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Broadband links are changing music habits

Besides sites such as Saavn, Gaana and YouTube, there are online radio stations like Jango on which you can customise a station to your taste. N Madhavan writes.

india Updated: Sep 09, 2012 21:45 IST
N Madhavan
N Madhavan
Hindustan Times

Last weekend, I entered a music shop and found my boggled by the amazing value for money in some CDs. There was an entire Hindustani music collection spanning stuff from 1902 to 2010, and another that offered Bollywood’s musical history. Both were priced under Rs 2,000. I did a quick calculation and put it at Rs 3 a song — a steal, as it were.

But I did not buy anything. Now, the problem is that I would prefer to listen to music on my iPod, but I have no time or mood to rip the CDs and index it all. Instead, I just switch on my broadband connection or my mobile phone with an Internet link.

Broadband is changing the way we behave and the way we discover and catch songs.

Last week, I caught up with the songs from Barfi, a new Bollywood movie with a wonderful score, on and later, on YouTube.

The point is that the music experience for me — and for many others — has shifted from cost to convenience, and from storage to discovery. Buying and managing CDs is now a pain.

I can either buy songs on a per-piece basis on sites like or I simply can catch them on online radio stations.

I learnt about the music of Barfi on Twitter by a radio jockey friend.

Twitter and Facebook are places where people help you discover music — even old stuff. Archival stuff and rare collections are being uploaded, discovered and shared. I am in the thick of it.

Apart from sites such as Saavn, Gaana and YouTube, there are online radio stations like Jango on which you can customise a station to your tastes, even enabling a mixing of diverse genres.

Indian sites like or offer songs that you can stream to your convenience.

As broadband, especially on mobile handsets, becomes cheaper, streaming music will save people the bother of storing or indexing, and lets them choose stuff on impulse. It is all about convenience.

What’s more, there is software intelligence at work to track your taste based on social usage that reminds you of forgotten songs or tips you off on stuff you may like.

The explosion of independent artistes (Indies) on the Web helps you discover unheard of artistes or variations of old songs.

To confirm this new trend, last week, we had news that Apple is planning a service to rival Pandora by sending streams of music customized to users’ tastes. It is said to be working with record labels. When Apple does something like that, you know there is a big change happening.

First Published: Sep 09, 2012 21:42 IST