So almost six months after struggling handset manufacturer Motorola acquired online and mobile music distribution company Soundbuzz, Motorola has launched music distribution service MotoMusic in India. MotoMusic powers the MOTOROKR E8, two versions of which are priced at Rs. 15.455 and Rs. 13,999 respectively. The launch of MotoMusic is significant, since it comes before the launch of Nokia’s content service Ovi.
Value Chain: This is what the value chain looks like, with a handset manufacturer also becoming a content aggregator. This should, ideally, result in increasing efficiencies, and hence offer a greater margin to Motorola:
Pricing, Distribution and content partners:
Pricing: What are they thinking?: Really, what is the music labels, Motorola, Mobile Operators thinking? Who’s going to pay Rs. 19.99 per song, when most of the music is available cheaper on CDs. Digitial distribution is cheaper than audio cassettes. You’re offering the consumer the convenience of selecting his music, but with the same music available much cheaper openly on P2P networks and grey markets, Rs. 19.99 per song is really pushing it. Give them an affordable option of Rs. 5 per song, and they’re more likely to pay.
Payment Method: An interesting addition is the Music Card (details), which allows users to Buy and Gift users a Music Card for purchasing music. The denominations are from Rs. 50-500. Uhh…which a minimum amount of Rs. 50, I guess one can buy 2.5 songs (at Rs. 19.99/song). If you’re buying these cards online, then you’ll have to pay by credit card. We’ve got no information on offline distribution.
Soundbuzz India? Motorola completed the acquisition of Soundbuzz in February, and I half expected Soundbuzz India to redirect to MotoMusic. However, Soundbuzz is still around, and it’s MotoMusic that is all Soundbuzz: apart from the colours, MotoMusic India is a mirror of Soundbuzz.
Content Partners: No announcement here yet, but those mentioned on Soundbuzz’ website include EMI, Warner Music, Sony-BMG, Universal Music, and Saregama, Tips, Venus, Inreco and T-Series in India. Do keep in mind that Inreco is the label owned by former SIMCa Joint Secretary Saha. Other partners mentioned include Indiatimes, Bharti/Airtel and TATA-VSNL in India. Prior to being acquired by Motorola, Soundbuzz had a content basket of 750,000 songs, and had plans to launch a DRM free store.
Dual Delivery and DRM Free? Soundbuzz had a dual delivery service for music, where tracks were both sent to mobile, and emailed to users (in case they lost the mobile version). We’re not sure if they have plans to launch the same service here, or even if they intend to launch a DRM free store which they had earlier announced.
Will it work?: I doubt it. Launching it as a handset independent service would have made sense. Users hate walled gardens, and this is just another one of those.