With cheap internet on mobile, video streaming isn’t the only feature to prosper in the country. Listening to streaming music on-the-go has also become possible, with a plethora of options waiting to sign users up.
After a long wait, Spotify finally entered the Indian market, going up against established names like Gaana, JioSaavn and Amazon Prime Music among others. Most of these platforms are either paid, while some are available free with a few conditions.
Here’s a detailed look at where all these apps stand, what they offer, how much do they cost and what localised elements do the global brands offer that their local peers already have in their armoury.
How Are They Priced?
Amazon and Apple Music can only be accessed by signing up for their trials of 30 and 90 days respectively. For this, you’ll have to pay via debit/credit card, however, you can cancel anytime in this period. Amazon Prime Music comes as part of the Prime package of Rs 999 for one year (this includes Amazon’s video and quick delivery services). Apple Music costs Rs 120 per month, and it also has a Rs 190 family sharing plan.
Gaana, JioSaavn and Spotify are all available in free and paid versions in the country. For Spotify, this is the first time it is offering access to content for free, but it comes at the cost of ads that make frequent visits, asking you to go premium. Gaana for its Pro version is priced at Rs 99 per month and it’s the same with JioSaavn as well.
Spotify and Amazon Music offer a 30-day free trial while Apple Music offers a whole three months of streaming music without any restrictions. Gaana and JioSaavn’s free ‘premium’ subscriptions, on the other hand, are limited to 14 days.
Spotify is a lot more flexible, with plans costing as low as Rs 13 for a day’s use, while the regular monthly plan is kept at Rs 119/per month. You can also consider the 12-month offer, which has been discounted to cost Rs 1,198 for the duration. There’s also a Student plan, which is 50 percent less than the regular plan.
Where Can I Use Them?
Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn and Amazon Prime Music can be used on either Android, iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Windows PC. Not only does Apple Music works on all the aforementioned platforms, but it is also compatible with Apple Watch and MacBook/iMac.
It is worth mentioning that Gaana, Amazon Music and Apple Music are compatible with either Google Home or Amazon Echo smart speakers. These are supported by specially designed voice-based apps that need to be linked to your Google/Amazon account. Spotify doesn’t work on these devices in India right now.
You can either download their respective apps or make use of the desktop/web platform which is accessible via Google Chrome or Firefox-like web browsers. You just need to sign in with your Google/Facebook ID.
What Features Will I Get?
This is where you get your money’s worth. As you can see, Apple lists out all the features and benefits a paid user gets with Apple Music in the country. You get what you pay for and that’s clearly visible with some of the benefits that a user with a Student plan misses out on.
Compared to this, all other music apps promise high quality music, ad-free streaming and letting you download unlimited music for offline listening. In terms of content, Apple leads the pack with 50 million tracks catalogued in its library, while JioSaavn claims to have over 45 million.
Spotify, Amazon Music and Google Music have an estimated 40 million tracks on their respective platforms, and Gaana has around 30 million tracks.
There is a lot of curation stuff available with all these apps: Spotify has Daily Mix, which offers music depending on your preferences. JioSaavn also has ‘Daily Mixes’ on its platform and Gaana has ‘Made For You Mixes, which do more or less the same thing.
Local apps like Gaana and JioSaavn offer support for content in 16 languages, while the newbie Spotify is currently offering content in 8 Indian languages.
What We Think
Gaana and JioSaavn have a lot of content, and one of these also lets you access internet-based radio channels. They don’t cost a lot at Rs 99 per month and there are attractive benefits, for Jio users with JioSaavn as well as Gaana. Their content, however, is a mixed bag and safe to say that even the quantity might feel limited, especially for those who like music of all genres.
This is where Amazon, Apple Music and Spotify come up trumps, but their local catalogue is rather underwhelming. As for Amazon Music, it really needs to become intuitive to a user’s listening needs, especially when it is only available as a 12-month plan for Rs 999.
Apple Music and Spotify manage to be intuitive with flying colours. But these cost more than Rs 115 a month and that might not be affordable for many users who may be better off going for Gaana or JioSaavn.
Having said that, if you don’t have any issues with ads and don’t want to splurge on music, then Spotify’s free plan is a good bet, with an ever-growing library.