On-demand music streaming services have exploded over recent years. Now spoiled for choice, there are a number of services available for those wanting to take ownership of their own aural destiny.
Let’s face it, no longer are you subject to the humble radio and its grating rotation of Bieber hits, or the limitations of your own music collection.
There are, however, a number of factors you should take into consideration when searching for the service right for you.
Comparatively, each provider offers a range of plans suitable to almost any budget, ranging from free, entry-level plans to premium plans that incur a monthly fee.
As far as the ‘free’ options go, services like Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, iTunes Radio, Guvera, Vevo, Milk Music and Rdio offer restricted access to the service at the sake of intermittent advertisements.
For instance, Spotify Free allows users access to the streaming service from a computer, the only downside is that you are subject to advertisements every few songs. On the mobile application however, users are restricted to what is called ‘Shuffle Play’, that only allows a mixed bag of the selected artist or playlist’s songs, disabling the choice of individual track selection.
Other providers offer trial periods ranging from seven to thirty days. Apple Music sits at the top, offering a three-month trial to the music service’s 30 million tracks.
However, for a little over ten bones a month, one can have access to the Premium plans of most providers.
In selecting the right provider for you, it’s best to consider the size of the their music catalogue. The Yeezy endorsed Tidal boasts a music catalogue of 40 million songs, with Apple Music, Deezer and Spotify housing 30 million, dwarfing smaller providers like Pandora’s one million tracks.
Size can matter, but depending on your taste in music and the exclusivity of some artist’s work – whether it be a dedication to a certain brand, or a distaste for allowing the work to be streamed – there is a good chance your favourite artist’s work isn’t available on your chosen streaming service.
The wealth of choice on a suitable service makes the hunt for the right one a difficult slog. The best course of action is to try-before-you-buy and sample some of the many providers offering a free trial. In doing so, you can experience first-hand the extent of the music library and the quality of the audio streaming.
Both Apple Music and Spotify are big contenders when considering artist exclusivity, large music libraries and price for availability of content. Each offer their own in-house tricks, Apple with its knack for a great range of back catalogues and Spotify for it’s ahead-of-the-curve range of fresh up-and-comers.
But alternatives such as Pandora, which operates like more of a radio station – tailors music to suit the user’s interests, bringing a more affordable and simpler option to the table.
As with most things, it comes down to your preference.