My niece loves Indian films and Indian film music. To her, as to most of the world, this exuberant, colorful, romantic and just-plain-fun genre is summed up in one word: Bollywood .
I confess that I’ve become taken with Bollywood as well, though not to the same extent as my niece, who owns a number of Indian movies and regularly rents others. The Bollywood well is so deep that I have to confine myself to watching those few of its productions that bubble up to catch the attention of American movie reviewers. Otherwise I would be lost in Indian ocean of unfamiliar movie titles, actors and actresses.
My niece also collects CDs of Bollywood music. There’s an Asian market near her home that offers a cornucopia of them. But she has the same problem choosing CDs to buy that I do deciding which Bollywood movie may be worth my time. Unless she’s seen the film from which a soundtrack derives, she’s usually in the dark as to whether a particular CD’s songs and artists are ones she will enjoy.
At her request, I set up a way for her to preview a variety of Bollywood songs and even to live with them on her iPod for a while, all for free. This way she can make informed decisions about which CDs she ultimately purchases.
First, I searched for Indian music Web sites, and specifically for those devoted to Bollywood , or at least modern popular music (as opposed, say, to classical Indian ragas). I found several good ones, with names such as Bollywood World and India FM.
Most of the Web sites I found offered song samples, meaning 30-second or 1-minute snippets. Some had full audio streams that allowed the visitor to listen to continuous Bollywood music for as long as she or he might want. It was these latter that provided the first half of our solution.
Normally, streaming audio, such as what you hear over an Internet radio station, cannot be saved or downloaded. New software, though, makes it possible to record the stream to your hard drive for replaying as often as you like.
Even better, some of the newest audio capture software incorporates something called an mp3 splitter. This software is able to break the audio stream into separate mp3 song files. By the way, this is perfectly legal, because you’re simply recording a broadcast, the same as when you record a TV show on your VHS. Voila — we had the second half of our solution.
Between the audio streams and splitter/recording software, we created our own virtual Bollywood mp3 download sites.
Now whenever my niece is in a mood to explore the latest tuneful offerings from Bollywood , she clicks on her favorite Indian-music Internet radio station, then starts the recording software. Pretty soon she has enough Bollywood mp3s to shuffle through for the rest of the week, and she’s almost guaranteed to find two or three that will spur her to make a trip to the CD bin down at the Asian store.