Flipkart to shut down Flyte and the reason is not piracy

Flipkart_Flyte_GooglePlayFlipkart’s digitial store called Flyte when launched looked like a hopeful breakthrough in India digital market. It was being touted as the piracy killer. Today Flipkart sent out emails to users that it will be shutting down Flyte. The Flyte store will be closing down on June 17.

If you are using Flipkart’s Flyte then there are two important dates to remember. First is June 17. That is the day the Flyte store will stop allows users from purchasing MP3s and books.

The next important date is August 18 when users will not even be able to download MP3s from their digital library.

I caught some tweets lamenting Flipkart’s Flyte being a victim of India’s penchant for piracy. But there are actually deeper reasons than the anecdotal idea, that India is not a market that is ready to buy their music legally. The reasons are probably a lot more old fashioned and the name of that reason is ‘competition’.

What killed Flipkart’s Flyte?

India is not really against buying music online. India is a country where people spend a lot of money on caller tunes. This is a form of buying digital music too. So why are people not lining up to make purchases on Flyte?

It is difficult to pin the exact answer as I am not privy to the inside workings of Flipkart. But selling music is not just about creating an online store. It is about working out deals with music companies and offering them lucrative revenues.

In India, the music industry is not exactly independent from the movie industry. This is because much of the mainstream popular music in India is from movies. In a way it means anyone selling music in India has to have tie-ups with the big movie producers and studio too.

Flipkart has major competition there from the likes of Apple which has recently started selling Hindi music and movies. There is competition from Google’s Play store which is also renting out latest Hindi movies. The fact that these companies are staying invested means they believe India as a market is ready to pay for online content.

This is where Flipkart simply might not have had the leverage that Google or Apple might have. It also might not have the deep pockets to stay invested in an immature digital market of India.

It is sad to see the demise of Flyte but it is probably not a case of pirates killing the pirate killer but the case of competition from bigger companies.

Special thanks to Varun Krish who tweeted about Flyte store closing down.

What are your thoughts on Flipkart’s Flyte store? Do drop in your comments.