From the times when they spent hours on preserving the audio cassettes, the lives of audiophiles have been made easy. It was a long-drawn process involving meticulous dusting and periodical replaying. With peer-to-peer file sharing and online downloads finding their way into homes, listening to digital music is anything but hard work.

Tamil film music, which is the prime factor to determine the success of a movie, has taken to digitisation of music in a big way. In fact, it is now a step ahead of Bollywood film albums by stamping its place in the celebrated Apple iStore.

iPhone or iPod users in the country can now legitimately buy a Tamil film album for their phones. Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya has become the one of the first films in the country to get into Apple iStore.

Dot Com Infoway (DCI), a software development company, joined hands with Sony Music India to bundle up all the songs from the film into a virtual album. The album could be obtained either by streaming or downloading. In short, one could either hear all the songs by logging into a website or download the album to hear it anytime.

“This is a big leap for Tamil music industry and will help music companies to curtail piracy. While the data transferred is of high quality, there is also an added advantage of collecting film songs legally at an affordable price,” explains Vijayakumar Radhakrishnan, Chief Technical Officer of the DCI.

Films, including Goa and Theeratha Vilayattu Pillai (and its Telugu version) are now among the others on the virtual shelves of Apple iStore. The company is planning to extend the application to Nokia and Blackberry phones.

The songs, once downloaded, cannot be made into multiple copies or transferred to any other files. Sources from film industry say this might prevent the rampant illegal file sharing, which has “terribly affected the music companies.” Ashok Parwani, General Manager (South), Sony Entertainment Music India, predicts the application “would be a hit among the younger lot.” The company plans to support the application for its forthcoming films, including Hindi and Telugu, he said. As a next step, the video format of Tamil film songs will be up on higher-end phones.