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Google Play Music finally takes on Apple Music and Saavn

LiveMint logoLiveMint 06-04-2017 Abhijit Ahaskar

Google is finally making the Play Music subscription service available in India, which allows users access to a full-fledged music streaming service on smartphones and PCs. The feature was earlier available only to users in select countries, including the US. Indian users can access the streaming service on the Play Music app on their Android phones, Apple iPhones and the Play Music website at a monthly subscription fee of Rs89, but this is an introductory price if you sign up for it before 18 May.

Google is offering a 14-day free trial to provide users with a hang of what it offers. It is likely to be compared to Apple Music and Saavn, which are also available on Android, iOS and desktop PCs.

Apple Music charges a slightly higher monthly subscription fee of Rs20 but offers three months of free trial. Saavn follows a slightly different model, where it has an ad-supported but free subscription or the more standard paid tier that costs Rs99 per month and provides the option to download music for offline access, removes advertisements and provides access to high-quality music playback.

Google is offering a 14-day free trial to provide users with a hang of what it offers.

A fine medley of Indian and international content

Google claims, Play Music provides access to 40 million songs without advertisements. It has great emphasis on Indian content when it comes to making suggestions. A lot of these will depend on what artists and preferred music genres you select during the time of setting up the app.

Music from Bollywood movies, Hindi albums and regional language movies is available in plenty. However, it is not lacking in international music. One can add any music to their playlist or download them for offline access.

Saavn, which offers 30 million songs, also lays more emphasis on content from Hindi and regional languages, even though it is not lacking in international music. Apple Music, which has over 40 million songs in its library, has beefed up its India content library but still has a lot of catching up to do with the likes of Saavn. When it comes to international music, Apple has more exclusive content by popular artists.

Play Music has a simple but colourful interface.

Integrated and simple layout

Play Music has a simple but colourful interface. The home page is divided into categories such as today’s Top Albums, Boosting your energy and College Jukebox.

The hidden panel on the right shows more conventional categories such as Recent, Top Charts, New Releases and Browse Stations. There is a category for your phone’s offline music gallery as well. The radio stations are mostly music based, so don’t expect news updates or live sports coverage.

Saavn has a more vibrant interface. The categories are distinctly marked with posters from albums or movies. The home page shows more categories such as Radio Stations, Top Songs, Hindi Chartbusters, English Chartbusters and New and Trending. As you scroll down, you can see the various music genres on the home page itself. While this crowds the homepage, it also provides a better idea of what all the service offers.

Apple’s Music’s homepage look a lot beautiful and refreshing. It shows Apple’s Music suggestions for users on top, followed by albums picked up by Apple based on your listening preferences. Each of these categories scroll sideways too, allowing the interface to accommodate more content. Apple has added an option where you can comment on music too. Apple Music also allows users to connect to radio stations, but the options are mostly limited to music-centric radio stations.

Also read: Apple Music for Android is finally catching up with iOS

Greater flexibility in settings

Subscribers of Play Music can also adjust the quality of music playback on mobile and WiFi network. This means users can switch to lower quality audio to save data on cellular connection. Saavn also allows users to choose the audio quality based on the connection speed, but doesn’t offer separate options for cellular or WiFi connection as Play Music does. Apple Music offers the option to download music only on WiFi, and the option to play music at lower quality on cellular connection. It also has an option to allow music with explicit content.

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