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How the Way of Listening to Music has Evolved in India Since the Early 90s - My Experience

Updated on July 29, 2020
sachnikh profile image

Nikhil loves music and movies. In his free time, he enjoys listening to both Hindi and English songs and watch fascinating movies.

I remember the days when I, along with one of my friends, ride a bicycle for more than ten kilometers to load (not download) multi-media content from a shop. Since my friend had a laptop, he usually goes for buying various exciting games, utility software, etc. But, at that time, I only had a normal mobile. So, I usually go to copy all the latest movie songs in both MP3 and MP4.

The shop from where we get all this stuff was called ‘Music N Movies.’ And at that time, I used to think of it as a very cool name. They used to charge a few bucks from us just for copying like ten albums of music songs into our microSD cards or pen drives. Although the charge was a little higher for mobile games and software. At that time, we bought a new Nokia mobile (Nokia 5233) for which I was so much excited.

This is how I used to get songs on my phone and I love listening to them with earphones. I was so crazy about (Bollywood movies) and songs that I even recorded songs on the phone when they play on the tv.


In this article, I will share a part of life experience and talk about how music has evolved over time in India with online music streaming apps. So, without any further, let's get on with it:

Phase 1: Introduction to Self-downloading Songs

As mentioned above, I, and most of the teenagers were earlier used to enjoy songs like me through such shops. However, as time passed by, I came to know about other sources to enjoy the latest songs.

Some of the school mate friends introduced me to how to download songs online for free. They even taught me how to find out the lyrics of a particular song. I know, today, it seems such a common thing to do that, but at that time, I got fascinated about it.


As there wasn’t much competition between telcos like today, mobile data was much expensive. We need to shell out hundreds of rupees for a few days of 2G data. It was the time of GPRS or Edge internet connection.

Now, as I've discovered any source for exploring the latest albums, I started saving my pocket money for doing the internet recharge. Whenever there was a new song coming on the tv, after a couple of days, they made it available the full version of it on the website. And I felt so good after downloading and listening to a particular song.

So, this was a whole different experience than going to a shop and paying money just for copying the songs.

Phase 2: The YouTube Revolution and 3G

Downloading the songs from the internet and listening to them on the earphones was one of my favorite things to do during my teenage. However, as things changed and the internet evolved, I came to know about YouTube.

It was YouTube that gave me the freedom to watch and enjoy any song I want without having to pay anything, except of course the data recharge. Now, I had two sources to listen to songs. The first one was the website and second was the YouTube. However, I mostly relied on the former as it uses less data as compared to videos.


As I grew up, I saw the introduction of 3G technology and further development of YouTube. I realized that we could do a lot more on YouTube than I think of it earlier. And this gave me another insight on how to enjoy listening to songs on the platform.

Using YouTube, I've realized that we can also see and enjoy related videos and songs if the mobile data allow it. So, this was how I enjoyed music in the second phase.

Phase 3: Introduction to Music Streaming Apps

Although music streaming apps were launched a long time ago, I only came to know about it around three years ago. Since the Reliance Jio’s launch in 2016, it has revolutionized the Indian mobile data market.

So, it was only the year 2017 I came to know about music streaming apps and have installed JioMusic (now JioSaavn) app on my phone. At that time, through this app, we can stream and listen to thousands of songs using the internet for free. And there wasn't any subscription like today.

Not only this, but we could also download our favorite songs and play them offline without any mobile data. This was something really incredible for music lovers like me. But as we know, the company decided to venture into the Saavn music app and make it the subscription-based app.


However, today, we have lots of other options through which we can listen and enjoy our favorite songs, and even podcasts for free. Some of the popular online music streaming apps available in India are, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Music, and YouTube Music.

Do you also love listening to music? Or Bollywood or English songs? Well, pour in your thoughts and share your life experience below. Like how you used to listen to music five or ten years ago. I will be happy to read your comments.

From where do you explore and enjoy songs?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Nikhil Sharma


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    • sachnikh profile imageAUTHOR

      Nikhil Sharma 

      12 months ago from India

      Hi Liza, I'm glad to know that this article takes you back in time and makes you nostalgic about how we used to listen to music about a decade ago. It's my pleasure to know your experience and story about the topic. Thanks for sharing your memorable life experience with us.

      As I can see in your comment, you've purchased a lot of music systems in the past before the arrival of streaming apps. I've heard Apple Music is really good. You and your husband must have been enjoying listening to music, especially in this lockdown situation.

      Thanks for taking the time to read this article, Liza. Surely, you should find your old music gear and spend some time remembering those enriching memories.

    • lizmalay profile image


      12 months ago from USA

      Hi Nikhil, reading your article has brought me back through the years of evolution of how we were listening to music. My first music gear was a walkman (I know it was 80's) but, I enjoyed listening to it.

      Then, I changed to a portable CD player and MP3, (during my university year). When I started working, I have extra money to buy an Apple iPod. I have it for quite a while. I guess nowadays, we all listening to music through streaming apps. My husband signed up to Apple Music monthly so, we can enjoy listening to the music 24/7.

      Thanks for sharing the article, Nikhil. I feel like I need to find some of my old school music gear. I wonder if I still keeping them somewhere.

    • sachnikh profile imageAUTHOR

      Nikhil Sharma 

      12 months ago from India

      Hey, Ms. Risha.

      I must say I thoroughly enjoyed reading your wonderful and detailed comment, Ms. Risha. Your comment has literally made me go back to that time once again, even if it's just for a few seconds. Those are exactly the two most popular sites from where I, along with my friends, used to download the songs. Although I deferred mentioning their names directly in my article.

      You're absolutely right. We also used to have lots of CDs and cassettes, for both movies and music. However, as you rightly said, they become corrupted easily. Also, they were very bulky to handle and keep.

      When it comes to music streaming apps, I'm currently using the JioSaavn app. However, I've extensively used Spotify earlier. Although I prefer the minimalistic interface and smooth UX of Spotify, I've using JioSaavn as my daily driver because we get lyrics of most of the Hindi and regional songs.

      I think Musixmatch is not available to download in India, is it? I'll check this out again in the Play Store and will surely try it out.

      Once again, I love reading your comments as much as I love your informative and insightful articles. This was an extremely honest and detailed opinion of yours, Ms. Risha.

    • Risha Khan profile image

      Risha Khan 

      12 months ago from Bhilai, Chhattisgarh

      Hi Nikhil,

      I must say that you are a very keen observer. You noticed the change about how people are listening to music from yesteryears to the current time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. I remember going to cyber cafés and downloading songs through sites like PagalWorld and I find myself lucky that I have seen vinyl records played on gramophone during my childhood. I remember listening to songs on tape recorder and Walkman(not Sony Walkman). I used to have loads of cassettes. People had to pay for getting their favorite songs recorded on cassettes. Then came CDs, but they became useless later because they got damaged easily. I have Spotify, SoundCloud and Wynk music player. You can also download Musixmatch as they show lyrics (if the song is in their database).

      Whenever I can't find a song on a site or app, I turn to YouTube converter to convert it into mp3 file. I like listening to both Bollywood and English songs. Thank you for sharing this amazing article with us!!!

    • sachnikh profile imageAUTHOR

      Nikhil Sharma 

      12 months ago from India

      Thanks, Liz, for sharing your opinion with us.

      Yes, a lot has changed in the music industry, including how people listen to songs in the past decade.

    • sachnikh profile imageAUTHOR

      Nikhil Sharma 

      12 months ago from India

      Hey, Avyukth!

      I hope you're doing good.

      Yes, I strongly agree with the fact that we've come a long way when it comes to listening music. From buying music CDs, loading songs from shop to our microSD card, to listening to them on-the-go via various online streaming apps, the 90s kids have seen it all. I'm flattered to know that you found this article great!

      I appreciate your time for leaving such an insightful comment.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      12 months ago from UK

      You chart the changes in how we access music well in your article.

    • Avyukth profile image

      Avyukth Krishna 

      12 months ago from Bangalore

      Hi Nikhil!!

      This is a great article. When I saw the title, I assumed that it would only be about music styles and technicalities. It's amazing how you've linked this to technology. Along with music, the way we access it has also evolved and you have beautifully brought that out through your article.


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