Online music streaming service Saavn has extended its paid subscription service Saavn Pro to Android, reports The Next Web. The service was launched earlier this year and was previously available for iOS users only.
Saavn Pro offers an ad-free experience to users and allows them to cache songs up to 3GB for offline listening. It also allows users to sync music across five devices and plans to introduce higher bitrates (up to 320 kbps) for Pro users in the future. The service is initially available on a 30 day free trial, following which users need to pay Rs 220 per month (India users) or $3.99 per month (International users). Note that the service is on an auto-renewal basis.
Saavn Pro Lite: In addition to Saavn Pro, Saavn has also launched a new premium subscription service called Saavn Pro Lite, as indicated by the report. As the name suggests, this is a cheaper alternative to Saavn Pro and is currently available only for Android users in India. While it offers a similar ad-free experience to users, it allows them to save music up to only 1GB on a single device, with no option to sync music across various devices. The service is currently available at Rs 110 per month on a auto-renewal basis.
The company is probably looking to convert more users into paid subscribers through this plan and hope that users will eventually upgrade to the Pro plan. However note that Saavn’s competitors Dhingana and Gaana* offers more features in its premium subscription services, at similar or slightly higher prices than Saavn Pro Lite. Dhingana Gold is priced at $1.99 (Around Rs 120) per month and is currently available only on iOS while Gaana+ is priced at Rs 170 per month and is available on iOS and Android.
Hungama also offers a monthly subscription service at Rs 99 (through operator billing) and Rs 110 (through Google Wallet), although that only allows unlimited ad-free streaming of full length songs and videos. It also offer various plans to purchase and download songs including a single download (Rs 10 per song), value pack (4 items for Rs 20) and value pack (10 items for Rs 50).
The Tricky Nature Of Music Availability & How It Might Affect Paid Subscriptions
While music streaming services works great for discovering music, one annoying thing that I have constantly faced over the years is the availability (or rather the lack of availability) of specific Bollywood songs of my preference on these services. This issue becomes more apparent when you are listening to music on your mobile phones, since these services have web-only licenses for select songs.
For instance, a playlist on Gaana called ‘Gaana Top 20’ lists only seven songs on the app, while it shows all 20 songs on the web version. Times Internet CEO Satyan Gajwani attributes this mismatch to licensing restrictions. I have also faced similar non-availability issues on Dhingana, Saavn and Hungama mobile app as well, where either songs can’t be played or select songs are not present on the mobile app but are available on the web version. Due to this, one has to constantly switch between these services to listen to their favorite songs and can’t stick to a single service, which might hamper the company’s revenues, since one might not opt for these paid subscriptions if they cannot play their favorite songs on a service. On the flipside, the service with the largest catalogue will probably attract more consumers and thereby generate more revenue.
Nikhil adds: These licensing restrictions are restricting access to music for consumers, and, quite frankly, makes a case for compulsory licensing for online radio, that is similar to radio. The labels really need to get their act together.
*Disclosure: Times Internet is an advertiser with Medianama