Best Music Streaming Service
By Sean Willis 05 December 2016 - 11:50 GMT
As music streaming continues to gain popularity, a number of audio-streaming services have been launched in recent years. But which one is the best for you?
Music streaming is definitely on the rise. In the UK alone, 26.8billion songs were played in 2015 with another 26.9 streams of music videos on YouTube and other services. The number of competing audio-streaming services continues to multiply but which one is the best for your time and cash?
Below is the comparison of the best-known on-demand music streaming services and their best features.
Price: Free or £9.99 a month
Launched in 2008, Spotify is the most well-rounded streaming service available today. It continues to evolve and in recent years, it has added cool features and playlists that help users easily discover music. The service updates its playlists with new songs every week while allowing labels, media, musicians and fans to create new ones.
Users also get their own Discover Weekly playlists, which are recommended by Spotify’s own algorithm. Its Now feature also suggests playlists based on each users habit and the current time of day.
Spotify has many social features that are arguably better than its rivals, allowing users to add friends and see their playlists. It also has a built-in messaging system to ping music back and forth.
However, Spotify is more expensive than its rivals. Its family plan costs £29.95 a month for a family of five. Apple Music and Google Play’s charge £14.99 for family of six.
With its strengths, Spotify is considered the best of the bunch so far especially for music discovery, with new features being added at a rapid pace.
Price: £9.99 a month
Apple Music was launched in the summer of 2015 and signed 10 million paying subscribers in just six months.
Its strengths include:
· Programmed playlists with deep collection from Apple’s own staff and guest curators that mine some refreshingly-unusual niches
· For You Selection feature that suggests album and play lists based on each user’s preference
· Live radio station that offers a breath of fresh air for users around the world
· Apple Music Connect, a mix of Twitter, Instagram and SoundCloud
· Works well with Apple TV (which is expected) and its Android App is pretty slick too
Meanwhile, Apple Music could be more user-friendly and more social, as it offers little sense of what your friends are listening to.
Google Play Music
Price: £9.99 a month
When it comes to strengths and room for improvement, Google Play Music is on the same level as Apple Music. It has a great introduction feature, playlists and stations that are categorised based on specific genres, activities and theme. It has the same feature as Spotify’s Now that suggests playlists for the current time of day. Its stations, just like Apple Music, can be surprisingly specific with a very human touch. A nice touch is the way it pulls in music videos from YouTube. It costs £9.99 a month, in the UK after the three-month free trial and has the £14.99-for-six-people family plan, which is the same as Apple.
Despite its neat design and characterful playlists to discover, it could be more social.
Price: Free - £9.99 a month
Deezer used to be the second biggest on-demand streaming service (next to Spotify) until Apple Music’s 10million milestones. Among all music streaming services, it is the one that has the widest global reach signing up many users through deals with mobile operators that bundle the service into mobile contracts.
Deezer excels in many basic features but fails to innovate as rapidly as Spotify.
It promotes playlists from its own editors, outside labels and other curators. Its Mixes feature blend songs you like with its own recommendations. It also has radio-style stations based on genres and themes.
Aside from music, Deezer also has a good collection of news and entertainment podcasts. It recently moved into football – the first music streaming service to do so. Users from the UK and Germany as well as other 14 countries can listen to live match commentary provided by radio partners like TalkSport.
Amazon Prime Music
Prime Music, which is part of Amazon’s £79-a-year Prime membership scheme, is not going after the same kind of music fans as Spotify, Apple Music and the rest. It is pitched at an even more mainstream audience including people who’ll be as happy to listen to 80s Rock Anthems, Acoustic Commute or Whitney Houston’s Top Songs.
When compared to standalone rivals, Amazon Prime Music offers limited options but knows its audience really well.