Ap­ple Mu­sic is here!

Get free mu­sic with the new stream­ing ser­vice

Mac Format - - FRONT PAGE -

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

£1/week blinkbox­mu­sic.com

2 Deezer

£10/month wdeezer.com

3 Google Play Mu­sic All Ac­cess

£9.99/month play.google.com

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