dhingana has launched a mobile web version, allowing users to stream music on their mobile devices. The company already offers a web app and native apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows 8, and through this release, it is looking to reach out to the feature phone segment, which is quite significant in India.
Features: Similar to its mobile apps, the mobile site will allow users to stream music from various genres like Bollywood and regional music among others and access existing playlists present on the website. The only major difference is that that users will not be able to create playlists through the mobile web version, which is expected to arrive later this quarter. The company claims to have a library of 0.5 million songs across 38 Indian languages and genres.
When we checked, we noticed that the site offers a mobile-optimized version of its web app and allows one to search for their preferred song through a keyword based search box or browse through different sections on the website like top songs, new releases, and top playlists among others. (We tried it on Nexus 4 running on Android 4.2)
What’s interesting though is that the site offers a 1-click song streaming on the portal i.e. when one clicks on any specific song, it automatically pops down a player on the top of the mobile site and starts streaming the song, instead of redirecting users to a separate page.
Note that Dhingana’s competitors Saavn* and Gaana already offer J2ME apps. Saavn had launched its J2ME app last August while Gaana had launched its J2ME app earlier in the month. However, both these apps were limited to select devices. While Saavn’s mobile app was compatible with select features phones like Nokia 2700 Classic, Nokia 5130, Nokia C1-01, Nokia X2-01, Nokia 3110c, Nokia 2690, Nokia C3-00, Nokia C2-01, Nokia 5300 Xpress Music, and Samsung Corby, Gaana’s mobile apps is compatible with only Nokia S40 phones (6th edition and above) and Samsung feature phones.
On Choosing Mobile Web Over J2ME: Speaking with Medianama, Dhingana Co-Founder & COO Swapnil Shinde said that they decided to develop a mobile web version instead of a J2ME app to avoid this fragmentation and allow any Internet-enabled phone to access the service. However, Shinde noted that this approach posed its own set of challenges on the streaming front.
On Adaptive Streaming: When asked how viable is the service in India where users are bound by low mobile Internet speeds, Shinde said that Dhingana has extended its adaptive streaming algorithm to the mobile web version, which streams the music based on the available connection speed. Dhingana had introduced dynamic adaptive streaming for its iOS apps in July 2012, which featured auto-adjusting quality control, thereby allowing users to stream music continuously on slower or fluctuating Internet connections. The company had later extended this technology to its Android, Nokia and Blackberry apps.
Monetization: Shinde told that they would be monetizing this web portal on similar lines as its web and mobile apps through branded ads and other ad formats. In addition to this, Shinde mentioned that they are also considering tie-ups with telcos to offer a subscription service, although he didn’t reveal any specific details on how these subscriptions services will work.
Dhingana had launched its ad platform in August 2012, allowing brands to buy ads on its portal. The company had said that it is targeting advertisers such as movie production studios, music labels, independent musicians, telecom operators, and brands and through his ad platform, advertisers will be able to target their ads based on various parameters like music genre, geo-location, audience demographics and platforms. At the same time, Dhingana had also announced that ex-Googler Gokul Rajaram, who was previously the product management director for Adsense and is currently serving as Facebook’s Product director for Ads, has joined its advisory board.
Earlier this month, Dhingana had also inked a two year advertising deal with Universal Music, following a two week pilot, which saw the release and promotion of three digital-only singles: Priyanka Chopra’s single “In My City,” and one each from Colonial Cousins, and Sonu Nigam’s collaboration with Avicii. An AdWeek report suggests that Universal Music got a 6 percent click-through rate, with 250,000 song listens, 500,000 ad impressions and 1 million push notifications to smartphone/tablet users through this two week pilot.
App Downloads: As an aside, Dhingana also announced that it has clocked 3.5 million app downloads across all mobile platforms, although the company hasn’t disclosed any specific break-up between these mobile platforms.
In October last year, Dhingana has raised $7 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Inventus Capital Partners and Helion Venture Partners and claimed to have 15 million monthly active visitors globally.
*Disclosure: Saavn is an advertiser with MediaNama