Apple Music India: Detailed First Impressions

After months of waiting, Apple Music is finally here. With a simultaneous launch across a 100 countries, Apple is really making a splash in the music streaming space. iTunes has long been the preferred destination for people looking to buy music, and Apple has had a huge catalogue, but the streaming business is a whole new game.

Enter the world of customised playlists, live radios, complex algorithms to learn what a user likes, and then offer similar music and so on. At the end, it also comes down to localisation. Music is far from a one size fits all ball game, infact, music is one of the most diverse mediums of expression, and Apple’s solution is to humanise it. Not rely on technology too much, but get real humans to curate music.

That said, here is a look at what Apple Music has to offer to the people of India. The subscription is far cheaper than the global eqvivalent of 9.99$, and is just Rs. 120 a month, with the family plan running Rs 190. This is just slightly more expensive than what Airtel’s Wynk, Saavn or the Gaana streaming services offer. However, the fact that it comes with a 3 month free trial, should be enough to get most people hooked, afterall it also brings the ability to download songs for offline listening, a must have for bandwidth cautious India.

Here is a first look at Apple Music India.

Once you start your 3 month trial, Apple asks you to pick a subscription. Post that you verify the purchase with Touch ID or a password, and you’re all set. Remember if you don’t cancel your subscription at the end of the trial, it will be automatically billed.

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At launch Apple will ask you about the kind of music you like, there are a few Indian-ised options, specially the Actors and Actresses bit, as that’s something very local, and music isn’t really consumed that way globally. You can also choose regional music like Punjabi or Tamil.
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Based on what you selected, Apple will populate a few playlist for you in the ‘For You’ tab.
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The Genres section also looks like a made for India service.
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In  terms of live radio, there is one Bollywood station and a Tamil station as far as local selections go. There are of course plenty of other Genre based stations playing international music. Apple relies on human curation more than algorithms, so perhaps it will take time ramping up selections, and we’ll see more options as time passes and the service matures.IMG_9408

As you would expect, clicking the radio button starts an endless loop of music. If you like a song, you can goto the iTunes store from within the now playing screen to buy it. You can also see the ‘Up next’ track.IMG_9409

Clicking on a Playlist gives you a little bit of information about it, the artist and so on. If you notice the first track, you’ll see that the phone icon is indicating that I already have that track in my library. Apple went though my collections and perhaps, has tried to learn more about what I like from there as well.
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Apple’s India specific playlists seem to come from ‘Apple Music India’ or ‘Apple Music Bollywood’.IMG_9411

From the now playing screen, while streaming, curiously you do not get the option to take the song offline.IMG_9412

You can only goto the iTunes store to purchase it, share it etc.

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However, when you see a list of songs, either in a playlist, or in the top charts sections and so on, clicking on the three dots at the end of the name of the track does give you that option.IMG_9415

While a download is in progress, you see a tab right under the Library/Playlists toggle.IMG_9416

Clicking that gives you a list of downloads in progress for offline listening. IMG_9417

That’s it. That’s a quick run through of Apple Music in India. If you are particular about your social media handle, make sure you choose a nickname in the profile section as soon as you start using the service. That’s used when you comment in the ‘Connect’ section.

Let us know what you think of Apple Music, and what it will do to competing services.

2 thoughts on “Apple Music India: Detailed First Impressions”

  1. / The reason for the box being smaellr is that the power supply is different for the UK it’s the one with three heads whereas the US it’s the smaellr one. And that’s cool. Is it 205 including Aramex charges? 0 1

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