Music streaming service Saavn has raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Hong-Kong based hedge fund Steadview Capital, reports The Next Web. Saavn CEO Rishi Malhotra confirmed the development to the publication. Last month, The Economic Times had reported that Saavn was about to raise about Rs 240 crore funding in a round led by Steadview Capital. Malhotra also hinted at a possible expansion to the Middle East sometime next year.
There was also a shuffle of roles within the New York-headquartered company. Malhotra, who was the President till now, has switched into the CEO role. And Founding CEO Vinodh Bhat will take over Malhotra’s previous role, and will also be the new Chief Strategy Officer.
Aircel, Saavn team up to launch ‘Aircel Music Mornings’
Aircel has tied-up with Saavn to launch a music-based promotion scheme called Aircel Music Mornings, reports The Hindu Business Line. Aircel users will get free data access to Saavn’s music catalogue between 6-9am throughout the week for one month, as part of this scheme. The scheme is expected to run for three months.
For those three hours data usage on Saavn will be free for Aircel pre-paid users. Their existing data packages will not be drained. At present the service is available in Maharashtra, including Mumbai, and in Tamil Nadu and Chennai. Aircel’s Chief Marketing Officer Anupam Vasudev told the publication that the service will be extended to other regions shortly.
It’s worth noting that only Aircel subscribers who use iOS and Android-based phones will be able to avail this service, since Saavn has thus far released apps for only those two mobile OS. It isn’t clear if the scheme is also applicable for Saavn’s WAP site.
Earlier this month, Aircel had launched an IVR-based music streaming service. Users need to dial up a toll-free number (56060555) to listen to songs for free. No subscriptions are required, but after each song ads are played. Last year Saavn had partnered with Tata DOCOMO to launch music-oriented data plans for the telco’s 2G and 3G pre-paid GSM subscribers. Saavn’s music streaming service was bundled with Tata DOCOMO’s internet plus data plans on Android, iOS and feature phones through WAP.
Saavn adds 8 lakh songs from international artists to its catalogue
Saavn has signed licensing agreements with music recording the publishing giants EMI and Warner Music to add 8 lakh songs of popular international artists to its catalogue, reports The Next Web. With this deal Saavn’s catalogue now has close to 20 lakh songs on offer. Saavn first introduced English content to its catalogue in November 2012.
Besides the Android and iOS app, Saavn is currently accessible on a Firefox-based player called Saavn Music Feed. Users can also opt for the Saavn Pro service that provides offline-sync feature. Saavn Pro is a subscription-based ad-free service, priced at $3.99 per month, and is available worldwide. Saavn Lite is an India-specific ad-free service, which allows users to download 3GB of music for Rs.120 per month. Airtel and Vodafone subscribers can also opt for operator billing for this service. They need to pay Rs.5 for one-day access, Rs.30 for week-long access and Rs.110 for one month.
Issues with music licensing in India: Earlier this year Saavn finally managed to acquire the rights to stream over 133,000 tracks from T-Series catalogue on mobile. While Saavn users could listen to songs from T-Series on its website, the same weren’t available on its mobile apps. Till then Hungama was the only music service that could stream T-Series songs on mobile.
The lack of access to the record label’s catalogue is considered to one of the reasons Dhingana’s demise and for the shutting down of Flipkart’s Flyte service. Music licensing deals aren’t standardised in India, which creates a problem for both service providers and users.