Google Music Search launches in India

I had earlier blogged about Google’s music search in China and how it is trying to combat Baidu in the country. A summary of the post would be something like this:

  • Baidu is the music search leader in China, linking to pirated content
  • China is the testing ground for Google for an emerging business model, offering legal & free music to consumers.
  • Google Music Search in China will get consumers to shift from Baidu with the promise of high quality audio,and analytics that will help consumers select music basis their mood.

Google has now launched Music Search in India on Friday, 22nd Oct 2010.

Yours Truly has been part of fair amount of consumer research in terms of  consumer behaviour in relation to music, and in particular, online music download behaviour. This was  my day job, not so long back.

Like China, youth in India are not particularly hassled about pirated music, as long as it is free. There are two operative words in the Indian youth’s mind as far as music is concerned: “FREE” & “LATEST VARIETY”.

Google India music search has tackled the first one through a smart tie-up with, and SaReGaMa. The display ads, in all probability, subsidise the FREE offering.

But Google India music search is currently limited to Hindi (Bollywood) music only. What happens to the digital savvy youngsters,from lets say, Down South, for whom Hindi music is still the second choice? Do they come on Google India music search for Hindi, then to Ragaa for their regional content, and then to some other streaming site for international music? Not the most convenient way, I think.

However, within the Bollywood space, Google has got the formula right. Free content, wide variety within the Bollywood genre,and no pirated content. Win-win for all partners in the ecosystem, as well as the consumer.

Some unanswered questions that I am yet to find answers:

  • Is Google paying the labels for content? On what basis? Number of streams?
  • Is the display banner revenue shared with the labels as well?
  • Any other monetisation model in place for Google’s India music search?
  • How will this impact music download biz models like Nokia’s Ovi Music Unlimited & Hungama’s music service?

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