For western music lovers, homegrown Indian apps are a disappointment. This is why

JioSaavn is the only homegrown service that scores above 8/10 according to our index of Western music coverage. Global services dominate the top four, with Spotify and Apple Music sharing the top spot (9.3/10)—an indication that resource-rich global apps have signed on more music companies to offer more western albums.

Each app’s rating is an average of the ratings across 10 individual genres, based in turn on our success in finding critically-acclaimed albums in each genre in the letter. library of various music apps.

The poor display of Indian apps contrasts with the growing interest in international music, which a 2021 report from trade body Indian Music Industry suggests has few domestic releases. more during the pandemic. For some vendors in India, it is important to offer more than just Western music. Siddhartha Roy, chief executive officer of Hungama Digital Media, said the company focuses on smaller cities and it is tailored to the tastes of Indian audiences. “While Western music makes up the majority of audience consumption, it is not a dominant subgenre for the larger core consumers we serve,” says Roy. speak.

Global homegrown distance

It’s not all doom and gloom for homegrown services, though. If you insist on signing up with a local provider, you can still be happy with JioSaavn, which scores close to 9 in genres like pop, rock, metal and hip-hop.

But if you’re a fan of electronic dance music (EDM) or jazz or western classical, all the homegrown services score below 8 out of 10, so it’s best to go for the full service. bridge.

To be sure, global services are by no means perfect. For example, YouTube Music doesn’t have the basics of rock music, such as The Eagles’ 1976 album ‘Hotel California’. Spotify also lacks major artists like 1970s music icons Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Both artists have pulled their music from the service in protest at podcaster Joe Rogan’s alleged spread of false information on Spotify.


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Music majors prevail

The reason why some services may offer more Western music than others is due to deals with music companies. There are three groups that run the music scene: Universal Music, Sony Music, and Warner Music. The fourth entity, Merlin, works for independent record labels that operate outside of the three major labels. If a service made deals with these four groups, it could give users access to most tracks under the sun.

An interesting exercise would be to see how much music each group contributes in our dataset. Information about the group that holds the copyright is usually found on the album’s display page. After collecting this information for all albums, we found that Universal contributed the most to the dataset, followed by Sony. If we consider the dataset as a critically acclaimed sample of music, then each group’s contribution to the dataset could be, in a way, also their contribution to all the tracks. ‘good’.

Lack of transactions

Copyright information also allows us to determine how many albums by each group are available on each service. Gaana only stores 2.4% of Universal’s albums in the dataset, missing the likes of The Beatles, Nirvana and Kanye West. Although Merlin’s website describes JioSaavn as a partner, it only hosts 66% of its albums. A closer look reveals albums by popular music company Beggars Group, which would otherwise be missing a Merlin member in JioSaavn, including albums by the band Radiohead and older albums by singer Adele.

Chart 4:

It’s possible that Gaana doesn’t have an agreement with Universal, and the JioSaavn-Merlin deal may have ruled out Beggars Group to begin with. Queries sent to Gaana and JioSaavn went unanswered. But the significant gap between the promise and the reality show that India is still a time when music fans first need to hunt and figure out which service has most of their favorite international albums.

Shijith Kunhitty is an independent journalist.

Notes on the methodology:

The analysis is based on various best album lists curated by reputable books, magazines and websites in each of the 10 selected Western music genres. There are two types of lists: the best of all time (‘classics’) and the best of recent times (contemporary).

For example, for EDM (electronic dance music), canon is taken from dance music publication Mixmag’s list of the most influential albums and best contemporary albums are taken from the ‘Best Albums of 20XX’ list. annual Resident Advisor dance publication. in 10 years ago.

The final list features 317 critically acclaimed albums: 50 mainstream albums and 267 contemporary albums. These albums are searched programmatically and sometimes manually, in the library of each music application listed in the analysis. After equalizing conventional and contemporary albums, ratings for each service are given out of 10, based on availability.

Spotify, for example, has 46/50 EDM albums on the standard list and 236/267 on the contemporary list. That means 4.6/5 for canon and 4.4/5 for contemporary, for a total rating of 9/10 for EDM.

The individual ratings for the 10 categories are then averaged to arrive at an overall rating for each service.

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