How to Buy Songs Online in India

How to Buy Songs Online in India

Whenever someone talks about music on the go, chances are they’re using a music streaming service like Spotify, Saavn, or Gaana.

Unlike earlier times when CDs and illegal downloads dominated the process of getting songs, streaming services like Saavn, Gaana, and Apple Music are now ubiquitous with mobile users. In our previous article, we compared different music streaming services.

However, what if you want to go old-school and build a music collection? Remember those 80-GB iPod Classics? They could store thousands of songs. While it’s nice to have an almost unlimited collection of music at your fingertips for a small monthly fee, there are benefits of building an offline music library.

Better quality format, no dependence on Internet, favorite apps or a dedicated player, ability to tweak sound using the equalizer are some of the advantages. Buying music legally in India has always been hard with limited options. It used to mean buying cassettes and CDs with no digital options available. One of the first digital services that offered legal MP3 tracks to download was Nokia Ovi Music. Select Nokia phones would come with a complimentary 3-month subscription to the service, which included unlimited song downloads. Ovi Music was active until mid-2014, when it was replaced by the ill-fated MixRadio, which was eventually shut down.

The present scenario is different. iTunes was one of the first music services to offer song purchases. Currently, all streaming services offer offline downloads, but the songs are not owned by users. They are downloaded in a proprietary format and are DRM-protected. Here, we will explore five services that allow song and album purchases. Let’s begin.

1. Google Play Music

Play Music was launched in India this year with a monthly subscription fee of only Rs 89, which greatly undercut other services in terms of cost. Alternatively, you can purchase individual songs and albums using the Play Music app. Songs range from Rs 15 to Rs 18, while albums cost between Rs 80 and Rs 120.

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How to Buy Songs Online in India

The songs are in MP3 format with a 320-kbps bitrate. All purchases are made on Google Play Store, so the payment options are the same as the Play Store.

Credit and debit cards, internet banking, and carrier billing are all supported.

Overall, Play Music offers a good deal in terms of collection, song quality, and purchase options. It also seamlessly integrates with Android smartphones.

Did You Know: There is a significant quality difference between audio formats. This video

Next, let’s explore the counterpart to Play Music on its rival platform, iTunes. iTunes arrived in India before Play Music, offering a monthly subscription at Rs. 120. Individual songs cost Rs. 18, and the albums’ prices differ based on release dates and popularity. Downloads are accessible in M4A format, which is superior to MP3 and has a smaller file size.

How to Buy Songs Online in India

Payment options are restricted to credit card and debit cards. An additional drawback is the requirement of iTunes on your PC or laptop to access or download songs, while Play Music works on any browser.

If your music taste leans towards international music, iTunes has a slight advantage over Play Music in terms of content.

Cool Tip: Want to discover new songs and albums in Apple Music? Check out our five-point guide.

3. Wynk

In our last comparison, Wynk’s integration with Airtel made it more convenient for Airtel users. It was a good streaming service, but that was all.

In this comparison, however, Wynk surpasses other services in terms of price and payment options.

How to Buy Songs Online in India

The per-song cost is Rs 5 for most Indian songs and Rs 10 for international tracks. It offers multiple payment options including CC/DC, internet banking, carrier billing (for Airtel users), and support for six payment wallets.

Songs on Wynk are in MP3 format with a 320-kbps bitrate, which is the same as what others offer. Additionally, you can access Wynk from any web browser but purchases can only be made on the mobile app.

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Did you know that Streamus can turn Chrome into a music player for YouTube?

Hungama is a versatile streaming service that provides not only music but also movies, videos, and TV shows. The plans are designed to cater to different needs, with a Music Pro subscription ideal for music enthusiasts. This plan also allows unlimited downloads from their extensive collection, with a slight twist.

How to Buy Songs Online in India

You can only download songs on their website. Sadly, they are in 128-kbps bitrate only. I believe this is an overlooked bug or loophole, as you can’t download songs using any of the Hungama’s apps.

Therefore, I cannot guarantee how long this option will be available. Currently, the Music Pro plan retails at Rs 99 per month and is the cheapest legal way to download music in India, as long as you are okay with 128-kbps bitrate.

Additionally, don’t forget to check out our online video streaming services shootout.

5. Saregama

Finally, we have Saregama, one of the oldest music labels in India. Primarily a music label, Saregama has also ventured into film and content production. Recently, they launched Saregama Carvaan, a line of portable speakers. These speakers come pre-loaded with 5,000 songs from the last five decades of Indian Music and can also function as a radio and a Bluetooth speaker.

How to Buy Songs Online in India

You don’t need to buy this speaker to access the songs, as they also have an online music store where you can purchase them. Saregama’s main advantage over other services in this comparison is the availability of songs in HD. Not just in the 320-kbps MP3 format, but in a higher-quality WAV format as well, all for just Rs 10. Regular MP3 songs are priced at Rs 4 only. Their collection includes songs from as far back as the 1950s, with Geetmala Top Songs of each decade.

However, there is one downside: you are limited to songs from the Saregama label, so newer tracks and international songs may not be available.

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Did You Know: Saregama is the oldest music label in India, established in 1901 as The Gramophone Company of India.

Which One is Right for Me?

Unlike our previous music streaming service comparison, this time the conclusion is simple. Without being bound by a monthly subscription, you can use any or all of the available services. The choice depends on your music taste and the specific song or album you want to download.

In terms of payment options, all services accept debit cards. Saregama stands out as the winner for offering the highest quality with its WAV format. Apple comes next with its M4A format featuring AAC-lossless compression, which is better and smaller in size compared to MP3s. All other services offer 320-kbps MP3s, except Hungama.

Below is a chart comparing all the services for your convenience.

How to Buy Songs Online in India

One should search for their favorite songs or albums on all these services and choose the one with the cheapest price. If you want to be frugal, Hungama’s Music Pro plan allows unlimited downloads (128-kbps MP3s via website only). If you have any doubts or opinions on this topic or use any other music streaming service, please tell us in the comments.

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