The Spotify For India, Saavn Brings Streaming Music Service To Feature Phones

Saavn, a startup that’s been called the Spotify for Indian music, has launched a J2ME mobile app, tailored for feature phone handsets from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, and Motorola. Saavn is also announcing six new languages for its iOS, Android and Web apps including Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, and Gujarati.

Saavn (which stands for South Asian Audio Video Network) is an ad-supported digital music service for Bollywood, Indian and regional South Asian music. The service allows users to create and listen to playlists for free; Saavn makes money via targeted display and rich media ad units for global advertisers. The platform is similar to Spotify in that it allows users to listen to Indian music on-demand and create and share playlists, and also adds an element of Pandora with a radio function. Users can create radio stations by song, and Saavn will show users similar songs to the initial track.

The company boasts the most comprehensive catalogue of Indian music, licensed from over 200 content providers. While the service is free, premium features include offline access and more. Saavn has 1million-plus tracks under license, which is 99% of the known catalog across Bollywood, regional, and devotional music.

For Saavn, which offers Facebook, iOS and Android apps as well, the move to Java devices is expected to grow users not only in India, where there are over 350 million J2ME handsets, but also in other countries where Indian music is popular, including Morocco and the Philippines. As Savvn explains, there are currently 350 million J2ME phones in India, while there are only 20 million smartphone devices in use.

Some of the core features in the J2ME app include an adaptive streaming algorithm (which streams music files over 2G connections from cell towers at max capacity; and real time pinging of cell towers to get strength of connection and stream appropriate quality of files

In addition to its popular apps for Android, iOS, the Web and now J2ME, the company is currently developing its music products for launch on Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile platforms.