labels: entertainment
Chennai firm to launch music-download kiosksnews
20 August 2007

Chennai: For the past one year T S Ranganathan, Carnatic singer, Tamil TV channel music host, commercial voice artist and news reader, and CEO of the fledgling Giri Digital Solutions Private Limited, had busied himself developing a music kiosk that enables music buffs to burn-their own music CDs.

With all the teething problems sorted out Giri Digitial's Rs6-crore project is all set for commercial launch.

At the kiosks, branded anytime digital download kiosk or simply addkiosk, users can search for music with multiple combinations, browse, hear and download music as ring tones or full songs on to cell phones, CD, iPods or smart cards. Each download is priced at Rs5 and upwards.

The company has hired playback singer S P Balasubrahmanyam, popularly known as SPB as the brand ambassador to promote the music kiosks.

According to Ranganathan, the company will install the 2x2 feet touch-screen kiosks in shopping malls, music stores, retail chains, railway stations, airports, theatres and other places with high footfalls. It has already installed one at the Chennai airport, with seven more due to be installed at domestic and international terminals, Ranganathan says.

"We plan to deploy at least 100 addkiosks by the end of this fiscal. We are open to varied revenue-sharing arrangements with location owners," he adds.

So far the three machines installed on an experimental basis at three of the group company's Giri chain of retail outlets generate an average revenue of Rs3,000 per month. Once the promotion campaign starts with SPB as the ambassador, he expects the billing to go up substantially.

Though there are websites that offer music downloads their major handicap is their long download time. On other hand at addkiosks it takes just five minutes to burn a full CD after selection the music of ones choice.

The kiosks accept currency notes as well as coins. If a user does not happen to have the exact fare and pays a higher amount, the excess is refunded by way of refund vouchers for encashment. According to Ranganathan, all the kiosks will be manned to assist customers.

The problem with the existing two or three music vending machine suppliers is that they are owned by music companies, and the choice of music titles is limited to the company's own collection.

Addkiosk, points out Ranganathan, is brand neutral and has stocked one lakh song tracks to start with. The mix consists of devotional, Indian classical and cine music in all the major Indian languages, and will, in future, will have an international catalogue of downloadable tracks.

Ranganathan says one can even download books in digital form at his kiosks. To start with he offers the Bhagavad Gita, shlokas and recipe books. "We will add city maps and other reference books," he says.

Copying music downloaded to another CD is also possible, he points out.

On the pricing, Ranganathan says that the music companies decide the per-song rates. The music companies have formulated their rates in such a way so as to ensure that there is no price difference between their pre-recorded CDs with and the music downloaded at the kiosks.

But this is bound to change once the kiosks become popular since they do not carry the costs associated with the traditional music distribution. "This does not mean the death of pre-recorded CDs. The CDs offer a lot of value-added information about the music, the artiste, etc. Such information is not available on downloaded music."

Ranganathan says his company is also in the process of developing a music portal with download facilities.

 search domain-b
Chennai firm to launch music-download kiosks