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Time to tune in – iTunes

, January 16, 2013, 0 Comments

Apple fans gleam with joy as the Apple iTunes store launched in 55 countries last month. What was earlier a harsh reality of paying hefty sums of money for downloading content, thanks to skyrocketing exchange rates, is now affordable and a dream come true for many Apple fans in India.

In a country where music is a celebration of life and technology gets embraced like a dear friend, iTunes comes as one of the biggest music libraries/POS’s in the country. Will the iTunes store work or buckle under great pressure?

India currently hosts nearly 27 million smartphone users, of which only 1.2% of market share belongs to Apple as against the Korean giant, Samsung, which has nearly 51% of the people in its pocket. Even as Apple continues to be a successful player in the North American market, its attempts to capture the Asian markets and convert dreamers into buyers go in vain.

Apple, for a long time, has been truly the “apple” of everyone’s eye. People are always fascinated with this product which some affectionately term as “God’s product”. Yet, their products and media content seemed very unaffordable to many in Asian markets even as prices got slashed. Would Apple successfully convert people into buying content from their store this time around?

According to a report on Indian media and entertainment industry by FICCI-KPMG, it was noted that there has been a steady decline of 19% in sales through CDs and other physical media options year on year as opposed to the digital front that has been gaining nearly 24% every year.

What’s on offer

Apple is currently offering individual song downloads at nominal rates of Rs.7 to Rs.15 besides whole albums. There is also a vast library of movies that users can rent or buy from. Renting movies cost about Rs. 120 and higher to buy on HD. The same movies on SD cost about Rs. 80 to rent and higher to buy. Indian TV shows are not available for now. The library is organized well which is a huge plus compared to its competitors who make searching a big ordeal.


For now, Apple has two major competitors who sell digital music in India – Flyte by Flipkart and Nokia. Flyte, one of the existing digital music stores is already a leading one stop place for many Indians who previously could not afford to pay in dollars for downloading content from iTunes. Nokia claims to sell nearly 1 million downloads a day making it an equally big competitor in this segment. Nokia is also currently the preferred arena for local artists to launch and debut songs.


One of the biggest issues with creating a success out of a digital music store is the amount of piracy that thrives in this country. If iTunes offers a song for Rs.7 or a maximum of Rs.15, the pirate offers the entire album of songs for Rs. 10. Is it even possible to match up against this scheme?

While Flyte allows users to buy songs at a cheap option of Rs.9, Apple’s strategy to offer a free download a week might straighten out some issues it has in capturing the Indian audience. Piracy aside, there is no digital media store in India that offer content in a clean, organized fashion.

It also may in a short span of time own the biggest media library in the country. Users can now search for a celebrity and get the entire collection of work by that celebrity in one page. We can certainly expect tough competition ahead and clearly see Apple emerge as more than a survivor in this segment.