Who Has The Best Mu­sic Stream­ing Ser­vice?

SoundMag - - Review / Music Streaming -

Sonos would like you to think that they de­liver a su­pe­rior range of mu­sic stream­ing ser­vices, they don’t with all the stream­ing ser­vices now bat­tling it out with their stream­ing ser­vices even avail­able on the cheap­est of de­vices.

Tel­stra used stream­ing con­tent from Ap­ple to spruik their ser­vices dur­ing the sec­ond State Of Ori­gin match.

Cur­rently Spo­tify and Ap­ple Mu­sic ac­count for nearly two-thirds of the mu­sic in­dus­try’s rev­enue how­ever Ama­zon and Google now want a share of this busi­ness and they are cur­rently reengi­neer­ing their ser­vices.

The bat­tle ground is the $10 a month for un­lim­ited ac­cess to tens of mil­lions of tracks with some ser­vices set to launch High Res au­dio con­tent for $13.99 a month.

The big four are Spo­tify, Ap­ple Mu­sic, Ama­zon Mu­sic and Google’s new YouTube Mu­sic. All four of­fer huge li­braries of songs and are ac­ces­si­ble al­most ev­ery­where and all the ser­vices are sim­i­lar.

Re­cently the Wall Street Jour­nal pre­sented their view of each ser­vice.

Ap­ple Mu­sic

Ap­ple Mu­sic scores points for its Beats

1 ra­dio sta­tion, which fre­quently of­fers ex­clu­sive in­ter­views and guest DJ sets from fa­mous artists. Ap­ple also lets you com­bine your lo­cal li­brary with its stream­ing se­lec­tion.


YouTube Mu­sic does even bet­ter: It not only hosts all the songs you’re look­ing for, but count­less mu­sic videos, remixes, cov­ers and live per­for­mances that al­ready live on YouTube.

It must be hard to build a great mu­sic app be­cause no­body seems able to do it. Spo­tify is slow to load and com­pli­cated to use, bury­ing ba­sic fea­tures deep in­side menus. YouTube Mu­sic has a great web app, but doesn’t of­fer fea­tures as sim­ple as al­pha­bet­i­cally sort­ing your li­brary. Ap­ple Mu­sic looks great on the iPhone (and An­droid!), but on a Mac, it only works in­side the bloated iTunes app.


Ama­zon’s mo­bile app has a clean app in­ter­face and sim­ple lay­out, but it’s aw­ful on the web. Voice as­sis­tants have made these apps less im­por­tant, be­cause you can just ask for what­ever you want, but ser­vices should spend more time im­prov­ing their apps.

A mu­sic ser­vice only works when you can use it. In that sense, your choice might al­ready be made for you. Got an iPhone and think­ing

about a Home­Pod? Get Ap­ple Mu­sic and use Siri to con­trol it. If you’re an Alexa house­hold, Ama­zon Mu­sic works best. If you’re start­ing from scratch, Spo­tify’s the way to go: It’s prac­ti­cally ubiq­ui­tous across de­vices in­clud­ing Ama­zon’s Echo speak­ers, and the Spo­tify Con­nect fea­ture makes it easy to con­trol what’s play­ing—and where—from within the app.


Af­ter weeks of test­ing all four ser­vices side by side, I’m still a Spo­tify user. In part, though, that’s be­cause I’ve been a Spo­tify user for the bet­ter part of a decade. I’ve made hun­dreds of playlists, spent thou­sands of hours telling the ser­vice what I like and dis­like. Spo­tify knows my mu­sic taste bet­ter than I do. I’m not in love with the prod­uct so much as I am in­ex­tri­ca­bly grafted to it.

If you’re al­ready a mu­sic streamer, there’s lit­tle to en­tice you to switch al­le­giances. YouTube Mu­sic, the new­est en­trant, has a cou­ple of neat fea­tures, like a con­stantly up­dated “Off­line mix­tape” that makes sure you al­ways have fresh tracks avail­able for the sub­way ride. Still, noth­ing about it makes me want to leave my cur­rent setup.

If you’re look­ing for a way to get into the stream­ing world, though, Spo­tify’s the ob­vi­ous and best choice. It’s the Net­flix of mu­sic; avail­able al­most ev­ery­where, filled with great con­tent, end­lessly clever in the ways it helps you find stuff to watch. I wish it worked with Siri, but the in-app voice search works OK when I’m in the car.

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