Apple Music is here!
Get free music with the new streaming service
Sales of music downloads have been on the slide ever since streaming arrived. Many of us like to listen to individual songs rather than an entire album, make compilations, check out recommendations, or hear whatever takes our fancy – rather than be restricted to what’s in your music downloads library.
And that’s what makes streaming ideal. It allows you to listen to a massive selection of music (with some exceptions) for around the price of an album a month. Offline listening is often permitted too, while some services have more flexible pricing structures and even free, ad-funded tiers (designed to lure you in). It’s a competitive market and will become even more so with Apple Music’s release. At press, Apple Music’s features had been announced, but we don’t yet know its streaming quality, so we couldn’t include it in this test. See the next issue of MacFormat (out Tuesday 4 August) for an in-depth look at Apple’s new music streaming software.
Streaming can be about what services you don’t get as much as the services you do. Originally, Spotify was Europe-only, launching in the US later. But there are plenty of services that aren’t in the UK as yet, including Amazon’s Prime Music (we expect it to come here at some point, though) and Pandora (which was obligated to restrict itself to the US, Australia and New Zealand). This is often because of music rights, which aren’t always signed off on a global basis.
Either way, it’s hard to make money from streaming music – for artists, record companies or streaming services – but it is possible. As with music downloads, it looks like we’ll end up with several big tech companies, plus a few that got into the market at the right time (such as Spotify), dominating. And that has to include Apple and its Beats Music subsidiary.
For now though, let’s take a look at the best streaming services currently out there, so we can see what Apple Music is up against. Dan Grabham
You can listen to pretty much any music you like for the price of an album a month
1 Blinkbox Music
3 Google Play Music All Access