It has also extended its paid subscription service Gaana+ to Android, which allows users to download songs in their playlists and listen to them offline ad-free and at higher bitrates (up to 320 kbps). The company says that the service will be available on 14 day free trial to Android users, following which Indian users will have to pay $2.99 per month, while International users will have to pay $3.99 per month.
However, we noticed that the update is yet to be rolled out on Google Play Store, at the time of writing this article. Times Internet had launched Gaana+ on iOS in April 2013.
Earlier (June 14): Times Internet’s* music streaming site Gaana has introduce a new karaoke feature – ‘SingAlong‘, which allows users to sing along existing songs and earn virtual points based on their performance. The company has partnered with TLabs-backed social singing platform KaraokeGarage for this initiative.
One can head over to the SingAlong section to browse through a list of songs sorted by language. One can pick a song of their preference, click on start singing button and setup the mic on their computer to start the karaoke experience. At launch, the company claims to offer more than 300 songs across five languages and multiple genres like Jazz, Ballad, R&B or Pop, with plans to add more songs to the catalogue every week and extend the feature to its mobile apps in the future. When queried as to why the company didn’t roll out the service to its entire catalogue, the company told there are various processes involved in making these songs Karaoke-compatible, which is why the company chose the current popular songs for the initial launch.
One can use the service without registration, although registered users get additional features like saving their scores, viewing their previous scores, challenges and battles among others. It also seems to offer additional scores if the user has headphones on, else gives a warning that users will probably score less in the game.
Karaoke Player: After choosing a song and setting up the mic, the site offers a karaoke player with real-time lyrics, pitch indications and background vocals. During the song, it analyses the user pitch as he sings along and displays it along with the original song pitch through color coding.
For instance, it shows orange color if the pitch has matched and gray color if it is off pitch. There is also a score bar on the right side which increases depending on the user’s performance as the song processes. It also offer the option to pause the song and resume singing later. After the completion of the song, users can either share their score to Facebook or challenge any of their friends on Facebook. The site also offers a score leader board which lists all the top scores on site and offers an option for users to compete against them.
Our Take: We quite liked the approach taken by Gaana to increase the site engagement by gamifying the Karaoke experience. We tried it a couple of times and we found the experience to be quite addictive. While we are a bit skeptical of how many people will actually use the service, its quite possible that the song battles features could help drive the usage of the service.
While this service has a potential to increase the engagement of existing users, we feel this also brings along quite a few interesting opportunities and integrations for Gaana.
– Branded Challenges: There are possibilities of sponsored songs or sponsored battles in the future and the site could probably offer prizes like concert tickets or additional content to winners or high scorers.
– Virtual Auditions: The service can also be further extended to act as a virtual audition platform for various singing based reality shows in the country, although we are not quite sure if the company will have to apply for a Karaoke license to offer this feature. Remember that Ibibo was taken to court by T-Series in 2009, over its iSinger online music contest.
– Integration to Times Rewards: Another possible integration is with Times Internet’s loyalty program Times Rewards. The site could possibly reward high scorers with reward points which can be redeemable for prizes or deals across the Times network like Indiatimes Shopping or BoxTV subscriptions among others. Remember that with more touch points, the loyalty points becomes more compelling.
* Disclosure: Times Internet is an advertiser with MediaNama