One of the most popular online portals to buy music,Flipkart’s Flyte store,will close down on June 17. In a statement,Flipkart has blamed piracy and the lack of easy micro-payment options (for transactions as low as Rs 6) for leading to the closure of the service. The move comes just over a year after the service was launched; Flyte clocked around 25 lakh downloads in this period. Another reason for Flytes closure could be the competition in this space.
A large share of downloaded music in India comes from illegal sources. Piracy thrived for years due to the lack of good legitimate alternatives. However,a growing number of services offer music for free (with ads) or at a nominal cost,prompting a change in that trend.
Apple iTunes,the world’s biggest digital store for music and movies,was launched in India last year and is popular thanks to the growing number of Macbooks,iPads and iPhones in India. In the US,songs cost 99 cents (Rs 54) each,but here each song costs around Rs 12 and most albums cost between Rs 70-90. Another advantage is that all songs have proper tags (name,track number,artiste name,etc),which makes sorting very easy. All songs are free of Digital Rights Management (DRM) so you can copy them to other devices after purchase. Windows users need to download iTunes (apple.com/itunes) to access the store. The software is easy to navigate and works well on older machines too. The store only accepts credit cards as of now,but users have reported that iTunes has accepted payments from some debit cards.
Operators and Manufacturers
Nokia Music is among the most popular services in India,thanks to the manufacturer’s large market share. Most Lumia and Asha phones come with a free subscription for three months to a year. Users can also buy subscriptions at Rs 50 for a week,Rs 99 for a month and Rs 250 for three months. Vodafone and Idea users can get the subscription fee added to their phone bills. Similarly,Sony Music is available to Xperia phone and tablet owners. The subscription is free for three months,and includes unlimited downloads and streaming.
HP Connected Music is available to those who buy the firm’s Windows 8 laptops. It has unlimited music downloads and streaming for a year,and the catalogue is huge as the company has partnered with Hungama (popular music streaming service) and Universal Music.
In case none of these services are available on your phone,operators such as
Airtel offer music and videos for as low as Re 1 per song.
Web,iOS,Android,WAP (feature phones)
With a database of 10 lakh tracks,Saavn’s catalogue includes Bollywood,Malayalam,Tamil,Telugu,Marathi and Gujarati music,among others. It also has a decent collection of international artistes. Saavn apps are fairly simple to use. You can create and save playlists and the app doubles up as an online radio. A drawback with free apps is advertisements. While switching tracks,ads crop up,which can be very annoying. To get rid of these ads,users can buy a subscription to Saavn Pro,which costs Rs 220 per month. The service also lets you download music to your smartphone or tablet,but you cannot copy it to other devices. You can opt for a 30-day trial before signing up for a Saavn Pro subscription. The app didn’t freeze while streaming content and music searches were spot on.