Excl: Infibeam unwraps music monetisation platform Indent; signs multi-crore deal with Sony Music

Excl: Infibeam unwraps music monetisation platform Indent; signs multi-crore deal with Sony Music

Ahmedabad-based e-commerce firm Infibeam.com has launched a new subsidiary called Indent (stands for Infibeam Digital Entertainment), a platform focused on offering technology solutions to music labels, brands and smartphone makers. The platform will enable companies and individual artists to build digital music destinations on mobiles, tablets and the web, for downloading or streaming music.

Indent will also ensure easy billing and payment gateways for the same, and provide a destination to content owners for directly engaging with their consumers.

The new service may pose an indirect challenge to rival Flipkart's Flyte digital music store, arguably the first such legal downloadable store in India. However, Flyte will have an advantage as it has all (or many) music labels available for download on a single platform.

"With a growing relationship between e-commerce and music, an increase in smartphone and tablet penetration, and a shift to data-driven services, there exists a huge gap (between demand & supply) and we need a cloud-based, scalable platform on which products and services can be built," Infibeam CEO Vishal Mehta told Techcircle.in.

According to Infibeam, Indent has already signed its first digital service agreement with Sony Music Entertainment India, valued at multiple crores, but the company did not provide further details on the nature of the deal.

Shridhar Subramaniam, president of Sony Music India and Middle East, said, "In this digital age, customer preference and expectations are changing rapidly. Going forward, it is important to engage the customers and provide instant access to the content. With this partnership with Infibeam's Indent, Sony Music has upped the ante for the next generation of digital music distribution."

As per the deal, Sony Music is building three products using the Indent platform that includes the following:

Streaming product: JIVE HD, a comprehensive international music service (has licence agreements with other labels including the Universal Music Group, among others) for Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system. Going forward, it will be made available across other platforms.

Download product: This will be the launch of a Sony Music website where consumers can buy songs from the entire Sony Music Entertainment repertoire. The other product in the category is a Sony Music app (an OEM product), which will be embedded in smartphones and people, can buy music via the app.

Brand redemption stores: The third product will allow the brand to give away music for free along with product purchase or as loyalty rewards.

"We feel that the Indian music industry is rapidly moving into the digital era and future growth is likely to be absorbed by computers and mobile phones. Our research also indicates that the consumption of music through the digital platform has been increasing and is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22 per cent by 2016," said Mehta of Infibeam.

He also mentioned that the company would continue to rope in more labels and individual artists for the new platform. But considering the fact that Infibeam has already launched a digital wallet (read here for more) and it has the technology to build digital music destinations, isn't launching its own digital music store the next logical step?

"Our own digital music store is definitely something we will do in the future, but I cannot give an exact timeframe. Also, for doing that, we will have to get into an altogether different kind of contract with the labels," said Mehta.

The latest initiative is an extension of Infibeam's existing cloud service BuildaBazaar, which enables users to upload their product catalogues, add products from Infibeam.com, organise merchandise, receive payments and track & fulfill orders from online buyers.

The platform, which in effect, allows companies to set up their own e-commerce stores powered by Infibeam, was launched in May 2011, and a couple of months ago, it crossed the 10,000-mark in terms of e-commerce store implementation on its platform. Infibeam later extended the platform to include travel agents.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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