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Get Twaang’d!

SUBHA J. RAO
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MUSIC An app that allows you to listen to Indian music, on the move

ARE YOU TWAANGING?I am, says musician Pravin Godkhindi
ARE YOU TWAANGING?I am, says musician Pravin Godkhindi

You’re walking in London’s Hyde Park when you’re seized by the memory of a Carnatic number you listened to as a child. It’s not stored in your iPod, but you want to hear it immediately. That’s why, Twaang.

Twaang, soft-launched on September 19, is a mobile-based music streaming service that provides legal, quality music on demand, via Wi-Fi and 3G/4G. The free app is available on Android smartphones. It allows users access its content, spanning various genres of Indian music. You can search for a song, and listen to it in real time, wherever you are. You can even create your own playlist stacked with your favourites or choose the app’s recommended playlist. The app can do everything your music player does, but it provides access to a larger library.

The app focuses on Carnatic and Hindustani music and Indian fusion. They do have a good collection of Tamil and Malayalam film songs, but their USP remains desi music.

The minute news of Twaang’s soft launch went up on Facebook, the requests poured in. Bangalore based f riends and Twaang co-founders Vishnu and Shirish Hirekodi have already sent out about 30 beta invites. Initially, the app is on invite only. Once it is fully up and running, it can handle “tens of thousands of users,” says Vishnu.

Once it picks up, the founders, both software engineers, plan to bring in a paid, advertisement-free model as well, next year. This will co-exist with the free model and its users will have the option of streaming music offline too. Listeners will also be able to purchase the tracks through the app.

As for Twaang’s origins, the setting was not exactly Hyde Park. It happened sometime in March in the midst of one of Bangalore’s infamous traffic snarls. Vishnu forgot his iPod back home and had to settle for the radio. He found a song that he loved, but there was a loud RJ to contend with. That’s when the idea of an app for mobile music struck him.

“I always realised that it was difficult to find good music on demand. Even in your own music player, the sounds are limited. You can only listen to what you have, not what you want.”

It helped that both he and Shirish had a huge collection of Indian music — classical, fusion, and folk. They got in touch with record labels, artistes and brought them on board. “We had many brainstorming sessions. We ran a few ideas past each other. We came up with prototypes…” says Vishnu.

Interacting with the artistes was “pleasantly surprising”. They’ve now tied up with Shubha Mudgal and flautist Pravin Godkhindi, among others. The musicians create music and give Twaang the recording. They get a share of revenues.

Godkhindi, known for his Hindustani and fusion music, even sent them a photograph of his that said: ‘I’m on Twaang’. Musicians are very interested in the app. It breaks barriers and assures visibility. Compared to the conventional model, the cost and logistics involved are far lesser, says Shirish. In the near future, Twaang also wants to be a launchpad for new artistes and independent musicians.

SUBHA J. RAO

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