RPG Group-owned music label Saregama India, which has been adding digital media properties to its offerings, has introduced an internet radio service on its portal. The service is free for registered users but a few songs can be accessed even without logging in.
The channels currently available on the internet radio offer Malayalam, Punjabi, Marathi, Carnatic, Hindustani classical, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi classics.
Saregama has been strengthening its digital media property for some time now. In July this year, the music giant picked up 10 per cent stake in Timbre Media, a company floated by former WorldSpace radio employees. The move was aimed at reviving WorldSpace's legacy in India and also to launch some other mobile radio properties. The radio service was soon relaunched here as a mobile radio channel on Vodafone's network.
The internet radio service launched by Saregama also enables listeners to buy the songs which are being played. The user interface is a bit cluttered though, and streaming takes a lot of time (in one or two cases, it didn't play at all when we tried it).
On the other hand, Timbre Media, which is essentially a music programming and audio content company, is also in the process of launching its own internet radio channel soon, says the portal. It seems that Saregama has utilised Timbre's expertise to try out an internet radio service or Timbre could be trying its hand at the same on Saregama's popular platform before launching its own channel.
Meanwhile, Saregama's online music store, which was being tested in beta in April this year, has also gone live on its site. Earlier, a single number was priced at Rs 9.95, but now it comes at Rs 7. However, it is still more expensive than its closest rival, Flipkart's Flyte. The navigation and user experience also lag behind, but it has more descriptors for each song, such as like lyrics, tempo, cast (in case of a movie number) and more. Read the full review and comparison with Flyte here.
Interestingly, internet radio services are steadily momentum for some time now. With Anil Srivatsa's Radiowalla and another player, RadioWhiskey.in, already in the market, one has to see how it plays out when all these companies come up with paid content. Radiowalla already has a mix of paid and free channels in place and the uptake of free channels is (expectedly) greater than the paid ones. As long as it is free, it is definitely music for the ears.
Keep watching this space for more updates.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)