The OTT Space has seen a phenomenal burst of activity over the last week or so in India. The first two were the Reliance Industries’ buy of 5% into EROS NOW, followed by the launch of the most significant contender amongst the come-latelys in the Indian OTT space, ZEE5 (I really think it will shake up the tree, but more on ZEE5 in another piece) And now, Amazon Prime, which has announced a major content deal with Disney Studios, has gone ahead and unleashed Amazon Prime Music in India as a brand new benefit to Amazon Prime members. I hear the Gaanas and Saavns sit up.
And well should they.
Along with any regional OTT platforms – I can recall only one truly significant regional OTT platform, the Bengali Hoichoi (disclosure – I launched it with the Kolkata team of Adfactors PR). After all, we’re talking millions of songs in multiple languages at no additional cost to Prime members. Ad-free too. Available with unlimited offline downloads, voice controlled with Alexa at no additional cost to Prime membership. And what this free availability of Amazon Prime Music to Prime members has done is, it’s pulled me off the verge of buying a Saavn or Gaana subscription. Don’t need it now, I’ve already been a Prime member for a couple of years. Oh, and I also have Jio Music, but really, Amazo Prime Music has a better interface.
From Retro Classics to New Releases, Bhangra to Rock to Rabindra Sangeet to EDM, there are global releases in multiple languages. And all across major International and Indian music labels. In over 10 languages including English, Hindi, Tamil, Punjabi, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu and others. So, great news for the music labels of India, with another licensor shelling out the monies they the labels truly deserve for having persisted with music at a time when piracy, somehow abetted by a truly lax Indian internet and broadband universe across the spectrum of 2 to 4 G in India, which has been unmindful of permitting access to torrent downloads so long as their data tills kept ringing. But that’s another story.
So, to get back to Amazon Prime Music – I’ve already downloaded it, and am loving what’s streaming. But more than that, the possibilities of uninterrupted music listening that it offers: Amazon’s music experts have specially curated playlists and stations to give you an uninterrupted music listening experience across genres, moods, artists, eras, and activities.
Curated Playlists and Stations
Amazon Prime Music’s also got Indian editorial experts to create special Playlists and Stations targeting presenting divergent genres, artists, moods, eras, activities and more.
There are specially designed playlists like Fresh Punjabi, Fresh Hip-Hop, Fresh Tamil, along with chartbusters on the Hot Right Now series. My favourite? The opportunity to rediscover genres with a curated 100 Greatest songs list chosen across eras – from Bollywood to Sufi to 80s Pop and slow Jams. A 3.5 mm audio jack (I use a OnePlus3) or its Bluetooth connection with a nice big amp, and road tip or wedding, or just a listening session with friends, you’ve got a readymade playlist.
But you can also make your own playlists by choosing songs you already love or songs you just discovered through hand-curated playlists and stations for easy and quick access. You can also share your playlists on Amazon Prime Music with your family and friends.
I searched for a favourite Kishore Kumar song from the old Hindi film 36 Ghante, Chup Ho Aaj Kaho Kya Hai Baat… found it in a couple of seconds. Downloaded too :)) My favourite Kishore Kumar station is already growing.
Which brings me to the downloads. To save on data, you can enjoy the Unlimited offline downloads on WiFi — songs, albums and playlists for seamless offline playback. Cool, even when you’re in airline mode on an airplane where for some weird reason, the flight stewards still haven’t got the correct Hindi translation for “Smoke Detectors”, which they insist upon calling “Dhumrapaan Anusandhaan Yantra” (which actually is Smoking Research Device). Our national language too. Thank God no subtitles on Amazon Prime Music for our lovely Bollywood Hindi songs.
Alexa voice controls
I don’t have Alexa, and I will NOT buy it till I am assured it will cease its step-sisterly treatment of YouTube, but for those who already have Alexa, well, with Alexa voice controls, you can find and play music by putting the entire selection not just at the tip of your fingers, but also as a voice search (As available for videos on the new ZEE5 app) Simply tap the Alexa icon in the Amazon Prime Music app and ask for your favourite songs, albums and artists.
Alexa users can learn more about this here.
To access this massive songs library, Prime members need to download another app, the Amazon Prime Music app, on their Android and iOS mobile phones.
Amazon Prime Music is also available as a desktop app and web player, on Amazon Fire TV sticks and Amazon Echo devices. So a very smart way to cross-sell Alexa and Prime Memberships and of course, push shopping on India’s biggest e-tailing platform, Amazon. So if you aren’t a Prime member and want access to Amazon Prime Music, go to www.amazon.in/prime to learn more about Prime benefits. End of plug. But hey, I plugged it because I’m loving what I see in Amazon Prime Music.
First impression of Amazon Prime Music
The Android app of Amazon Prime Music on my OnePlus3 is simple, uncluttered, has a smooth UI, and seemingly on the lighter side, considering it threw up searche results very quickly indeed, but part of the credit should go also to my excellent internet data service provider and my really fast OnePlus 3. The app is nicely colourful, with dark backgrounds a la the Amazon Prime family. The lists curated are excellent, and there are too many to list here. The app responds very quickly to instructions like ‘add to playlist’. It seems to put on loop by default the track you play, but you change that quickly. The audio it streams has body, and the huge library is curated across genres, sub genres, artistes, stars, eras, activities and more. That is one aspect you need to experience. Of course, you probably won’t love all the songs in any single playlist, but you can create your own playlist.