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Hungama launches music streaming app; will audio-video integration make it stand out?

Mumbai-based Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt Ltd, which runs the digital store Hungama.com and offers full-length music tracks, videos, ringtones, mobile wallpapers and more, has officially launched its music streaming app today. The new app is currently available on Android, iOS and BB10 platforms.

Claiming it to be a game-changer, the Hungama music app will be competing in a well-populated market that has players like Saavn, Dhingana and Times Internet's Gaana music apps. Interestingly, the app comes with some new features such as operator billing for content download, loyalty programme that earns users points for spending time on the app, and search & discovery of music, based on genre, mood, era, etc.

However, the biggest differentiator that Hungama is bringing to the table is the seamless integration of audio and video. For now, this is the only music streaming app that provides video streaming. The service is not free, though. Users can sample a 30-second video for free and but need to upgrade and pay around Rs 50 per month (for Android) to have full access to videos plus an ad-free app.

Asked if the market validation is the reason to enter the music streaming space, Siddhartha Roy, chief operating officer (consumer business & allied services) at Hungama Digital, said, "Earlier, we were not convinced that we would be able to come out with an audio-visual content app or the market would be ready for it. We never wanted to introduce just an audio app – so we waited and worked on it. We were waiting for the market to evolve and this feels like the right time."

The app also features a live radio with 8 radio stations. Roy was quick to mention that these are not curated ones but live radio stations (probably taking a dig at Dhingana's latest launch of curated radio stations. More on that here.)

The user interface is definitely a change from others available in the market. However, it packs a lot of content at one go, which could be a turn-off for users. All in all, the transition from audio to video is pretty interesting. The app also provides the lyrics (if available), which will be a hit with the Indian audience who loves to google the lyrics of the latest songs.

The 'download to own' feature allows users to download the songs and pay via operators without the hassles of payment gateways.

Roy also informed that the company would soon come up with apps for Java, Symbian and Windows platforms.

However, this new app from Hungama has a lot of catching up to do. Both Dhingana and Saavn claim a million downloads each on Android alone while Gaana, which recently launched its app, has also seen a decent traction.

Does Hungama's app live up to its self-proclaimed title of a game-changer? Do share your reviews with us.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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