Is it better to spin tracks on Spotify, scroll deep into Apple Music or discover new sounds on Google Play? I’m reviewing all three so you can make sure you’re getting the most beats for your buck.
Let’s face it– life’s more fun with music. Thanks to music streaming we have millions of songs at our fingertips. Every single day is your own personal party, and with web-based streaming, you pay by the month for as much music as you can handle. It's paradise.
But with so many streaming services available, which one do you choose?
Right now, Spotify is by far the most popular music streaming service. In fact, it’s so popular that it’s becoming its very own verb. We don’t stream or play music anymore – we Spotify it. It’s like a good cheddar cheese – it keeps getting better with age.
The best thing about Spotify would have to be how social it is. Music is like a great bottle of wine, it’s best enjoyed when shared - and the crew at Spotify know that. You can link your Spotify to your Facebook so you can find and follow friends, listen to their public playlists or ping them new music.
But it’s not just about sharing – Spotify really care about your music journey. You get a personalised Discover Weekly playlist every week that includes 30 songs Spotify thinks you would dig based on what you’ve played lately or what your friends like. Plus, they have a stack of curated playlists that are updated with new songs every week so you’ll always have new tracks. The Spotify Now feature suggests playlists according to the time of day or your habits.
The Concerts Feed is by far my favourite feature. You’ll never miss a gig again because it gives you list of upcoming concerts based on your tastes and location- yas queen! And, when you follow your favourite artists Spotify keeps you in the loop with their new releases. You’ll get a notification every time they drop a new track. Plus, they’ve got auto and video podcasts for your listening and watching pleasure – so what’s not to love about it?
Spotify is really reasonably priced and they’re the only provider with two tiers. The free tier has audio advertising and you can’t listen offline or choose tracks on demand – you have to shuffle play every artist. The pay by month all access tier is $11.99 a month for solo listeners or $17.99 per month for the whole family (up to five family members).
Apple Music is trying really hard to cut Spotify’s grass and I have to hand it to them – in my opinion, they’re doing a pretty good job. They signed up 10 million listenersin six months while it took Spotify six years to reach numbers like that.
For iTunes users, Apple Music is perfection. It integrates your existing iTunes collection so none of your music or carefully curated playlists are lost. Apple Music learns your tastes and recommends fresh artists and playlists in the For You section.
Speaking of playlists, Apple’s are on point. Curated by guests and Apple staff their huge collection ranges from the everyday listening to the completely obscure. Whether you want to work out like Beyoncé or listen to Turkish Psychedelic Folk Songs, there’s something for everyone.
My favourite feature of Apple music would have to be their live radio station, Beats 1. It features shows hosted by some absolute legends in the music industry from Dr Dre to Josh Homme. The exclusives and interviews are unmissable.
One area where Apple Music doesn’t deliver, I think is a quality social feature – it’s much less connected than Spotify. The Apple Music Connect feature is also a little disappointing. It’s designed to be a mashup of Twitter and SoundCloud, space for musicians to share songs, thoughts and exclusives directly with their fans. This would be great… if artists were actually using it.
What does it cost?
Apple Music costs about the same as Spotify but they have no free tier. It's $11.99 for individual listeners, $17.99 for the whole family and $5.99 (or two packets of instant noodles) for students.
Google Play is actually pretty good. In typical Google style, it’s super functional. I’d go so far as saying that it’s the most user-friendly service out of all three. Searching for your favourite artists, albums and creating your own playlists is a piece of cake.
Google Play do a little bit of the hard work for you – they personalise your account from the moment you sign up by asking for your favourite jams and genres. They start recommending you music from there.
The best thing about Google Play would have to be the playlist and stations function, it’s damn good. They also have a huge range of playlists, some which are very niche–Ambient Scandinavian Stargazing anyone?
Google Play is fully integrated with YouTube which is awesome. While you’re listening to an album or track, you’ll be given the link to the video so you can watch and listen in unison. That’s pretty cool. Plus, you can load up to 50,000 of your own songs on to you account; all you have to do is drag and drop into your Chrome browser. Too easy!
What does it cost?
A premium subscription to Google Play Music will set you back $11.99 a month, and there’s no family package just yet.
So what’s the verdict? Well, much like music taste your choice of streaming service boils down to individual preference. But, the best thing about all three is that each offers free trial subscription - so you can sign up and try them all out. Happy listening!
Mariah – amaysim’s communication’s coordinator