Saregama For Digital Downloads Thrust

Kolkata, March 24 | Updated: Mar 25 2004, 05:30am hrs
Saregama India will focus on digital downloads to attract non-resident Indians, especially in markets like the US where Indian music is available legally only in physical formats, according to Mr Sanjiv Goenka, vice-chairman.

Digital downloads will be our focus in the coming years. We have already started talking to major carriers like Apple iTunes and Real Networks. In the next few months, we will have an arrangement with all the major carriers to put our catalogue on the net, Mr Goenka told reporters after the 56th annual general meeting of shareholders here Wednesday.

Saregama reported a loss before tax of Rs 47 crore for the 15 months to June 30, 2003.

Along with the download initiative, parent RPG Enterprises will infuse a capital of around Rs 8 crore in Saregama. We have not yet decided whether the money will come in the form of bonds, loan or equity, but there will be fresh injection of fund, Mr Goenka said.

Digital downloads from legal websites is one of the ways to counter downloading of pirated music provided by file sharing services like Kazaa.

According to a report published in Fortune magazine, Apple Computer Incs iTunes music store sold more than 30 million songs at 99 cents per song in its very first year.

The report quoted music industry analysts as saying that they expect online music to provide as much as a third of music industry sales worth several billion dollars within five years.

The average price of downloading per song/ album from the global virtual music stores is 99c/$1.99. According to Mr Dilip R Mehta, Saregamas new managing director, the company is looking for secured sites where consumers can download songs or albums by paying through credit card.