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Updated: Saavn Launches Feature Phone App; Select Devices Only?

Online music streaming service Saavn has released a new Java (J2ME) app, allowing users to stream music on their features phones, reports TechCrunch. The company already offers a Web App, and native iOS and Android apps and is currently developing apps for Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Phone platforms.

Features: Similar to its iOS and Android apps, the app allows users to stream music from various genres like Bollywood, regional and devotional music, listen to Saavn Radio, access Saavn’s weekly top 15 songs and so on. More importantly, the report suggests that the app features an adaptive streaming algorithm, which streams music based on the available bandwidth strength. The company claims that users can stream music continuously even on a 2G connection.

Through this release, the company is probably trying to reach out to the feature phone segment, which is quite significant in India. Also note that none of the online music streaming services including Gaana*, or Dhingana currently offer a feature phone app, although Dhingana does have a BlackBerry app.

How will telcos react: It would be interesting to see how telcos, who’re already skeptical of off-deck internet content affecting their revenues, react to the move, specially when users on 2G data packs don’t have much content to utilise their allocated monthly data limits, which range anywhere between 1GB to 2GB.

Select phones only? We tried installing the app on Nokia Asha 303, but we got an error –  ‘unsupported file format’. While the company’s statement suggests that the app works across various handsets manufactured by Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, and Motorola, we noticed that Saavn’s app download page indicates support for only a select few Nokia S40 phones like Nokia 2700 Classic, Nokia 5130, Nokia C1-01, Nokia X2-01, Nokia 3110c, Nokia 2690, Nokia C3-00, Nokia C2-01, Nokia 5300 Xpress Music, and Samsung Corby.

New Languages: In addition to this release, Saavn also announced that it has now added music from six new languages including Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Gujarati on its web, iOS and Android app, as indicated by the TechCrunch report. However when we checked the website, it seemed to support only the four languages, mentioned above, along with Hindi. Further, the company had added Tamil and Telugu music to its Android app in March 2012, as indicated by the Google Play listing and the app supports the same five Indian languages mentioned above at the time of writing this article. Update: Saavn has stated that it will be adding Bengali and Kannada music in the future, but there is no information on the timeline. It also claimed that the current release covers 75% of all Tamil music content, 90% of all Telugu music content, 90% of all Marathi content, and 90% of all Gujarati content available.

Usage Metrics: In March 2012, Saavn had claimed to have 9.3 million users across its web portal, iOS and Android apps, up by 25% since December 2011 and was witnessing 125,000 new registrations every month. It had also claimed to have clocked over 2 million hours of streaming content per month with more than 1 million streams-per-day. However, it must be noted that the company has a music license to stream in more than 200 countries and India accounts for 58% of Saavn’s usage, followed by United States (10%), United Kingdom (3%).

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In addition, the company had also claimed to have 2 million mobile users. While there was no information on the break-up between its Android and iOS users, it had noted that India accounts to 68% of traffic from the Android app and 27% of traffic from the iOS app.

Last December, Saavn had also launched an open graph app on Facebook, allowing users to share their activity on the Facebook Ticker, News Feed, and Timeline. The company had claimed that it had increased its monthly active user base, from 35,000 to 785,000 in the first four weeks of the app launch, with the daily new users of the Facebook app increasing by 40 times, and content shares increasing by four-fold. After three months of launch, Saavn had announced that it had gained over 2 million Facebook-connected users and the company had generated over 1 billion Facebook impressions since launch.

Saavn currently claims to have a catalogue of more than 1 million songs licensed from 200 content providers, as indicated by the TechCrunch report.

Anupam Saxena also contributed to this post

*Disclosure: Indiatimes, which owns Gaana.com, is an advertiser with MediaNama

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