saregama3 (1)

Music record label Saregama (also known as HMV) has launched an online music store where users can pay and download songs, reports PTI. The library consists of 1.1 lakh songs in 14 languages and can be downloaded at Rs 9 per song after sampling it for free. The company is working on launching a service next month where users will be able to download uncompressed files at an extra cost. It is also planning to add an app for sampling and downloading, to be launched next month.

Rs 9 per song, Rs 449 for premium albums

Other than individual songs, which sell at Rs 9, the platform is selling premium albums at Rs 449, where individual songs cannot be bought at Rs 9, but only as a whole album. There’s no limit on the number of songs which can be downloaded and all the songs are available as MP3s, with other audio formats coming soon.

Sample and download at 320kbps

The company told PTI that even for sampling, Saregama was offering the full length song rather than parts of the song. Saregama believes that this move might help curb piracy and also give access to songs which might not be available through illegal means. It is offering 10 downloads of a single song at a bitrate of 320 kbps across devices through a single ID for Rs 9. All the songs in the library will be at the 320 kbps bitrate.

Headquartered in Kolkata, the company claims to have partners in Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Docomo, Aircel, BSNL, Idea, Reliance, Orange and Etisalat among others. Some of these companies act as the distributors for the content and with the launch of the online library, its users should be able to access the content directly.

Turning to digital

In April last year, Saregama signed a partnership with international digital distribution company Believe Digital, which was supposed to help the digital distribution of Saregama’s music catalogue across different languages and genres, in international markets especially with the Indian diaspora. G. B. Aayeer, Director and CFO of Saregama, had said then that this partnership would focus on more international markets for Saregama’s music and other monetization opportunities.

In August last year, Saregama appointed Vikram Mehra, Chief Commercial Officer at Tata Sky as its Managing Director of music label Saregama India. We’d reported then that Mehra has the unenviable task of transforming an old-world music label into a digital business, and more importantly, expanding what is likely to be its core business in the future: films. A move up the value chain is a key means of surviving the switch to digital. Mehra’s predecessor Surya Mantha had begun some of this: firstly, he rightly switched the focus of the company from physical sales to digital, so that Saregama would focus largely on digital rights, and brought in a team with experience with both digital and music: including his former colleagues Avinash Mudaliar and Keshaw Sinha.

Other players in the same place:

– In February, Bharti Airtel’s music streaming application Wynk said that it has crossed five million downloads since its launch in September. Wynk features full track audio streaming, unlimited cache downloads, Mp3 purchase and caller ring back tone. Individual songs are sold at Rs 5. Wynk said that it had an HD catalogue of over 1.8 million Indian and International songs along with exclusive music previews from time-to-time under the Sony Music label.

– In January, Australian music streaming service Guvera, which had launched in India in November last year, claimed to have acquired over 2 million users in the country since its launch. Guvera is free and supported by advertisements, though users can also opt for the ad-free premium plan which cost Rs 199 per month.

– In the same month, US-based music streaming service Rdio had launched in India. Rdio had earlier acquired Dhingana to enter the Indian market in March last year.

– In December last year, Japanese mobile messaging service LINE acquired Microsoft’s MixRadio music streaming service for an undisclosed amount. Microsoft had inherited MixRadio as part of its Nokia devices and services business acquisition, earlier this year.

– In the same month, Vodafone India launched “Vodafone Music”, a Mobile Internet based music service powered by Hungama’s platform. The service had music and video free to stream (which means data charges would apply), and for download, available at Rs 3 for a single song, Rs 10 for 5 songs, and as a pack, at Rs.99 per month, Rs 29 per week and Rs 5 per day for unlimited downloads.

– In July last year, Hungama rebranded its paid subscription service on its music and video streaming mobile app as PRO service and added new features including on offline mode and songs of higher bitrates of up to 320 Kbps. The offline mode allowed user to cache unlimited songs and videos to their phones for offline listening/viewing. Note that its competitors Saavn and Gaana also offer offline caching service to its subscribers, but was currently limited to music streaming.

Saregama’s revenues

In February this year, Saregama India reported a net profit of Rs 1.29 crore for the quarter ended December 30, 2014 (Q3-FY15), registering 26.47 % increase from Rs 1.02 crore in the same quarter last year. In the previous quarter, the company had reported a net profit of Rs 2.06 crore. Music revenues now contribute for 65.29 % of Saregama’s operational revenues for the quarter, up from 60.73% in the same quarter last year and 63% in the previous quarter. Revenues from Saregama’s music business dipped by  2.03% to Rs 25.60 crore, from Rs 26.13 crore in the same quarter last year. The profit before tax for the segment increased to Rs 9.22 crore for the quarter, up 7.58% from Rs 8.57 crore in the same quarter last year.

Also read:

When will revenues from music streaming services surpass CDs in India like it did in 2014 in US?

#Outlook15: How Indian Online Music Companies view 2015

Trends in the digital music segment in 2014