Vodafone Idea to launch free music streaming service for users

Airtel Wynk Music

Vodafone Idea, the country’s third largest telecom operator, said it plans to launch a music streaming service in tie-up with a large content provider in the coming days.

The service, said CEO Ravinder Takkar, would be available to all of the company’s prepaid and postpaid subscribers.

The company currently has a free video streaming service called VI Movies and TV.

That service offers free videos to all users, though it restricts some of the premium content — such as movies from Lionsgate studios — to those who have subscribed to high-value plans of the company or those who have subscribed to premium packs of VI Movies & TV.

Currently, Vi’s rivals — Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio — have their won music stream apps — Wynk for Airtel and Saavn for Jio.

Takkar did not disclose the name of the content partner, but said the music app will have a content recommendation engine that will learn the user’s tastes over time and accordingly make suggestions on what the user may want to listen to next.

“The partner will bring a rich repository of music cutting across genre and languages covering over 50 million titles,” Takkar promised, adding that the launch will happen in the coming days and weeks.

He promised that the new app will be “comparable and better, in many senses, than the current services available in the country”.

Music streaming, despite its enormous promise, has not taken off quite in the same as video streaming has in India — primarily because nobody has been able to come even close to the recommendation engine of Youtube, by far the biggest source of online music for Indians.

Moreover, Indians are also averse to paying for music, especially when several ad-supported apps exist. Because of this, even Youtube has not been able to convert a large percentage of its users to its ad-free Youtube Music service.

Amazon Music is, by far, the biggest non-ad-based music streaming service in the country. However, even Amazon has been able to win users for the service only because the service is bundled as part of its prime subscription package that costs Rs 1,499 per year and includes expedited delivery and Prime Video.