Up until the launch of the Google Home in November 2016, Amazon ruled the roost with its line of Echo smart speakers. With the Google Assistant-powered Google Home smart speaker making its way to the market, the competition spiced up. Then, a year and a half later Apple entered the fore with HomePod. Three of the biggest tech companies now have their own smart speakers battling it out in different price ranges. While these smart speakers have been a huge hit in the western market, the Indian market is just getting started with the whole “smart devices in my house” phenomenon. Apart from companies launching their products late in India, another huge reason has been music streaming outlets. Only recently have we seen so many music streaming services gaining popularity and that is mainly due to the internet now being cheaper and more accessible.
Abroad, the Google Home and Amazon Echo support streaming from services like Google Play Music, Amazon Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora etc. The Apple HomePod, which has not been launched in India yet, only supports streaming from Apple Music. Now, when I say streaming, I mean asking your speaker to play a certain song from a certain music streaming app, and not just picking up your phone and using the smart speaker as a regular Bluetooth speaker. The whole idea of spending those extra bucks on a smart speaker is to be a part of this futuristic setup where your voice is something’s command.
In India, apart from Google Play Music, Saavn and Gaana are two very popular music streaming services. Amazon has recently launched the Prime Music in India and with all its bells and whistles, it is missing a lot of indie titles. The Amazon Echo line of speakers were launched in India back in October 2017 and Google has recently launched the Google Home Mini and Google Home at a price very similar to their Echo counterparts. Now, apart from playing music, these smart speakers do a lot of other things like control your smart appliances, smart lighting and tell you weather and whatnot. But, at the end of the day, the are speakers and need to be able to play the music a user likes.
The rise of smart speakers’ popularity in India means that users would want to listen to music by just asking their new assistant. In turn, users are likely to test out the streaming services supported by their smart speakers in order to find the one that suits them the most. With services like Saavn, Gaana offering free streaming services albeit, lots of advertisements, a lot of users would incline towards them in order to get the best out of their smart speakers. Google Play Music and Prime Music are paid services hence, they will only attract users who cannot stand ads and are ready to pay for their music. A majority of Indians, right now, are not ready to do that. However, with more smart speakers making their way into the Indian market and our homes, it is only going to get better for the music streaming services in India