Monday, December 10, 2012

iTunes Store hits Indian shores



Apple has finally launched the iTunes store in India close on the heels of upgrading the iTunes software itself. Considering the fact that there are hardly any legal way to purchase music online in India, save for the Flipkart Flyte, it seems like there is not much competition for Apple but is that compelling enough to woo the price conscious Indian consumer.


It doesn't get simpler than this
Like all things Apple, accessing the iTunes store and purchasing songs are quite simple. Create an Apple ID and enter your credit card information, that's it. The interface is quite good and its easy to discover songs. The preview feature lets you listen to about a minute of the song. It is quite useful before you decide to buy a song. My latest hobby has been previewing songs :P

Competitive pricing
Apple has priced the tracks quite competitively. For a recently released Bollywood movie, each track costs Rs.12 and the entire album is yours for Rs.96. I believe this is about the same as the cost of purchasing the original CD. So why go all the way to shop, buy a CD, rip it, upload to iTunes library and then sync with an iDevice when you can do all this with just a click. Thanks to iCloud, songs purchased from iTunes store can be synced across the entire Apple family of devices automatically. All these convenience come with a clause, thou shalt not stray from thy iKingdom as all thou files are DRM protected (Update:Apple has stopped DRM protection on its songs since 2009). It might not sound like a deal breaker if you own a lot of Apple products but for the general population it might. (There are ways to bend these rules a bit, but you might have to google them up for yourself!)

Flyte
Flipkart does not not allow to preview the songs before you buy or does not allow to buy individual tracks. However, the same bollywood album was sold for Rs.72! Plus, the songs are not DRM-protected, so you actually own the songs you pay for. Ta Da! So it was a no-brainer for me and I finally purchased Dabbang 2 album from Flyte. You can either download the files one at a time directly or use the Flyte Download manager for bulk downloads. But the latter didn't work for me so I went ahead and downloaded the tracks individually. There are options to select the bitrate for each song. I naturally chose 320 kbps - maximum bang for the buck. Now its all Fevi Fevi Col se...Fevicol se :)

So what do you think about the iTunes India store and the pricing which definitely makes more sense than the $0.99 per track pricing (as in US). Is it better than Flyte or are there any other better online music store in India apart from these, drop in your comments.

Disclaimer: All ideas, thoughts or reviews published in this blog are my personal opinion and not that of my employer (Samsung).

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