Saregama India Ltd has launched the first exclusive online music store by an Indian firm. The store claims a repertoire of 4.76 million songs with the oldest recorded Indian music dating back to 1902. The store is going live with 40,000 tracks initially. The tracks, downloaded for Rs 12 each, will come with information on everything connected to the song, that is names of singers, music director, lyricist and star cast.
Saregama was earlier known as the Gramophone Company of India Ltd (GCI). It was the only recording company in the country until the 1970s, until Polydor India Ltd emerged. The company is building on its existing repository for the website by acquiring vending rights for music published by other companies.At the outset, Saregama helped itself to the music bank of Electrical and Musical Industries Ltd, (EMI), which is the parent company of GCI in UK. It spent 6 months in London copying 4000 old tracks recorded between the years 1902 and 1911
RPG Enterprises acquired the management control of GCI in the mid-1980s. Since 2001, the company has been converting music recorded in analogue mode to digital tracks. About 300,000 songs have been converted so far.
Currently, there are only two portals legally offering Indian music downloads for a price, which are Indiatimes and Singapore based Soundbuzz. Neither player has the depth of Indian music Saregama will offer.