Google has launched Google Music service in India which is aimed at combating online music piracy which has gone from bad to worse over the years, specially in Bollywood. Google has partnered with three digital music providers who together have the rights to hundreds of thousands of Indian tracks, from Bollywood hits to Indian classical tunes. These 3 providers are Saregama, in.com and Saavn.
Google Music India is currently a labs feature and lists down hundreds of Bollywood music/movie albums which you can search or browse from the homepage. Just click on any movie from the list, and it shows the songs available and clicking on the play button will launch a pop-up music player and the song will be streamed for free.
As of now only Hindi songs are available, but Google says it plans to broaden the offering in the coming weeks. Even when you search for a song in Google, it will show results from the partners instead of the piracy download links.
Can Google Music Really combat Online piracy?
Google hopes the new initiative will help labels fight piracy by directing Internet users to legitimate content streaming at the top of search results. This is not the first such initiative from Google. Last year they teamed up with MySpace, Rhapsody, Pandora and Lala.com to launch a similar service in US. But, does such an initiative is enough to combat piracy?
The answer is YES, to an extent. Why? Because most users, specially in India, go for pirated music for two major reasons-
one, they are unaware of legal free streaming services like saavn & in.com
two, piracy is not considered a big deal
With Google showing the legitimate music sources right at the top of search results, it can keep away most users from pirated sites. But some of them who are not happy with streaming songs and hell bent on downloading them, will still find a way to get around and find those pirate sites. Ironically, Google still lists many of those illegal music downloading websites within the first page of search results for most keywords.
I believe Google is simply playing an opportunist here as it sees music—which is the subject of a large percentage of searches in the country—as one key to jumpstarting growth. If they were serious enough in combating piracy, many of those illegal website would have got de-indexed much earlier.
For now, Indian users can enjoy the free hindi songs by legally streaming the music via Google Music.