I couldn’t resist the temptation. The ‘Char Bhaj Gaye (Party Abhi Baki Hai)’ song was too catchy and so I decided to buy an album. At the music store I was told that an audio CD has not been released and that the album is available only online for purchase. Now, I felt like an idiot. I normally am aware of such news but obviously I was not. And then started the expedition. Herewith some thoughts on it:
Great initiative: hats off to the producers and promoters on a great initiative. I am averse to pirated stuff – be it music, software or movies and it was great to see the promotion of legal music downloads online, that too of Hindi film music.
Content Discovery: the official FALTU sites were nowhere near the top search results when you search for ‘F.A.L.T.U songs purchase’. I wasn’t even aware of legal downloads being the only option. Discovering the official website of F.A.L.T.U was a nightmare. On had to be really focused in searching for it. Point is, where was the PR machinery and SEO optimization? Seems like a very important part of the promotion was missing. After wading through tonnes of .pk download mp3 type sites, I chanced upon Milliblog – which provided the correct link to download the songs. If discovering the official website is so tough, it only encourages or spurs on an illegal download. It is easy to give up and simply click a download link after 5 pages of ‘search’.
Download process: the download process was simple. I bought the album at an unbelievable price of Rs.40. The pricing is fantastic and serves as a great deterrent against illegal downloads. The file size (for the entire album) was around 88mb. On my BSNL DataOne connection it took about 20 minutes. Which brings us to the broadband penetration question in India. How many of the regular internet subscribers download an 88MB file on their network? The geeks and gamers might – but the regular guy? Also does the download work as easily on a mobile phone? With 3G being the new mantra and mobile phones more ubiquitous than PCs will the forthcoming music albums offer a mobile phone option? There are other pertinent issues like lack of album art and repeat downloads.
Kudos to the producers for this bold initiative. But the issues outlined above could be common to the digital business in India and not just for the music business. What say?