Gaana, Hungama, Saavn, or Wynk: Which is the Best Music Streaming Service in India?
Streaming services such as Saavn, Gaana and Hungama let users listen to music on the Web for free (with ads) and come with premium subscriptions that allow you to save songs for offline use as well. Even without the premium subscription, using a music service can involve a lot of time invested in setting up playlists and favourites, so no-one wants to keep switching between apps.
Today, four major players are trying their best to take the crown in India. Hungama, Gaana, Saavn and Wynk are in the fray, but which one is the best? We used each of these as our primary source of music for a time to find out.
When we first fired up the app, we found it easy to find the songs we wanted - there is a lot of Bollywood music, old Hindi songs, hit international songs and classic rock music that is all easily discoverable through Wynk's curated playlists. Of all the services we tested, Wynk's default playlists served us the best.
Another of Wynk's strengths is its pricing. On iOS, Wynk offers unlimited downloads at Rs. 60 per month - half the price offered by competitors. On Android the pricing is closer to competition, but Rs. 99 per month is still the best price in the market.
However, Wynk is not perfect just yet. Saavn and Gaana offer music streaming and downloads at 320 kbps to premium subscribers, while Wynk has capped this at 128 kbps. On iOS, we were quite annoyed with the lack of support for iOS 7's back gesture (swipe from the left edge to go back, which is supported by Saavn and Gaana) as the tiny back button at the top is hard to hit accurately. The app also doesn't seem to remember the shuffle command - it kept the playlist and even the position in the song we were listening to correctly, but when we launched the app later, it had turned shuffle off. But these are still early days for the app and one can hope these things are ironed out as we go along.
Airtel talked up the fact that Wynk's music streaming service is completely ad-free and that Airtel subscribers can pay Rs. 129 per month to download 'unlimited' songs (Android-only) via 3G with no data charges i.e. the app won't eat into your regular 3G quota. This sounds good, but Airtel has included a fair usage policy. Android users on the unlimited plan can download 500 songs every month at Rs. 129 but data charges will apply if you download more songs. While the free tier has no ads, it lets you stream only 100 songs per month. Wynk's FAQ reads, "If you do not have active Wynk subscription, you can stream up to 100 songs per month." Honestly, all this sounds a bit too complicated for our own heads, so we believe the consumers may well be confused, and indeed, annoyed, when they realise they aren't getting what they thought they signed up for.