Universal Music has launched its music app(s) on Android and Apple’s iOS smartphone platform and plans to launch apps for the Blackberry platform, reports Indiantelevision.com. The app has been developed by Bangalore based developer Appytunes, and has been released for the South Asian (SAARC Region) by Universal Music India Pvt Ltd. Currently, the app features 36 albums in various genres including electronic, fusion, ghazals, Hindi old songs, among others.
Not Optimised For Android
We checked out the app on our Android handset and felt that the app was original designed following Apple’s iOS app experience and is not optimized for Android operating system. The homescreen features latest albums that are added to the app, featured albums, all albums, ability to search for a song, and a tab that links to Universal Music’s Facebook page. Albums are priced anywhere between $0.99 to $3.99 and can be bought through Google Wallet on Android Play Store.
An App Per Album?
Here’s the interesting and funny part: Users can try or buy albums from the app. To try or buy the albums, the app directs users to download another app from the Google Play Store. So essentially, Universal Music has launched about 36 free apps, 36 paid apps, and a free master app that links to those 36 album apps.
There shouldn’t be a need to download so many different apps. If a user buys, lets say, two albums from the app, s/he has to download a total of two apps, which is redundant and wastage of memory on mobile handset. There’s really no incentive to download songs or albums from Universal Music than going for other apps.
Paid vs Trial Apps
We downloaded the Priyanka Chopra’s In My City album app and found that the free app makes use of in-notification center ads, which is quite irritating. The in-notification center ads are not available on the paid album app. The album app features information about the artist, information about the song, list of songs in the album, gallery, and social sharing features.
Users can play the song from the app, get lyrics of the songs, get caller tunes details for various telecom operators, and it also allows users to comment on the song. The app also links to the artists social profile on various social networking sites including Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and their website.
No Way To Add Music To Existing Music Players
It appears that there’s no way to add the songs/albums that a user buys to their existing music player. Users need to open the app to be able to play the songs or albums they buy. We believe that this reduces the usability of the app. If one pays for the content, they should be able to use it from the any music player that they want to. Would you buy 20 different apps for 20 albums? What is Universal Music thinking?
Here are other developments in the music sector, which doesn’t restrict users with preposterous features.
In January 2013, Times Internet* had launched mobile apps for its music streaming service Gaana.com, covering major mobile platforms including iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Java. Times Internet claimed that the app has been downloaded more than 400,000 times on various operating systems. It has also released the app on BlackBerry 10 operating platform.
In February, there was a report stating that Saavn*, an online music streaming service, will be launching a paid subscription service along with offline music playing feature for its users. Recently, HP has partnered with Hungama and Universal Music India to launch its subscription based music service called HP Connected Music. In December 2012, Hungama had also revamped its content and website end of last year offering free cloud storage for users.
Apart from that, in December 2012 Apple’s iTunes Stores moved to India allowing users to download and buy music. The store features both Indian (including Bollywood and Tamil films) and International music from all major labels including Sony Music India, Saregama, T-Series, YRF Music (Yashraj), Universal Music India, Inreco, EMI Records, among others. Individual songs at the Apple’s iTunes stores are priced anywhere between Rs 9 to Rs 15.
In February 2012, Flipkart’s digital downloads store, Flyte went live, offering music in MP3 format. The store offers DRM free music tracks starting at Rs 6 with multi device playback support in various bitrates including 64kbps, 128kbps, 320kbps. Nokia also offers music to users through a subscription based model on its Nokia Music service. Nokia offers billing for users through mobile operators like Vodafone, Airtel and Reliance Communications. Aircel has also launched its Pocket Music International service for its subscribers to download full songs at Rs.5 a day. With the changes in TRAI guidelines, music as VAS may become difficult for these players reducing the number of revenue streams for them. Are these music services introducing paid services to compensate for the loss in revenue? Dhingana and Times Internet’s Gaana app* are other music streaming services that offer music streaming for free.
*Disclosure: Times Internet and Saavn are advertisers with MediaNama