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Music Streaming Startup Imagine Radio Launches With Ambitious Goals

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Dec 19, 2018

Music is a big opportunity. I understand that it is hard to believe if you look around the struggling musicians and the overall music industry in Dhaka. This is a worldwide phenomenon. But that’s exactly why music offers such a big opportunity to explore. Opportunity follows the challenges and broken industries. Some of the biggest startups and most loved products are built around music.

This is where Imagine Radio comes in, a new on-demand audio streaming startup that aims to build a platform for musicians and artists while offering an exciting experience to music listeners. The startup was launched on 17th December 2018 in Dhaka in a launch event held at DevoTech Technology Park office and participated by musicians and industry insiders.

Imagine radio plans to offer an excellent listening experience to its users. A large variety of music collection. Original programs and contents. More freedom and options to make playlist according to their tastes. It has big plans to empower musicians and allow them to distribute their songs directly to listeners with a host of other services specially designed for musicians and artists.

Imagine Radio app is available in both Android and iOS platforms, listeners can download and start listening. Imagine plans to launch a full-featured desktop application soon. For now, the app is free for all, albeit supported by ads. The startup plans to offer a subscription service over the time.

Imagine claims to have over 10 million local and international music tracks and thousands of playlists by moods, lifestyle, activities on its platform. The startup also said it has signed over 150 Bangladeshi musicians and bands whose music would be available on the platform.

What you need to know

  • In simple, Imagine Radio is a music streaming service that connects musicians and music listeners. Like any streaming service, it buys copyrights or partner with content owners and helps distribute the content to users and share the proceeds in the form of royalty. For the sake of further simplifying, it is a two-sided marketplace where on one side there is musicians and artists and on the other side listeners.
  • Imagine aims to offer an exciting experience to its users powered by AI and other technologies. It claims to have built an excellent recommendation engine capable of understanding the taste of a user and recommend music accordingly.
  • Listeners can create a playlist according to their taste, personal preferences, and routines and moods.
    The musicians and artists will be paid royalty based on mutual agreement and they will also receive loyalty based on the popularity of music. It also plans to offer a host of benefits and services for the musicians including per-stream royalty, a dedicated dashboard for musicians and labels, audience analytics, dedicated profile section for musicians, and marketing services. All these services are free for the musicians, at least for now.
  • It plans to offer services to upcoming and independent musicians, artists and bands for an album release, promotion, brand consultation, copyright, and other related areas.
    It says it wants to build a community of artists and creators and allow them to take their music to the listeners.
  • Imagine also has its own studio and plans to produce original shows, albeit related to music, and explore other content formats over the time.
  • Business model wise, the platform is free for the listeners, for now. Anyone can download the app and start listening. It plans to monetize through advertising.
  • Over time, it has plans to build an ad-free subscription business.
  • Imagine has raised investment from a group of investors and is in the process of closing the round.

Why it matters

Audio has a big future, as I mentioned earlier. It gets even clearer when you consider mobile as a platform and the time people spend on the commute and with their hand held devices these days. A streaming service that offers excellent entertainment experience certainly is a fair bet to fill all these gapes and silos of time in the lives of modern people.

However, the job to fill-up men’s idle hours would not be any easier for Imagine. It will have to offer something brilliant to own that space in people’s mobile phones because there are other competing entities that are also after the same space and attention.

To that end, the success of Imagine will depend on its ability to attract and retain listeners/users, not the musicians and artists. This is a classic case of the distribution business in the age of internet where customer is the most important component and distributors, who can aggregate enough users, are more powerful than the owners. It seems that team Imagine is well aware of the challenges ahead.

Cover photo: Imagine Radio’s founders, COO Ahmed Rakib, Chairman Raihan Shamsi, and CEO Shahriar Shahid speaking at the launching event (from left to right)| Photo by Imagine Radio team


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Ruhul Kader is a technology and business analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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