Digital entertainment business Hungama.com has launched a music and video streaming mobile app, which allows users to stream songs or videos from various genres like Bollywood, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Punjabi, Devotional, Regional music and International music among others.
At launch, the app claims to offer a music library of more than 2 million songs and is available for free on iOS, Android and BlackBerry 10 platforms. Interestingly, the app claims to be the only music streaming app which offers video streaming, but contrary to its claims, California based Zyngl had launched a music and video streaming app in January 2013.
Homescreen: We tried it on Nexus 4 running on Android 4.2.2 and noticed that the app currently features four sections – Latest, Top, Recommended and My Stream.
As the name suggests, the Latest and the Top sections allows one to browse the latest and top ranked music on that service. Recommended section currently offers various songs recommendations. While the song recommendations were quite random at the time of writing this article, we believe that the song recommendations will hopefully improve with the usage.
The My Stream section seems to allow users to invite their friends via email, Facebook and Twitter, browse through their friend recommendations and share tracks/playlists with their friends. However, we weren’t able to access the section, since we got an error ‘No Internet Connection’ at the time of writing this article, in spite of having a working Internet connection.
Thumbnail-based Approach: Interestingly, we noticed that the app takes a thumbnail based approach to feature various songs and playlists available on the service, and approach different from other music streaming apps like Dhingana, Gaana* or Saavn*.
One can also long tap on any of the thumbnails to stream that particular song or playlist, adding them to the song queue and browsing through additional information about that song or playlist. We also noticed that the app allows one to select their preferred music genre or language to view songs and playlists from only that specific genre/language on the homescreen.
Music Player: The app also features a mini music player at the bottom of the screen, which can swiped up to open a full blown music player with all the regular controls like Play, Forward, Shuffle, Repeat and other features like adding the song to playlist or sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, Email and SMS. The player also offers two different modes – Sleep mode and Gym mode. Sleep mode allows users to set a specific time period following which the app stops playing songs while the gym mode removes all the player controls and allows one to swipe to the next song in the queue.
Payment integration: One thing worth mentioning is the ability to purchase and download the song we were currently listening to, directly from the player. One can register for a Hungama account through their Facebook, Google or Twitter credentials, following which the service offers two different payment options – Single Track Download (Rs 10), 4 Track Downloads (Rs 20). When we tried, we were able to download the song on our phone in a single click, however we haven’t received any payment related information from Hungama yet. A digital download integration is particularly useful for Hungama, and by virtue of its relationships with labels, monetization beyond advertising is something which Hungama can leverage. Update: Hungama has informed that it has tied up with all the telecom operators for this service and the payment happens through operator billing.
Radio: Apart from this, the app also offers two types of radios – Live radios and Celeb Radios. Live radios works like a typical radio station and the app currently offers eight live radio stations across various genres like Bollywood, Devotional, International Music and Regional Music. On the other hand, Celeb Radios are apparently curated playlists by celebrities. However, we noticed the app doesn’t offer any player controls while listening to either of the radios.
Videos: The app also offers various song clips as videos, although we noticed these videos were 30-second previews only and one needs to opt for monthly plan of Rs 50, to view the entire video. However, we are not quite sure if people will actually buy this subscription considering that these videos are typically now available for free on video sharing sites like YouTube. Besides this, the app also allows one to download the video clip through the same payment options mentioned above.
Gamification: In a possible bid to incentivize users to use the app more, we also noticed that the app rewards points to users for various activities like play or share music on the app, create playlists, watching a video, or invite friends. These points can then be redeemed by users to download a music track or a video clip for free. It also offers badges for different activities within the service and a leader board functionality which lists the top users of the service.
Other Players: As stated earlier, music streaming services like Dhingana, Saavn or Gaana already offer mobile apps across various platforms. While none of them currently allow users to download music from the app itself, Saavn had introduced a paid subscription service called Saavn Pro last week, which allows users to cache music on iOS devices. Gaana had also stated plans to launch a similar paid subscription service called ‘Gaana+’ by the end of this month.
Disclosure: Saavn and Times Internet (which operates Gaana.com) are advertisers with Medianama