Five years back, Saregama was struggling to sell CDs and was forced to shut its chain of stores, including the biggest one on Park Street in Kolkata which was a landmark. Another behemoth Music World chain was shut in the summer of 2013 as the business of music retailing could not cope anymore with digital delivery channels and piracy.
Saregama, erstwhile known as His Master’s Voice and Gramophone Co. of India, still had a huge repository of recordings locked up in its factory on Jessore Road on the outskirts of Kolkata. Managers came and went acknowledging the intellectual wealth of the company but no one knew how to cash it to revive the enterprise while its shares were trading at a little over Rs200 each a year ago.
Suddenly the leadership team hit upon the idea of Carvaan, an affordable speaker with pre-recorded music from the company’s own library to be sold to people living in digital darkness. When it was mooted at a review meeting, the idea appealed to Sanjiv Goenka, chairman of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka group, which controls Saregama but little did he know that Carvaan was going to be a game-changer.
The Carvaan Effect – Lets Get To The Numbers!
The sales of the jukebox are set to hit one million in the current financial year ending in March 2019 and Saregama has finally found a way to sell its repository of 300,000 songs, and the market is expanding beyond anticipated boundaries.
Reflective of Carvaan’s success, Saregama’s revenue has started to move up. In the March quarter, it clocked Rs105.37 crore in sales compared with Rs57.7 crore a year earlier—a jump of 83% led largely by sales of music. Net profit for the quarter rose more than four-fold to Rs21.45 crore from the previous year. For the full year, Saregama’s net revenue was up 66% at Rs345.61 crore, and net profit tripled to Rs30.51 crore.
As the firm seeks out newer customers, Carvaan is being tweaked to include features such as a personal playlist and the market has taken note. Saregama’s shares are now trading at around Rs 800 each, up from Rs 600 a year back.
The Smartest Carvaan Yet
It is hard to describe the Saregama Carvaan in one word. It does a lot of stuff. It is a radio and a Bluetooth speaker. It also holds within itself more than 5,000 songs and also offers instant access to 50-years’ worth of Ameen Sayani’s Geetmala shows. The Carvaan is available in multiple colors —Electric Blue, Porcelain White, Oakwood Brown, Cherrywood Red, Charcoal Grey, and Walnut Brown. The latest model- Carvaan Premium priced at Rs7,390 is perhaps an ideal gift for the parents who are learning the ropes of smartphone technology and Bluetooth streaming.
The uniqueness of the Carvaan has always been that it holds a wealth of music within it, and you don’t need to connect another source such as a USB drive or connect to the internet to get your fix of retro music. At present, Saregama offers a vast catalog of music from well-known artists including Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, R.D. Burman, Anand Bakshi, Gulzar, and Laxmikant Pyarelal.
For anyone who has listened to all that music while growing up, it is more than a blast from the past. There are now 130 dedicated music stations, compared with 80 earlier.
How Does It Work?
Apart from the slight design change and the extra content, the other aspect where the Carvaan Premium differs from the standard Carvaan is the ability to pair with the Saregama Carvaan. You download the Saregama Carvaan app (free for Android and iOS) on your phone, and when your Carvaan is paired and nearby, you simply stream music to it through the app. The Carvaan app on the phone has the entire collection of songs that are already there in the Carvaan Premium, but this makes it infinitely better to search, cue songs and more.