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The iTunes Store Finally Launches In India

Over 20 million tracks available to buy including music by Indian bands such as Indian Ocean, Papon, Swarathma, Sky Rabbit and Demonic Resurrection

Rolling Stone India
Rolling Stone India Dec 04, 2012
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Nine years after its launch, Apple Inc’s iTune store opens up in India, with songs priced at an average of Rs 12 and an album priced at an average of Rs 100. While the store has already compiled Top Songs and Top Albums lists that indicate that Hindi film music is charting within hours of the store launching today, the online music store has been selling alternative music by some of the country’s most well-known bands including Pentagram and Demonic Ressurection for a couple of years now.

In fact, Mumbai death metal band Demonic Ressurection were one of the earliest bands to make their music available on iTunes in 2005. “We got our music onto iTunes via CD Baby, who put the music into 300 odd stores, including iTunes,” says Demonic Ressurection frontman Sahil Makhija, “The income from digital is shit, there’s no hope in selling unless you sell in large numbers. No Indian band is moving more than 200 [paid] downloads in a six-month period. Considering the fact that bands spend close to Rs 2 lakhs on putting out an album, the math is bad.”

Swarathma’s debut and sophomore albums are available on the iTunes store Photo: Avinash Shetty

Even though the store launch does not significantly impact a band’s income in the current scenario, bands such as Swarathma and folk rocker Papon have already begun endorsing the iTunes store on social media platforms. “I just tweeted that our album was available on the Indian iTunes store and a fan tweeted a reply saying that he just bought it,” says Swarathma bassist Jishnu Dasgupta, “It is important for bands to musically and emotionally invest in the medium. The iTunes store, Flyte and sites such as OKListen will become more relevant since digital albums are the way of the future.” While listeners have a cheaper option on Flipkart’s music store Flyte with a song priced at an average of Rs 9, the iTunes store has a strategy in place to draw more users with its free download plan, where one single will be available for download for an entire week.

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Besides music and movies, the iTunes store also lets you buy iTunes Match that loads your entire music library onto iCloud, which lets you access it from any iOS device. 

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