Two weeks ago, Google unveiled its music service, called Google Play Music All Access. The service is currently not available in India but plenty of alternatives exist. And when Google Play Music does come to India, it will offer another option in what is one of the fastest-growing music markets in the world.
So, if you want to buy music digitally, what choices do you have?
Apple, which started it all with its iTunes store in 2003, is an obvious option. It is the world’s largest market for digital music. If you like international music — what we in India loosely call “western music” — the iTunes store, which became accessible to Indians in December last year, is your best bet. It also has a good mix of music in Hindi and regional languages.
But be warned: some, though not all, tracks bought from the iTunes store will work only on Apple devices. You will not, for example, be able to play such music in your car. However, it does also sell music that can be played on other devices.
If you like Indian music — the genre includes Bollywood, devotional, classical, ghazals and regional music —Flipkart's digital music service Flyte offers you the greatest choice. The site has a wide range of international music as well.
You can buy music that can be played in your car, burnt to a CD, stored on a pen drive, or in your Android device/ iPhone to play anywhere. The prices are very competitive — tracks start at Rs 12 and albums at Rs 45.
Among music companies, Saregama offers digital music for sale but its repertoire is restricted to its own (admittedly massive) library. Sony Music also launched Sony Music Jive, which allows users to download songs from Sony Music's two-million song catalogue on its new range of Experia phone. The service is free for six months.
If you like India indie bands, then oklisten.com will offer you a fairly wide choice.
Prices start at Rs 15 for tracks and Rs 75 for albums.
However, if you don’t want to buy music but still want to enjoy your favourite tracks, visit sites like Gaana.com, Saavn.com, Jango.com or Hungama.com. You can listen to music for free, but have to be connected to the internet through the duration of the song or your playlist.
Gaana and Saavn now offer you the capability to download the music you like, if you sign up for their Pro Program, which starts at Rs 170 per month. But the moment your subscription is over, these songs may not play.