Only a few years ago, you would be busy on weekends compiling your playlist by downloading song from websites like beemp3, songs.pk or even mp3skull. Right?
Over the years the number of Indian visitors on these sites has seen a radical drop, all because of the introduction of satellite radio and a considerable number of music streaming apps.
Apps like Saavn, Google Play Music, Gaana and Wynk have been flourishing in the Indian market for a long time. Access to cheap data plans has given people the option to stream music rather than store it in their smartphones.
Now there’s a new player in town, Amazon Music, looking to make its mark in an already crowded market.
But, is the app really good enough to compete with the existing music streaming apps in terms of music library and quality? Also, is it a ‘paisa wasool’ investment?
This Library Needs to be Loud!
Amazon Music has an extensive music library consisting of songs in more than 10 languages including Hindi, English, Malayalam and Tamil. The app has partnered with big music labels like Zee Music and T-series.
Though Amazon didn’t mention the exact number, the company says that it has “more than tens of millions of songs” available to users.
Google Play Music has nearly 40 million songs in multiple languages, though regional content isn’t one of its strong suits.
Of the three, Gaana seems to be the most desi music streaming app. It has more than 10 million songs with more support for regional content – almost 21 languages!
Amazon is still working to develop its library further. However, you’ll find what you’re looking for on Amazon. Eventually!
Not All About the Music
It’s not always about what kind of or how many music tracks a music app has. One has to also consider how user-friendly the interface of the application is.
The new Amazon Music app has several features which are inspired from existing music apps like Saavn and even Gaana, like the online radio stations, customised playlists and a standard music player.
So, since the Amazon app has learned from the best in the market, it’s one of the best out there.
Google Play Music went through a revamp, which makes the app look much more user-friendly and intuitive. It recommends music based on locations and mood and that, I think, is its big USP.
Still, not as good enough as the other two options.
Based on the interface, Gaana seems to be giving the Indian audience what they want in terms of choice of music (a lot of Indian music). Though, recommendations on the app see a lot of repetitions in terms of content, therefore it’s good that they keep updating their catalogue frequently.
Amazon Music provides recommendations based on listening experience and what I really like is that it doesn’t frequently repeat content . The app changes the genre of music consistently to suit the user, a function which some of the users prefer.
That Little Extra...
I like the convenience of just picking up my smartphone and telling it what music I want to hear instead of typing the same (not lazy, just smart). Apps like Gaana and Amazon Music allow this, thanks to their voice assistant integration.
Where Gaana has just added a voice assistant, which works exactly like the Google Assistant feature in your smartphone, Amazon Music makes use of the Alexa voice assistant to play music.
Google Play Music uses Google’s voice assistant, hence, it doesn’t need a voice assistant of its own.
Just FYI. Since voice assistants are still learning the way we speak, don’t always expect accurate results.
What Really Matters in the End: How Much?
And finally, it all boils down to one thing. How much does one have to pay to avail all the services from these music apps?
The biggest drawback of Amazon Music is that it’s not free (not even for streaming)! To have access to the Music app, you need to have an Amazon Prime membership, which costs Rs 999, annually.
BUT... with an Amazon Prime subscription you are not only getting access to unlimited songs, which you can also download, but also to Amazon’s exclusive delivery services and to Amazon’s video streaming services via Amazon Prime Video. That’s a 3-in-1 deal for Rs 999!
Both Gaana and Google Play come with monthly subscriptions of Rs 99 (Gaana also offers an annual subscription for Rs 999) but don’t offer the other exclusive services as Amazon does.
Some things that pinch about Amazon Music is that it offers support only for two devices while Google Play and Gaana offer more. Also, Amazon doesn’t have a monthly plan for the its music app, but again, that’s not a deal breaker for me.
So, for the people who are “part time” music listeners and don’t really want to subscribe to annual packages for music, Gaana is a good choice, considering it offers monthly subscription plans which you can discontinue anytime.
However, for the ones who really want to make the most of their investment and don’t mind investing Rs 999 in a year for Amazon’s multimedia services, an Amazon Prime subscription has you covered for 365 days.
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)