For a while now, digitization of India mostly meant social networking and ecommerce to common people, with media and entertainment industry largely absent from the e- phenomenon. However with the recent emergence and enthusiastic response to live streaming music services from local players like Gaana and Saavn, it was about time we witness more growth in this sector.
The San Francisco based music streaming service Rdio, which entered in the Indian market last year, has now come up with a new offering of its latest budget streaming service Rdio Select at Rs 60 per month after 60 days free trial.
This feature enables users to stream high quality audio at 320 kbps and provide access to its vast library of 32 million songs, both Indian and International. On top of that, users can download up to 25 new songs daily for offline access which makes this a USP of this service. Rdio Select is simultaneously launched in US at $3.99 per month in its bid to compete with giants in this sector like Spotify, Deezle and Apple.
Given the fact that, Spotify has a user base of 15 million paid subscribers and additional 45 million free subscribers, Rdio is certainly a low-profile player in the market. Currently Spotify offers its premium plan at $9.99 per month with ad-less streaming and providing every freedom to the user for downloading, ad skipping etc.
Though Rdio also offers its main streaming service at $10 per month providing same features but in its efforts to expand its user base, it has come up with this budget streaming service in its bid to attract the users who cannot afford to spend monthly $10 on music.
Rdio CEO Anthony Bay said in the press release,
We’re excited to reach a new group of price sensitive music subscribers with Rdio Select and have designed the service to appeal to a wide audience.
He also commented on the daily 25 songs feature, calling it “more than enough” for a daily user.
Along with India and US, Rdio Select is also launched in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, with many more to come up in future. The latest launch also takes the Rdio services to 61 countries worldwide with more launches planned in SouthEast Asia. In the words of Bay his mission is not over until “we have every song ever recorded on every device worldwide” with immediate plans to extend its services to 100 countries by the end of this year.
However the real masterstroke by Rdio seems to be choosing this particular service to enter in cost-conscious massive Indian market, ahead of its big competitors like Spotify and Deezle. In a country poised to be having the largest number of people using smart phones (about 64.3 million smart phones were shipped in India in Q4,2014); with internet connection expecting to reach to as many as 500 million people in 2020 and the present focus being limited to ecommerce segment; there cannot be a better time to enter this market and Rdio understands it quite well considering the fact that it bought the domestic streaming company Dhingana ( with 10 million active users at that time) way back in 2014.
We’ve got a lot of respect for the music streaming companies that compete locally in India, that’s one reason that we entered by acquiring someone. We’ve brought that experience and DNA from Dhingana into Rdio’s India offering,
said Anthony Bay while speaking about their strategy for Indian market.
Calling the service a domestic-international hybrid in India, Bay added, “We believe that classical experience of radio will appeal to many people in India, such is the broad audience of people who just want to listen to things”. He also spoke about the plans of entering into Chinese market “in a thoughtful way”.
Challenges in India
Interestingly Rdio is not the first international streaming service to enter in India as Australian service Guvera already launched in Novermber 2014. Moreover due to the widespread piracy in music industry in India (remember songs.pk, songpk.com, etc ), it is not an easy job for any streaming services, let alone an international one to establish itself as a profitable venture.
Competition wise, Gaana and Saavn already provide premium packages at $3.99 and $3.60 respectively but they are limited to a library of meager 3 million songs including both Indian and International as compared with the 32 million by Rdio, hence giving Rdio a huge upper hand on users who want more variety in music. Even Amazon is speculated to enter in this business having allocated $2 billion last year for it growth in India, though its primary focus would be on ecommerce business.
The entry by Rdio in India has certainly kick started the race of providing digital services of music streaming and garnered attention of other major players as well.
We absolutely want to make Spotify available in India as we do across the rest of Asia, but there’s nothing to report as of now,
a Spotify spokesperson told TechCrunch reporters on being asked about their India plans.
Meanwhile, a Deezer representative was also reported saying:
We have no immediate plans to enter India but, that said, India is a very interesting music market and we definitely have our eye on it.