The “What and Why”
Between major search engines cracking down on copyright infringement, digital storage crunch and not everybody being tech-literate enough to look for and identify valid third-party (often illegal) download links to songs it was only justified when subscription based streaming services became the new black in India. As a clean, legal, easy-to-use solution to listening to your favorite songs without the hassle of a steep learning curve- it was no surprise when most of the big players in the Indian technology market wanted a share of the same.
Up until a few years ago, there was no international player in the country’s streaming services market. We had the likes of Hungama Music, Gaana and Saavn among the open-to-anyone-and-everyone options and Wynk Music mainly aimed at Airtel users with moderately good pricing and collection. In 2016 (albeit a year after Apple) Jio Music, another music streaming service aimed solely at Jio customers offered as a part of a premium package service changed the landscape as they initially started offering their services for free as a promotion to gather more customers.
In 2015, the big leagues stepped in. Apple announced its Apple Music streaming services being available in India in July 2015, and in April 2017 Google followed suit.
Here’s what there is to know about it
Google Play Music All Access: that’s a handful.
Currently offering 14 days free trial for unlimited streaming, the monthly subscription rate is ₹89. Whilst Apple Music’s Student plan does offer the streaming services at a cheaper rate at ₹60, it is not an offer everyone can avail; even for those who can- the offer is only valid for as long as you’re a student with a capping of 4 years. At ₹10 cheaper than the lowest rates previously offered by Indian market players like Saavn, Gaana and Wynk Music, it is already blowing the competition out of the water.
Needless to say, Google’s international presence comes with a vast collection of music, both regional and international.
Once you click on “Subscribe”, it’ll take you to a screen and prompt you to select what languages/regional music you like. You can select from Bengali, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telegu, Western and World. After this screen, you’re prompted to select your favorite artists so that they can give you better suggestions based on your choice. You can select one or more options from any of these screens or skip these process altogether if you want to go in unbiased. Once you’re finished, you are greeted at the homepage with popular hits, recommendations for you and the “I’m feeling lucky radio” which basically plays music based on your tastes along with a variety of other suggestions based on your collective Google products history like YouTube, Google searches etc.
The hamburger menu on the top-left corner provides with these tabs: Listen Now(which is basically the homepage), Top Charts, New Releases, Music Library (this is where you find all your saved music), Browse Stations and Settings.
In the Settings you can determine the quality and network over which you wish to stream or download your music.
As of April 2017, at ₹89 per month Google Play Music All Access seems to be the cheapest music streaming service available in India. While some may argue against it as Jio is currently offering a year’s worth of premium services for ₹99, it cannot be compared due to it still being in it’s promotional period. The earliest and arguably the biggest music streaming service- Spotify is yet to enter the Indian markets and therefore can’t be compared with these companies yet. We would love to see how they affect the Indian market if and when they decide to step in.
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