Universal Music signs deal with Reliance Comm

Mobile users can now download and stream the music company’s entire collection of songs.

Written by Priyanko Sarkar | Mumbai | Published: August 20, 2010 10:32 am

Mobile users can now download and stream the music company’s entire collection of songs.

Just how much physical sales of music have dropped can be determined by this statement. “Five years ago,digital music constituted only five per cent of our revenues. That figure is now at 30 per cent and is expected to grow to 50 per cent in the next two years.” That,coming from Rob Wells,Senior Vice-President,Digital,Universal Music Group International sums up the mood of the gloomy music industry that is now looking to drive its revenues from various sources and different partnerships. “The trials and tribulations of the music industry are well-known,” Wells conceded.

The deal,named Simply Music,will require users to register with one of two packs,namely a Gold Pack comprising of 3 full length songs and ringtones,four callertunes and 30 minutes of mobile radio web streaming for a monthly charge of Rs 25 or a Platinum Pack that comprises 10 full length tracks,ringtones and caller tunes and 100 minutes of mobile radio web streaming for Rs 99 per month.

Universal Music controls close to 28 per cent of the worldwide music share. The music group has now tied up with Reliance Communications and will offer its entire collection of songs and artistes available on the mobile platform in the form of downloads and streaming. While the association has formally been finalised,officials at Reliance Comm are waiting for allocation of 3G spectrum before they make a splash with their services. “If we get the spectrum by September,then 3G services will officially be launched by January-February 2011,” Mahesh Prasad,President,Reliance Comm revealed. While the deal with Universal Music is exclusive,Prasad sought to explain why the tie-up would work best only with Reliance. “The trends over the past 24 months in the mobile industry have taken all of us by surprise,chiefly the growing number of users and the increasing use of smartphones. We are the best candidate to offer Universal Music’s services to the Indian audience,” Prasad aid.

Prashant Gokarn,Head-Corporate Strategy,Reliance Comm said,“As a nation,we play music at all times,be it birth,marriage,etc. Our deal with Universal will differentiate us from other networks.” Universal Music has signed similar deals with other operators across the world such as UK Orange,SingTel,Digi Malaysia,Belgium Base and other Eastern European operators. “Universal Group is open to the world. And right now,we are concentrating on BRIC nations of Brazil,Russia,India and China and Indonesia which are very exciting markets to be in right now to expand our folio,” Wells said.

Subscribers of Simply Music will also get a chance to be a part of concerts that the partners will organise from next year. “There will be four to five concerts featuring Indian artistes and one international artiste,” Rajat Kakar,Managing Director,Universal Music India said.

The day-long event also saw participation from singers such as Sonu Niigaam,Alisha Chinai and Kavita Seth. Wells,who talked about how Universal had organised a show with international R&B singer Akon in Romania and pop star Lady Gaga in Spain said that “it was only a matter of time before an Indian artiste was launched by us on the global scene”.

Performances by Sunidhi Chauhan,Shaan and Mohit Chauhan rounded off the event late into the night.

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