Does Youtube Music have an edge over Spotify in India?
Youtube recently launched its music streaming services to capture the massive Indian market. Whether it will succeed or not is a matter of time but youtube is backed by a huge audience that blindly uses youtube for music. While youtube music has a huge database and offers its subscription at a pretty reasonable rate, it doesn’t seem like the best deal out there.
Plans, Tariffs & Limitations
To start with, Youtube music free membership plays only videos which means you just can’t switch off the video. Now, that’s a lot of screen time and bad news for your battery. Not only is that difficult because you just want to listen to music but it also means you can’t do anything else without pausing your music. Even in the paid option, you’ll have to switch off the videos to play just music which is not the best user experience. Spotify, another giant that entered India recently has clocked nearly 2million users and puts way more on the table than Youtube. The subscription fee is very modest and it also offers student discounts which make it more accessible.
User Interface & Experience
Although I’m not a big fan of either Apple Music or Amazon for their interface and suggestions, I’d still rate them way above Youtube music for the sheer simplicity of listening to music. Youtube has mostly been driven by ads and that model reflects in the music app too, the so-called free membership feels like you’re watching videos on the youtube app, neither is that refreshing nor is it the best way to listen to music. On the other hand, Amazon music, Apple music, Saavn which have been around for a while and offer a much better interface, dedicated music only player and a well organised catalog.
Library & Music Selection
Although Youtube has a better catalog for local and regional music in India, Spotify is way ahead with its global content. Youtube does not mention the size of its music catalog but it does combine the official and unofficial content to form its large database. The unofficial uploads or fan-uploaded content is sometimes illegal and when brought to notice, Youtube smoothly pulls it out. So I'm not really clear if that's an edge over the streamers or is it actually better having an all official catalog. I found the discovery feature of Spotify far more intelligent and friendlier to personal tastes.
Sound Quality & Consistency
Youtube music is fairly new to the music streaming biz and has a long way to go. Due to a lot of unofficial video content, the sound quality is not consistent and lacks the richness present on other platforms. Amongst the services currently available in India, Spotify offers the best streaming sound quality with 320Kbps as a regular option and higher quality to its premium users whereas Youtube is still stuck at 128kbps and maybe in 2008. The app is still buggy and it's not attractive if you've been hooked on to Spotify, Apple music or Tidal.
You could subscribe to Youtube music if you're not an audio snob and want a music player with lots of videos, local content and made for youtube content. If you're a purist and want great sounding quality music, get Spotify.