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Google Play Music launches subscription in India; Bugs

Update: I just subscribed to Google Play Music, and it seems to be buggy. Tried to play a few songs from the Indian catalog, and it doesn’t work. All I keep getting is, a message that says “Couldn’t prepare radio. Please try again”. On an artist page, “Music temporarily unavailable. Couldn’t play the stream you requested.”

When I tried a US based band, it worked perfectly. Google has bugs to fix.

Earlier today: Google Play Music has launched subscription in India, at a discounted subscription rate of Rs 89 per month, if users sign up within the next 45 days; there’s a 30 day free trial. This launch has happened six months after the service first went live in India. At that time, streaming of songs wasn’t enabled, and users could purchase songs via downloads.  Google Play Music is claiming to give access to 35 million songs in India, ad-free radio with unlimited skips, and the ability to listen to anything offline. Note that, we checked, and we didn’t see carrier billing as a payment option for subscribing.

As genres, it lists Bengali, Bhojpuri,Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Western and World.

Remember that this is not Google’s first attempt at music in India. Back in 2010, it had launched a music search and discovery service called Google Music, before shutting it down in July 2013. Note that Google Play Music was originally announced in May 2011, as an invitation-based beta service; it made a public launch in November 2011.

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Competition in India

– In early July 2016, 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 has been experimenting with original audio content: podcasts.
– Australian music service Guvera claimed in 2016 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 50 million downloads.
– Times Internet owned Gaana recently launched in 9 Indian languages. Google Play music only supports Engligh.

History of shutdowns in the music store/streaming space

-Nokia’s music store MixRadio shut down its service in March 2016, 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.
– 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 in 2012, 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.


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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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