At long last, Google Play has opened its Music store for users in India.
It’s been a long time coming: most other countries have had access to Google Play Music since 2011, along with newer features like a podcast directory. The company didn’t make an official announcement about the launch of the store and we’ve only noticed it today. It was rumored to be on its way back in July.
Play Music for India is little more than a cross-platform store at this point: There are charts listing the top songs and albums, as well as one for new releases.
You’ll also find a few broad categories like ‘Best of Bollywood, Indian Pop Hits, For the Kids and International Music’, as well as sections for regional languages like Tamil and Telugu. As in other countries, you can preview tracks and pay for them using the details or fingerprint associated with your Google account and Android device.
It doesn’t yet offer radio, Play Music All Access for unlimited streaming, podcasts, a family plan or even genre-based charts. Hopefully those will roll out eventually. It does, however, allow you to upload up to 50,000 songs stored on your desktop via Chrome, so you can stream them from the app.
With that, Google is set to compete with the likes of Apple’s iTunes and Airtel’s Wynk music stores for digital purchases. But it’ll have to move quickly if it wants to get in on the streaming game.
Streaming music is still fairly nascent in India and Google could have an advantage over rivals like Apple Music, Wynk and Saavn: Play Music often comes bundled with Android phones and the company’s mobile OS accounts for 97 percent of the smartphone market share in the country.
Plus, it began selling physical Google Play credits in stores last year, which people can purchase with cash and redeem with a code. That makes it easy for the majority of users who don’t have credit cards to pay for things like music downloads and streaming subscriptions.
Of course, if Google is slow to roll out radio and All Access services, it could see competitors like Apple eat its lunch in India.
The Google Play Music store is now available on Android and the Web in India. It might be available on iOS as well, but I had trouble signing in with my Google account on the app using my iPhone. We’ll update this post when we learn more about that.
Interestingly, Google unveiled a bunch of other new things inspired by its audience in India yesterday, including YouTube Go, a data-saving feature on Chrome, Hindi support for its AI-powered Assistant and a program to bring public Wi-Fi to more places around the world.