Sequoia funded Guruji.com has launched a music search service. The release claims the service indexes songs ranging from 1932 till date, across all ‘major’ Indian languages. I put it to the test by throwing names of classical Indian artists from a 2003 recording and was pleased to find it threw up an average of 5 results for each name. The service has three user generated categories segmented according to popularity (Top Songs, Singers and Albums) as well as a personalization feature called My Favourites. The meta-data mined for the songs itself is fairly impressive, current hits like this one even include formatted artists names and details on the movie.
The service seems to be already posturing for a ‘safe harbour’ by merely indexing and redirecting to files but not hosting them. Regular CS readers will remember In.com’s music service, except where Web18’s horizontal had signed up for indexing content from pre-dominantly international labels, this fills the gap for indigenous music. While the benefits to the user are obvious, I can’t help but wonder how invaluable a service this can be for a T-Series (or Hungama) to detect unlicensed hosts. What matters is if the service manages to gain enough traction to become a blip on the radar of the current industry licensing regime. This does fall under a grey area since Guruji is merely mining content already available elsewhere. A content owner could start by popping out the hosts themselves, provided they are hosted in India. Going by the way the RIAA deals with such disruption, one would expect them to strike hard to make an example (and possibly risk more media attention to the service.) Will they sue? Will they partner? Will they ignore it completely? Days Without Incident (1).