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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Turn up the music

With the advent of music streaming, the future is online. ALLAN MOSES RODRICKS gives a low down on what is the buzz on your headphones.When it comes to music listening, we’ve come a long way.From queuing up in music stores to buy the latest albums from our favourite artistes to buying music online and the sneaky free MP3 downloader, music lovers have had no dearth in finding ways to listen to their music idols. And now, with the advent of the music streaming era, it is a Pandora’s Box that has burst open for music listeners with almost limitless access to millions of songs from across the world.

And while music streaming in India is still in its infancy, the reach of the platforms and the accessibility they provide has several possibilities. Here is the low down on what the music streaming scene is capable of.Apart from doing away with the redundancy of former models of playing music, these facilities have ushered in the capacity for a music fan to be an intelligent music listener.Gone are the days when you had to listen to only what the radio played or the DJ had to offer. Today’s music listeners are making informed choices on what to have on their playlist and who to lend their ears to.

On the flipside, cassettes and CDs have vanished from shelves, with MP3 and stereo players not far behind.Even storage devices such as memory cards and pendrives are seeing the door, since everything is easily available online and there is no need to download or save on a device. What this, however, means is that you spend more time online.The biggest progressive step music streaming platforms have ensured is attacking piracy. Timothy Joshua, a musician who also manages marketing of music online, says: “When you have access to unlimited songs at a very nominal subscription fee, there is not a lot that can keep people from hooking up their devices to a streaming portal. Apart from access to the huge database, streaming sites also allow you to customise your playlists, download your favourites and, if you’re a musician, you can upload your songs for streaming as well. So, music lovers, not only get to fill up gaps in popular streaming services, you also get to put your own songs out there.”

The smartest thing to do before choosing which platform you want to pay for, is opt for the free trial to check if the platform gives you all your favourite songs and artistes. When it comes to music online, it is a chaotic mess of services, apps and websites – which is why streaming platforms allow you to filter what you want to hear. James Prabhakar, an ardent Apple devotee, points out that with the launch of Apple Music, listening to his favourite songs while juggling with his car radio will now be a thing of the past.

“A very interesting feature in Apple Music is the Beats 1 Radio that replicates the FM radio vibe, albeit in an Internet radio format. While it is yet to catch on, with access to the iTunes store with its catalogue of over 30 million songs, Apple Music becomes the streaming service of one of the most holistic music collections from around the world.

And while iOS users will be rewarded with Apple’s class-apart standards and Siri’s curation, the fact that the service is available across all platforms gives other streaming services a run for their money.” However, while platforms like Spotify, SoundCloud, Jango, Apple Music and the more recent Google Play Music offer a plethora of international music choices, a range of services like Wynk, Gaana, Saavn, Rdio, Guvera Music and Hungama also combine a regional touch, giving us Indians a lot of reason to cheer. These services throw in a library of filmi, local and regional content that is a boost to the Indian music industry. Singer-songwriter Sally Debra, who does many Hindi covers, says: “There’s so much scope for new material for me to cover. And being a musician, music streaming services help me stay updated on the latest from our music industry.

There are a lot of pros and barely any cons.”

The contenders are heavyweights and there is no sure winner in this battle of beats, but what can be a clear verdict is that the future of music listening is online. So what are you waiting for, plug in your headphones, set up your playlists and groove away.

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