Google India launched Google Music Search in India for Bollywood and related music on Friday. Google announced this on their blog with a brief explanation on features and facilities.
As a music lover and an occasional strummer, this news is nothing less than delightful. As a full time digital marketer, this news is much more than exciting.
Let me state the basic features of Google Music Search here and thereafter I will comment on the advertising part of the game. I heard that this thing was also called as Indic Music in Google labs. Firstly, the music search combines songs (and their searchable databases) from three sources; the Indian music site Saavn, In.com and India’s leading record label Saregama. These partners stream the songs directly on to user’s computer. Music can be searched by names of artists, movies, album, singers etc. The search algorithm also offers related music results, movies etc. There are advance search options which enable search from a certain era say 1980’s, or a combination of artists, for instance “Kumar Sanu Alka Yagnik” and many more.
Results can be sorted by date, by relevance and it also allows for search by time. A list of albums and their record covers are also featured on the home page which includes some recent launches, some classics etc, as you can in the first image.
One issue is that the search results are restricted to what is offered by the three sources. In some instances, I found that there may be more music available for playing online from traditional Indian music sites such as Smashits, Raaga, Dhingana, and Dishant.
What might be the purpose behind this? Different publications have given varied discourses on this. For instance, FastCompany mentions the launch of Indic Music with the headline “Google Launches Music Service…in India?”. I wonder why that question mark is there in the headline. Perhaps it’s an acknowledgement of the fact that music business in India is different than that of the US.
Digital Journal says “Google launches legal music search in India to combat piracy”. They also mention a study by Ernst and Young, which says that the total loss to the music industry in India is estimated to be $ 325 Million, of which optical disc piracy makes for a large chunk of $ 255 Million, internet piracy is $ 58 Million and cassette piracy is $ 12 Million.
Google’s own blog says that they receive millions of searches for Bollywood songs, latest and classic. They seem to serve the noble cause of letting people spend more time enjoying music than looking for it.
All this seems well intentioned, no doubt, but one can’t deny the fact that wherever there is Google, there’s got to be ads.
So I tried seeing where the ads are being shown and what types of ads are being shown. I find this question intriguing, because, the nature of the product is largely “music” and people aren’t going to search for ERP systems or insurance policies or automobile parts or diabetes related or Spas related information here.
So, my question is, will Google serve ads that are irrelevant to music queries?
Ah ha! Needless to say, I found them immediately. I typed in a long tail song query for a song that I used to like in my teenage. I did it deliberately since not many people would search for this song, and it has a higher chance of getting an not-so-popular ad. I searched and played the song, and this is what it looked like.
Now interestingly, if you play this song on Saavn itself, there is no ad. Even then, Saavn has used the ad space below to advertise itself. They are inviting people to check them out on Twitter
There it is. You can see the ad in the bottom part of the player. It’s worthwhile to mention that there aren’t too many of them, perhaps because Google launched this music only a couple of days earlier, but the ads are surely there. Yes, the ads are of all types. If you click on that ad, it takes you to this page.
Of course, the deal part of the Swank Unisex Salon has nothing whatsoever to do with the song name that I type. If anyone finds a relation, please tell me. The point is, a new avenue for advertising is now open, it’s called Google Music Search, India.
Let me also say that if you happen to click on the small (i) in the circle towards the bottom right corner of the ad, it takes you to the Google AdSense page. So there you go! More advertisement for Google AdSense as well, good going Google! You guys are great!
Mr Yusuf Mehdi, any ideas?