‘Spotify of Bollywood’ launches English-language service

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Saavn

Indian digital music platform Saavn, which bills itself at the “Spotify of Bollywood”, has launched an English-language service incorporating a quarter of a million songs into its database of Bollywood and South Asian content.

The new service will bring songs from the likes of Jay-Z, Pitbull, Shakira, and Michael Jackson to Saavn’s Indian web platform. The reserve of English-language songs, says Saavn, comes from its partnerships with Sony and Universal Music.

The company reckons that launching an English-language service will give it “an even larger Indian user base that’s seeking Western music instead of, or in addition to, regional music”. That makes sense, especially given the large number of English-language speakers in the country.

Saavn’s claim that the launch puts it “in direct competition” with the likes of Spotify and Rdio, which have yet to launch in India, is a little more difficult to justify. Spotify for instance is available in 50 languages, has over 18-million tracks and offices around the world.

The New York-based company’s catalogue is somewhat smaller at around two-million tracks. It does however claim to serve users in more than 200 countries. An English-language service might take its appeal beyond that of the Indian diaspora it has most likely been catering to until now.

“Ever since we started Saavn, we’ve always wanted to make English content available on our products. Since we’ve now successfully delivered apps and a website that people love, this felt like the right time for Saavn to launch English music for our users,” said Paramdeep Singh, co-founder and executive chairman of Saavn.

In addition to the major Western labels, Saavn has music licensing deals in place with more than 300 South Asian record labels. The company was founded as BODVOD networks in 2006 by Vin Bhat, Rishi Malhotra, Neal Shenoy and Paramdeep Singh, in a partnership between New York-based parent company 212Media (also founded by Bhat, Shenoy, and Singh), Indian company Hungama, and Schramm Sports & Entertainment.

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