Web18 owned internet portal In.com has launched Artiste Radio, a set of 10 live internet radio stations dedicated to Indian artists. The stations feature songs sung by or picturised on artists such as Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Kishore Kumar, Rajnikant, Madhuri Dixit, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Chiranjeevi and Kareena Kapoor, in addition to interviews, anecdotes and trivia.

Each station is hosted on a dedicated artist page, which also features a short bio, fact of the day, artist pictures, and curated tweets discussing the artist. The site intends to add more artists and additional features to the service. Songs are interspersed with station announcements and some RJ talk, however, this could be an opportunity for monetization if the feeds start inserting ad messages. The radio player is based on Adobe Flash, which makes it difficult to access the service on tablets like the iPad. We are yet to witness a complete HTML5 based solution.

In.com’s music page offers online music streaming featuring Hindi, regional and international music. It also offers streaming internet radio streams from various other stations such as Radio NRI, Radio Netherlands, RNW and others. Internet radio or mobile radio has so far met with limited success in the Indian market. One of the reasons for this has been the ambiguity surrounding digital rights, the other one being limited bandwidth and access to free private FM stations.

Talking of niche radio stations, just a few weeks back, Saregama and Timbre Media announced plans to revive WorldSpace as an internet radio service. The service features dedicated genre based radio stations. Other Indian online radio stations we’re aware of include Radio City, an FM radio station in India, as well as music from independent Indian bands at NH7.in and RadioVerve. Music streaming is quite common in India, with sites like Gaana.comRediff Songbuzzibibo MusicSaavn.comGoogle Music as well as pirated music sites like Songs.pk.

Our Take on Artiste Radio – (by Nikhil Pahwa)

A couple of questions come to mind: why only 10 artists? Also, In.com already has online music streaming, and profile pages for artists already exist. Even though there is a segment for Lata Mangeshkar, why does In.com need to set up Radio Lata? My guess is – packaging and monetization.

By launching Artiste Radio, In.com is using the same resources (the music catalog it has) and creating potential advertising inventory for people who might want to target a specific set of users. Whether this will work is anybody’s guess, but there’s no doubt that the packaging of Artiste Radio is pleasing and classy.