Yesterday when I went to get a song from Flipkart’s mp3 selling business Flyte, I could not find it on the main site. A little searching got me the song that I wanted but also gave me the information that Flyte is going to shut down on June 17, 2013.
This is in less than 3 weeks! On the site it is simply mentioned “due to business reasons”.
It is mentioned that people who have money left in their Flyte Wallet should spend it by June 17, 2013. Although, even if you do not do that, Flipkart would simply refund it back to you so it is not a major concern.
The songs however are available till August 18, 2013. This gives a person about 60 days after closing of the selling service to download all the songs that are present in the store. This seems a good time period for people like me who have over thousand songs in Flyte (am I the only one?).
I did a little digging and found out that the operating cost of the whole infrastructure was becoming more than the sale they were achieving through it. Flyte could thus never achieve profitability.
Considering this it is amazing how long Flipkart stuck with Flyte and tried to maintain and create the market. With such low prices, I had expected enough people to leave behind piracy to at least sustain business but this proves me wrong.
The root cause of this is that people feel no stigma attached to piracy. In fact, recently, I had a weird experience. A friend of mine lamented the fact that someone was stealing his copyright material. This is a friend who is very vocal supporter of piracy and seems to think nothing wrong with it, until it happened to him.
I don’t think his habits would change though and something similar happened with Flipkart too. It could not change people’s habit of not paying for the songs at all. It is very disappointing to see this for me as I had more than once admired Flipkart for taking on such ardent task.
For those who actually invested something in Flyte, it is time to take your songs out of there as they would not be present in the Flyte Library after August 18, 2013.
After this, the only viable source for buying the songs in India is iTunes which was launched sometime back. Maybe iTunes could change what Flipkart failed to do.
After all, iTunes do have the experience of doing it in the US market. Let’s see if they sustain or wither away as well.