Reliance Jio has pulled its enormously popular Jio Music app and replaced it with JioSaavn, a new app based largely on Saavn, a competitor that the company had acquired in March.
Users who have enabled auto-updating of their apps will be upgraded to the new application automatically.
With over 100 mln (10 cr) downloads, Jio Music was ranked at No.26 on the Google Play store. It was also the No.1 Android app in the Music & Audio category in India, while Saavn was at No.9 with over 50 mln downloads.
Jio Music was able to achieve its status of being the most downloaded music app in India thanks to the strong backing provided by Reliance Jio, India’s biggest mobile data provider with over 250 mln subscribers.
However, in terms of usage, it is believed that rival Gaana from the Times Group was at No.1.
The merger of the two apps, however, is likely to upset the rankings again.
Jio Music had a simpler interface compared with most of its competitors — a factor that, along with its pricing, helped it attract users.
The new JioSaavn app that replaces it, however, looks more like the Saavn app.
Nevertheless, there are some crucial differences between Saavn and JioSaavn, especially in functionality.
For example, with Saavn, one had to purchase a paid account to be able to download the songs and play it locally.
However, the new JioSaavn app has an option to download and keep the songs, avoiding costly network usage for frequently listened to content, and is more like JioMusic.
The earlier Saavn app also used to have ads on its interface, unlike JioMusic, which was built on the principle of paid subscription.
However, the new app no longer has ads on its interface.
On the negative side, Saavn (and JioSaavn) seems more geared towards a Hindi-speaking audience.
Jio Music, on the other hand, catered to all languages more or less equally. There were, for example, curated playlists from different eras, music directors, singers and so on in each language.
These were also easily and prominently visible on the home page, as long as the user chose the correct language in the settings.
In our tests, we are yet to locate those playlists in non-Hindi languages on the new app. Playlists are crucial to driving usage as listeners are unlikely to pick up the phone, search for their favorite song and play it after every three minutes.
Interestingly, Jio is offering a 90-day trial of JioSaavn Pro membership to all its telecom customers.
It is not clear what the Pro membership will bring.
Earlier, upgrading to a paid account used to remove the ads on the interface and also additional features like downloading.
With both of those features already present on the ‘regular’ app, it remains to be seen what the extra features of the Pro membership are. One likelihood is support for higher quality downloads and streaming.
Jio Music used to allow all its customers to download and listen to music at up to 320 kbps.
JioSaavn could also have content that is available exclusively to premium members.
Details of the fees for the Pro membership are not available at present.
It is also not clear whether Jio users would get complementary Pro membership after the trial.