Music streaming services like Spotify and SoundCloud have been a boon for music lovers across the globe by letting smartphone users listen to music on the go without having to download or buy them off the Internet. But in a country where majority prefer jazzy Bollywood numbers and regional music, the Spotifys and the Pandoras of this world feel grossly inadequate. Enter Saavn, (which stands for South Asian Audio Video Network) an ad-supported digital music service that focuses on Bollywood, Indian and regional South Asian music. The service that allows users to create and listen to playlists for free has recently collaborated with Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor to mark its foray in the Indian market. Kapoor’s creative partnership which was first seen in a Saavn commercial campaign, has been stretched to consumer marketing ideation and production, business development and content. “I identify with Saavn’s vision for Indian music. I am not only involved in how they want to market the app, but I have also been looking into the layout of Saavn. My creative inputs go beyond just being the face of the app since I have an ownership in Saavn as well,” said Kapoor. The actor also hinted at a possible marketing tie up with Saavn for his next film Bombay Velvet.
Saavn makes money via targeted display, media ad units for global advertisers and a subscription model. The platform is strikingly similar to Spotify, wherein users are allowed to listen to music on-demand and create and share playlists, with and additional radio function. “The market in India is different than where Spotify focuses. We are working to make sure the app works on narrow bandwidth connections and on low end devices that are used in the country. Our goal is to give anyone with an internet connection and a device access of all of our music,” explains Paramdeep Singh, Executive Chairman of Saavn.
Although advertisements have a prominent place in this app; it is non-intrusive and doesn’t hinder user experience. Below the ads, is the search box that allows for music search. Below that lies the toggle between play list and radio. The playlist is divided between Weekly Top 15 and Surprise Me (random selection of songs) new releases, my playlist and featured playlist. The paid subscription option — Saavn Pro, makes listening to online music ad-free and also allows users to make music available offline, which is great for areas where data connectivity is spotty. The app also allows users to link it to their Facebook account and to create and save playlists for ease of accessibility. The app does not miss on out the educational opportunity, and provides details about the song like movie, year, singer, music director etc.
While there are other Indian apps like Gaana, Raaga and Hungama that offer a similar kind of service, Saavn has been collaborating with digital platforms like Apple, Google and Facebook and creating a more wholistic experience for its users. For example, Shazam (music identification app) users are redirected to Saavn when they look up a particular song. With social media being the key to thriving a internet presence, Saavn is next eyeing a Twitter partnership. “We are looking at a tie-up with Twitter, wherein we are going to create a global playlist with Twitter users. Twitter users will be able to hashtag a song and add it to a global twitter handle. It will be a first-of-its-kind partnership with Twitter, ” revealed Singh triumphantly.
For Saavn, Twitter could be just one of the ways in which it increases its user base and interactivity in India. The current user already spends an hour a day on average using the app, according to Paramdeep Singh. With a comprehensive catalogue of Indian music, licensed from over 200 content providers, the Saavn team is busy strengthening its foray into Bollywood.
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