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Now, watch live concerts on mobile phones

Last updated on: July 13, 2011 14:12 IST

Now, watch live concerts on mobile phones

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Priyanka Joshi in Mumbai

Intense competition compels handset makers to invent applications, such as this real time interaction with artiste.

Handset major Nokia, along with digital content provider Hungama.com, is readying a mobile application (app) that will bring music concerts to users' mobile devices.

Live concerts when streamed live to web-enabled devices like notebooks, netbooks or cellphones, are termed webcerts. Hungama.com has done about 15 such webcerts with artists like Vishal-Shekhar earlier this year.

While Nokia did not give details about when the app would be released, Viral Oza, marketing director, confirmed, "We are working on an app called Nokia Smart Night that will be available for free on the Nokia app store for Symbian 3 (models such as E6, X7 and C6) and S60 (includes Nokia N95, N76 and E90 Communicator) platform users."

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Older Nokia handsets that run on the S40 (including the C2 series) platform might have to wait. The company plans to first launch the app for smartphone users and later for its feature phone users.

The Nokia Smart Night app will come pre-loaded with webcerts from Hungama.com and  have one live artist every month, to begin with.

"We have an understanding with Nokia for the first six months. After that, we would be happy to evaluate other  vendors or modes of distributing our webcert property," says Neeraj Roy, managing director and CEO of Hungama.com.

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Photographs: Nokia/Handout/Reuters
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Since it's a 'concert on web', what about the quality of sound? Roy says: "We have a noiseless sound conversion technology at the back-end that ensures live performances will sound exactly as they need to on mobile or online. Also, the performances are recorded indoors, so we have control over the sound quality."

In India, where average mobile network connection speeds were at 61 kbps in 2011, how good would a live music-video app be? Roy counters: "Just as mobile voice service is a necessity for the 750 million mobile subscribers, we have seen mobile data, video and TV services fast becoming an essential part of consumers' life."

Roy's company also runs www.artistaloud.com, a platform for independent artists to showcase their talent, and has been piloting the concept of webcerts with Indian music bands.

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Going Ahead

Roy and Oza underscore that Nokia's app, to soon launch with the live webcert of Shankar Mahadevan, is built to allow users to interact with the artist in real time and even request favourite songs while the concert is live.

Roy details, "The video app is designed to allow users to socialise with friends and artists during the webcert. This feature is what will set the app apart from video streaming apps found today."

Experts note that intense competition is compelling handset makers to enhance the application ecosystem and invent products.

Probably a reason for Nokia, with 49 per cent of the handset market (Deloitte data), to turn to apps like Smart Night to engage discerning users.

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"In the smartphone market, applications will be a key differentiating factor," claims Frost & Sullivan's latest report, titled 'The mobile handset and smartphone market in India'.

It adds, "For the mobile handset market, the rural market offers exciting prospects due to its significant uptake of feature phones. The rural and semi-rural markets accounted for 65 per cent of sales for most Indian manufacturers in FY2010."

A survey conducted by Mig33, a mobile social entertainment service with a little over 40 million registered users, also underlines the need to engage the tier-II and tier-III city user base.

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"Since internet access in tier II & III towns is restricted to mobile and cyber cafes, more than 50 per cent users spend over 30 minutes using the internet on mobile," states the report.

Earlier, music composer duo Vishal & Shekhar had partnered Hungama and Airtel for a live mobile music concert played live on mobile and internet.

The digital concert clocked a little over 50,000 viewers online from across the globe and 100,000 listeners on the mobile platform.



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