The music apps that are currently ruling the market!
According to report published by Business Week – the global music industry had been losing more than $12.5 Billion due to piracy, but due to the recent technological advancements, it has begun to breath fresh air. Additionally, this has also led to a decline of 26% in piracy in the USA itself.
Even after many globally popular music streaming services such as Spotify, Slacker Radio, etc. not being available in India, we still have managed to develop our own options. Some of these include – Saavn, Gaana and Hungama!
From barely having music streaming apps, to spoiling the consumer with a whole list, the music streaming industry in India has definitely come a long way in a very short span of time. As a matter of fact, the online music streaming services have also begun the process of taking over the other side of the industry as well.
Let’s give you insights about who are the global contenders in India!
P.S.: – This comparison is not to show you which one is better, but to show you what differentiates the three from each other…!
The Difference – Gaana.com, Saavn.com, Hungama.com & SoundCloud
One thing common about all these music streaming apps is that they all are predominantly Bollywood music streaming services, for obvious reasons being that Bollywood is more popular amongst the masses in India, but over the years, each of these music streaming services have evolved to cater to regional music as well including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali and Punjabi.
Let’s give you short insights where they individually stand in comparison with each other!
Owned by Times Internet, the digital arm of The Times of India Group; Gaana is an India based web music streaming site that started in 2010. They feature music from 21 languages and while, only users in India have access to international music, their entire catalogue of Indian music has been made available to users globally.
They’ve got a great looking app with a very simple and easy to use and vibrant User Interface, which appeals to many, and the service has also been made available on a wide range of devices including BlackBerry and Windows Phone, giving them an edge over its rivals. They also come with a web-based offering, for those who want to listen on the PC as well.
It is an amazing destination for listening to Hindi and English, with similar features and services across all mediums. Some of the songs also let you watch the video or read their lyrics as well.
Unlike the other competitors, Gaana also supports gapless playback (by preloading the next song), and bypasses the brief pause between two songs. They also offer a download feature, using which you can choose to play the songs later as well.
This is one app, which has some really unique compilation of music, which is not available on any other app, making it one of its strongest USP’s. It also offers a social layer in the app where one can see what their friends are listening to.
Additionally, Gaana also has a built-in radio, with equally comprehensive features, including choosing a radio station based on a song or artist you like, ‘One touch radio’ feature that plays music based on your listening habits, or just listening to music using the pre-created radio stations. Gaana also offers streaming access to Radio Mirchi channels as well.
Gaana can be streamed at 128kbps and 320kbps, with great sound quality, and its premium version is available at ₹120/month which offers unlimited streaming and downloads.
Gaana stands to remain the hold the second largest market share with a library of 30 lakh songs and over 15 Million users.
Evidently, the first anyone would notice is that, these apps majorly and aggressively have targeted the youth audience and their advertising pattern prominently showcases the same as well. For instance, the first TV commercial of Gaana, had a young couple falling in love over music.
Based out of the US and started in 2007 under its parent company BODVOD Network; Saavn.com remains to be one of the first music streaming services to be launched in India.
It is the digital distributor of English, Bollywood and regional Indian music in over 200 countries, with some of its signature products being Saavn.com, Saavn Pro, Saavn Music for iPhone, Saavn Music for Android, Saavn music and radio for Windows Phone and PC and Saavn Radio. It was cofounded by – Rishi Malhotra (CEO), Vinodh Bhat (President) and Paramdeep Singh (Executive Chairman).
Saavn offers a User Interface which is simple, vibrant, clutter free and extremely user friendly, along with a music library, which holds a list of some really exhaustive and interesting music, especially Indian music. This helps them to cater to any sort of music taste and listening demand and to offer a strong social quotient as well.
The service has been made available on a wide range of devices including BlackBerry and Windows Phone, and also provides a web-based offering, for those who want to listen on the PC as well, giving them an edge over its rivals.
What is interesting to note about Saavn is that – you can also favourite songs and create your own playlists, which your friends using the app can also listen to as well.
Similar to Gaana, Saavn too offers plenty of other features as well, some them being – downloading songs and playing them offline; multi-device functionality wherein, the downloads are automatically synced, if you install the app on more than one device; ‘Surprise’ feature that creates a playlist of 50 songs based on your music preferences; etc…
Additionally, Saavn also has a radio feature, wherein you can browse through radio stations based on the artist or song you like.
Saavn charges ₹120/ month for Saavn Pro Lite and ₹250/month for Saavn Pro, and can be streamed at 128kbps and 320kbps, with equally great sound quality.
Talking about their revenue model – Saavn, just like its peers, also mainly rely on Ads to generate revenue.
Again, riding on the same bandwagon, Saavn’s focused target audience also remains the youth and following the trend, Saavn has also started with their youth-centric TV commercials as well.
As of date, Saavn proudly holds a market share of more than 14 Million Users with a library of over 20 lakh songs.
Based in Mumbai, Hungama Music is again a music streaming application with features such as Music & Video Streaming and Download. The app is owned and operated by Hungama Digital Media Entertainment and was cofounded by Ashish Kacholia, Hiren Ved, Lashit Sanghvi, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and Neeraj Roy.
Hungama Music offers a unique gesture-based interface wherein the player is always visible at the bottom and can be swiped up whenever needed.
The app opens on the Music Section which presents you with various songs and playlist. You also get a ‘My Stream’ option that displays the activity from your friends, yourself and other people who have allowed to share their activity.
But to be able to access or share any activity, you must be connected to your social media account, and you can further customize the My Stream features from the settings menu as well.
Other than that, you can also tune-in to music from the collection of 500+ playlists that have been created by Music experts. Here, using the ‘Discover section’ you can also search for songs by setting up the mood, post which, the songs would be suggested according to the mood of the user.
The App also offers 2 kinds of radio – the ‘Live curated radio’ (specially handpicked and programmed by team of music experts) and the ‘Artist radio’.
Overall, Hungama Music offers two of the most interesting features: – the first being the integration of audio and video, and the second one being automatic download for offline use.
But mind you, its uniqueness doesn’t just end there – Hungama also provides a unique rewards system wherein, you can earn points every time you watch videos, play/share music, invite friends or even create playlists. These points can be redeemed to download content, movie tickets, autographed merchandise, gizmos and gadgets and dinner dates with film stars.
You can stream music on the app at 128kbps and 320kbps, with equally great sound quality as well.
Hungama Music mainly relies on Ads to generate revenues, but also charges ₹120/month for premium services. Their market share too remains the youth of today, but what may come across as a shocker to many is that, in a very short span of time, Hungama has managed to out-pace its peers to lead the Market Share with 50 Million users and 25 lakh songs and videos.
To begin with –you can’t really compare SoundCloud with the likes of Saavn, Gaana or Hungama Music, on same line or length. It just wouldn’t be fair to either of them.
Headquartered in Germany, SoundCloud was started by Alexander Ljung (CEO) and Eric Wahlforss (CTO) in 2007, and is a KING of the global online audio distribution platform and rules the global front by enabling its users to upload, record, promote, and share their originally-created content.
It leads the global music front with 40 million registered users and 175 million unique listeners monthly.
Yes, SoundCloud might not have the largest collection of music, but it is massively famous for its unique and latest songs by many (new and talented) artists. This is the most delightful feature is provided by SoundCloud, wherein independent and talented artists can upload their creations with a distinctive URL to reach out to a wider audience by embedding link to sites like Twitter or Facebook.
It also lets you follow your friends and favourite artists to find out the latest updates, also helps you to download songs with AudioCopy for offline use as well.
Their target audience again, remains the youth of today, along with the music aspirers. To earn revenues, SoundCloud offers additional features to paying subscribers.
Beyond a user’s initial free hours, a user can upload content by either subscribing to a $59/year plan or a $145/year plan. Other than that, they are also in process to add more revenue streams to their current model.
All the apps, more or less, offer similar overall performance, features, speed, facilities and customer satisfaction, but with a little touch of their USP’s to it.
All of them have a focus to help the user to start listening to music as soon as they reach on the app, without any delay, and to make sure it’s easy, simple, quick, and is making the customer happy and satisfied.
So who will win the game, at the end, will depend on who is able to satisfy the customer more!