After speculations back in July, Google has silently launched Google Play Music on PC and Android, its streaming and music store service in India. There was no official word on this from the company yet. The development was first spotted by Android Police. Users need to submit either their credit/debit card details to sign up. Note that currently users can only purchase songs via downloads as of now, the streaming feature is yet to be launched.
The Indian version currently lists songs across genres like Bollywood, devotional, ghazals, Indian-pop classical, kids, and International music (Rock, Metal, Pop, Hip-Hop, Jazz, etc.). This is broadly distributed across languages like Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi. It also lists Top Songs, Recommended tracks (probably based on a user’s YouTube searches or from existing songs on your list), New music, Top Albums. This signifies that the service lists tracks from both individual albums, and movie songs.
Play Music was originally announced in May 2011, as an invitation-based beta service; it made a public launch in November 2011. Currently the service claims to have more than 35 million tracks with a subscription fee of $9.99 per month. Outside India, the service offers unlimited streaming at $9 per month, a podcast service, family plan to share subscription with up to 6 users, and a free ad-supported version of the service.
It’s not yet clear if these features will be rolled out in India, MediaNama has written to Google India for a comment.
A spokesperson from Google told MediaNama that the service does not have a subscription package yet in India.
“Now you can download your favorite local and global music on Google Play in India, plus get free storage for up to 50,000 songs from your music collection. Currently these services are only available to users with international credit cards, but we’ll be expanding soon to additional forms of payment,” added the spokesperson.
Google Music discovery service shutdown
Note that Google had earlier shut down its music search and discovery service Google Music in July 2013, after launching it back in October 2010. At that time the company said “Given that we have a lot of legal music options for users now (raaga, gaana, in.com, saavn, dhingana, youtube etc) being featured on search, we felt we did not need a dedicated product for the purpose.”
Google-owned video streaming service YouTube had launched a paid service called YouTube Red which allowed users to watch videos without ads, original content and listen to music tracks. The service was initially available in the US for $10 per month. The company then premiered original content programs on YouTube Red in February; the first month of subscription was free of cost during launch. Gizmodo had earlier reported that YouTube red subscription will also give access to Google Play Music.
Competition in India
-In early July, Apple Music had launched in India and other countries at Rs 120 per month for individuals and Rs 190 per month for families, after a 3 month free trial.
-Saavn claimed in June that it has more than 20 million tracks and streams to 196 countries in 13 languages.
-Australian music service Guvera claimed to have 7 million users in India and a global user base of 14 million in June and was looking to file an IPO worth $56.7M.
–Bharti Airtel’s music streaming application Wynk said that it had crossed 25 million downloads playing 15 million songs daily as of July.
-Hungama claimed to have crossed 50 million monthly active users worldwide as of May.
– Times Internet owned Gaana claimed to surpass more than 28 million downloads with a user base of 15.2 million as of August 2015.
Some shutdowns in the music store/streaming space
-Nokia’s music store MixRadio shut down its service in March this year, after 17 years of operations.
-Music streaming service Rdio closed down its operations on December 2015 after it launched operations in India in January 2015.
-Interestingly, Rdio had acquired Dhingana’s operations in March 2014; Dhingana was shut down in February 2014
-Rediff had shut down its online music service Songbuzz, three years after it began in November 2009.
-Flipkart had also shutdown its digital music store Flyte Music in November 2013, just a year and half after it began in February 2012.