Calling All Student Entrepreneurs: Tell Us About Your Startup

GP Music Review: Will It Be Able To Save Itself Let Alone The Music Industry

|
Aug 12, 2015

GrameenPhone recently launched an online music distribution platform called GP music. It is available in app store and you can also visit their website here. To be correct, this is second of its kind in Bangladesh. We have seen Dugdugi to try to build a similar platform and die (well, Dugdugi was a better product though). No doubt, this is a good move on the part of GP because music industry in Bangladesh is at best broke. Although, there is enough reason to doubt GP Music’s ability to fix the problem, nevertheless, this is a big problem and right problem to solve.

It has increasingly become a global trend that big corporations are getting into unconventional and loosely connected fields to their own businesses. This is only logical thing to do once you need to stay relevant, innovative, and increase your business as a company. The world today is a lot different than it was in twenty or fifty years ago. However, when a big company starts a small window for a new business with a new business model, it often works opposite. We have seen GP to take over Cellbazar few years back and then screw it slowly.

However, when GP launches something it certainly creates a certain level of expectation in the market. Now, GP Music has finally made its way to the people, we can expect one of two things: it will fold like Cellbazar over the time or it will play other way around and win this time. Let’s have a closer look at how GP Music works and try to understand its depth.

A short walk: User

GP Music is a music download service. It let GP users to download music for a fee, around BDT 06 for per song. It is now available in app store. You can download the app and start exploring music. You can also go to the website and download. I have personally tried the website. Since I’m not a GP user, I could not download any track. Nevertheless, the web performance can’t be rated as great. It is mediocre.

In short, this is largely a paid downloading service for GP users only where you can download music of your choosing by paying a small fee. You have to remember, this is no streaming service. You can’t listen to music online. Even, not by paying for doing so.

gp music
GP Music | Screenshot 01

You can find few options now: 1) featured albums: which is actually the home page. You can find all the albums here. 2) There is a list of top albums, around 109 albums are listed here 3) there are few free tracks that you can download for free. Then again you have to be a GP user and you can’t listen to these tracks on the website. 4) And finally there is ‘My Library’ which is home for individual registered users. If you are a GP music user you will have a library where you can store your downloaded songs and revisit.

In short, this is largely a paid downloading service for GP users only where you can download music of your choosing by paying a small fee. You have to remember, this is no streaming service. You can’t listen to music online. Even, not by paying for doing so!

From a user perspective, these are the major shortcomings of the services: the platform is not user-friendly, if we consider other services. It is relatively a close platform, not only that it is only for GP users, even for GP users it does not offer anything other than a downloading service against a fee. The platform is slow and it does not allow you to do anything else. There is an option for preview listening and it is impossible to understand when it starts and ends! The home page is crowded with too many album covers and one shall feel helpless. The design is mediocre.

But despite its shortcoming, there is a realistic chance that GP music will succeed. If only it acts.

It is relatively a close platform, not only that it is only for GP users, even for GP users it does not offer anything other than a downloading service against a fee. The platform is slow and it does not allow you to do anything else. There is an option for preview listening and it is impossible to understand when it starts and ends. The home page is crowded with too many album covers and one shall feel helpless. The design is mediocre.

A Short Walk: Musician

gp music
GP Music | Screenshot 02

Bangladesh music industry is in pain. Widespread piracy has taken it to the edge. If we really want our music industry to survive, we must do something. It is true, there is no way we can stop piracy once and for all. But we can create alternative and there are people who are willing to pay for that. But the alternative has to be up to the mark. When people are paying for a service that he/she can get for free, you must understand the expectation.

GP music could be that alternative. Let’s see what GP Music offers for a musician.

Two sentences: it does not offer much. We don’t know much.

Let’s start with uploading music to the platform. As a musician you can’t do it yourself. Even there is no mechanism to do that! What you will have to do is: you will have to get in touch with one of GP’s associate record labels/content aggregators to host your songs at GP Music. Unfortunately, there is no list of associate record labels/content aggregators.

Most importantly, GP Music is surely selling songs of a Musician. The question is: why it doesn’t deal with the musician directly instead of creating a third party system by asking musicians to come via a record label or aggregator? Copy right is an already screwed up issue in this country and GP music must not play with it if it aims to go big.

Overall, GP music should be a more open platform. While the world is becoming more open, collaborative and when sharing economy is taking over almost every industry, this control and lake of access is just too bad a limitation for a service like GP Music.

Let’s start with uploading music to the platform. As a musician you can’t do it yourself. Even there is no mechanism to do that! What you will have to do is: you will have to get in touch with one of GP’s associate record labels/content aggregators to host your songs at GP Music. Unfortunately, there is no list of associate record labels/content aggregators.

Money Talk

It will cost you around BDT 6 for downloading a song, which it definitely higher if we compare it with physical album, CD price. A physical album costs us around BDT 50-70 and it gives more than one thing. Whereas technology is here to make things cheaper and faster, GP music does not prove that. Song cost on per song should be reduced.

On the other hand, there is no mention of how much the platform is going to pay to Musicians for per song. Other streaming services, including Apple Music, around the world pay around 71% of the total revenue to the copy right owner of a song. It is not clear how much a musician will get for per song and who will own the right of a song. Although, at this stage we can’t call GP Music a streaming service, still it should pay a significant amount to the musicians.

Discover

Music discovery and user experience have to be excellent to make GP music work because piracy is always a cheap option and people will definitely go for it. To succeed, GP music will have to offer more than one thing. It has to make the platform more open for users and musicians both, and it has to make it more interactive by letting people to create playlist, listening to free tacks, and include streaming service as well.

GP Music now is a creepy product. It is slow, old school style, and it is ambiguous. There is nothing much to do. You just go and download a song. It neither satisfies a music lover nor specifies how it is going to help musicians. It has to evolve.

It would be too much an expectation if GP Music expects all of its users to use it for only downloading music and that's also for the sake of saving music industry. You need a solid product that can fight other similar services. Even Doridro.com let you listen to song before downloading for free!

GP Music other operator
Sorry! You are an outsider!!

You can only control death

Today, the world is such that your efforts to control something only increases odd of either losing or killing it. We hope GP music does not take that road. GP music is creepy, it is slow, closed, not user friendly, and not collaborative but still it is there to solve a significant problem we have. Chance is that, majority of people who will be using GP music never downloaded music by paying for it before! That is one hell good things to happen to the music industry.

The problems that GP music has all are fixable and it does not take much to turn it into a killer product. But it does surely take speed, willingness, and foresight. Gp made mistake with Cellbazar. Hence, it killed the service. We can hope GP learned something from that experience.

Overall, GP music should be a more open platform. While the world is becoming more open, collaborative and when sharing economy is taking over almost every industry, this control and lake of access is just too bad a limitation for a service like GP Music.


Register to read this article in full and more insight articles!

By registering, you will be signed-up for an account which gives you access to our premium stories published a few times a week and archives of all our premium stories. You will also receive a daily newsletter sent to your inbox. To unsubscribe, please visit the profile section in your account. We have a strong privacy policy. We will never share or sell your data to anyone.

What you get
In-depth actionable analysis

In-depth analysis on startup, business and technology scene in Bangladesh that you would not find anywhere else.
Daily and weekly newsletter
Get our daily and weekly newsletter with our most important stories directly to your inbox.
Join the conversion on this article and more on our public Telegram Group
Ibrahim works as an Intern at FS. He takes interviews, writes features, and meets entrepreneurs and makers and doers.

In-depth business & tech coverage from Dhaka

Stories exclusively available at FS

About FS

Contact Us

Shares