The popular music streaming service Saavn is planning to launch a paid subscription option for its users in the near future. While the finer details like how much will it cost are still being worked out, Paramdeep Singh, Managing Director and co-founder of Saavn, told NDTV Gadgets that the service should go live in the next six to eight weeks.
Currently, Saavn relies on advertising as the sole option to sustain its operations. There are banner ads strategically placed on the website as well as on the apps and audio ads squeezed in between songs. The paid subscription option will give consumers ad-free access to music.
Apart from ad-free experience, there are plans to offer other features to further sweeten the deal for paid subscribers. One such feature that Saavn is contemplating is the ability to listen to (already buffered) songs even when the Internet connectivity drops. "In India there are still places where the data connectivity isn't great. Hence, there is a demand for such a feature," Singh said. He also hinted that customers will be able to listen to already played songs even in offline mode.
Another major challenge that online music streaming industry is dealing with is piracy. In India about 97-98 percent of the industry continues to be pirated but Saavn is seeing this as a big opportunity. "We should get models and means in place to monetize these users and get them on-board, which is a better option for them rather than going in for the pirated content".
Saavn has also in the recent past partnered with music labels to offer exclusive music. Recently, they had a deal with Tips through which they had offered the song title 'Party on my mind' from the forthcoming movie Race 2 exclusively for 15 days. Singh said such exclusive windows are made available on an ongoing basis and help attract more users to the platform.
Saavn had recently introduced Saavn English, adding over a quarter of a million English songs from Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group to its portfolio. Currently, these songs are accessible only through web service of the company but it plans to extend these to its Android, iOS and Java/ J2ME apps later this month (December).
Singh also shared some interesting stats. The average time spent on Saavn per session is around 45 minutes. Additionally, Saavn claims that active users return back to their website an impressive 12 times a month. 15 percent of Saavn's monthly average users across apps and web use the service on a daily basis.