Loud reverberations and deep rhythmic vibrations, even music at its fundamental stage has been an intergral part of human existence since the beginning.
Music moves us, but just like us, it has evolved as well. Ask anyone 40 years ago if they thought they would be able to enjoy virtually any song at anytime on an electronic device that fits in the palm of your hand and you’d probably be met with a fair amount of skepticism and labeled an overly enthusiastic impractical hippie.
Fast forward to 2017, how we listen to music has been completely overhauled once again. From 8-tracks and turntables, to cassettes and CDs, to the revolutionary introduction of the mp3, streaming services simplify the insatiable thirst for consumer convenience when it comes to music.
Streaming services provide a great service when it comes to instantly listening to almost any genre, artist, single, or album at any given moment, but with all the competition bidding for your attention, which streaming service is the best?
Top 6 paid and free subscription music streaming apps
6. Apple Music
Apple Music was undoubtedly late to the party when it comes to streaming services, but Apple’s turned the faux pas of tardiness into being fashionably late by being a viable contender in the streaming market.
Originally Beats music streaming service, the Apple acquisition rebranded the service, killed some of the competition in the process and made up for lost time. Apple revolutionized the world of MP3 with the introduction of the iPod as it became the standard for what an MP3 player should be.
As buying MP3 became inherently expensive and renting the access to large digital libraries became more practical, it was only fitting that Apple offered a streaming service as well.
In order to attract customers, the Apple Music streaming service offered music deal exclusives, directly working with mainstream artists like Drake in order to draw in a crowd, but incentivized gimmicks can only work for so long, how is the actual service itself?
Apple understands that convenience is key, and holding down the home button to access Siri and tell the digital assistant to play whatever song you wish to hear is pretty amazing. There’s no typing involved, no flicking around and scrolling through text, and this feature alone is at least worth giving Apple Music a try if you own an iPhone or any other iOS device.
The primary strength in Apple Music’s streaming service comes from their ability to use the right algorithms to curate better playlists and suggestions based on what you play. They also offer radio stations and similar artist suggestions like most other standard streaming services.
The downside of Apple Music is in their interface, which can be a bit confusing at times when attempting to find whatever is you’re looking for. It’s possible they may correct this issue in a re-haul on the next iOS upgrade, but for now Spotify really rules in the space of a clean cut simple interface.
5. Google Play Music
Google Play Music offers what would be considered a standard streaming service but with a twist. It really is hard to lose when you’re Google, and because they’ve been around awhile and you’ve “Googled” something at least once in your life, chances are they might know what you need; like a big brother.
Google Play Music offers a Free and Paid version, and while the free version may seem pretty average as any other streaming service, the paid version of Google Music Play offers an edge by adding their YouTube Red subscription included in the Google Music Play package.
For those of us old enough to remember when the YouTube App on iOS was an icon of retro television and unlimited data didn’t come with a catch, YouTube audio background play wasn’t a bonus feature, it was standard. Fast forward to 2017 and the since removal of playing YouTube audio in the background, this feature has made a comeback with YouTube Red.
The icing on the cake comes from the elimination of advertising on both Google Play Music and YouTube Red. There’s no more “wait 5 seconds to skip” and that additional double feature alone should be enough to spark something of an interest in checking the service out.
Being ubiquitous is key in an overly saturated market, and by being early in the music streaming service industry, it helped Spotify solidify their spot in becoming the standard service people think about when we hear the term streaming music service.
Spotify offers a free and premium paid version with the latter being the better of the two.
The paid version offers more features and breaks the mold that advertisement laced music streaming services suffer from, monotony. Spotify has had ample time to learn and have become pretty accurate with relative music and suggestions.
They also suggest concerts in your area of music that you primarily listen to so you’re fully aware of which artists will be in a city near you. Spotify is very quick with the releases of new music, making sure you’re not late with listening to that album you’ve been waiting for from your favorite artist.
The top 3 free streaming services
Pandora was very early in the music streaming service with their model basically becoming the standard for what free music streaming should be. Their service setup worked similar to radio stations, but with more music and less advertisements because who really wants to be interrupted with “please buy my product” after every two songs?
Pandora worked by using artist or song “stations.” The user would select their favorite artist or song, and the algorithm for that artist or song’s station would stream the music you want to hear for free with audio advertisements being played after a certain amount of songs.
Users were able to skip up to 6 songs per 24 hours due to music licensing agreements. This gave birth to services like Spotify, who offered a similar free version but also a paid version to rid the advertisement and play entire albums as well as stations and unlimited skipping.
The only problem with Pandora is in the algorithms of the app which relies more on the individual “thumbs upping” or “thumbs downing” singles to become more accurate in their curation. They also currently offer a paid advertisement free version.
SoundCloud burst onto the scene looking to offer more than just advertisements and stations. SoundCloud became the outlet and platform for indie artists as well as mainstream artists to experiment with singles and get a feel for the music lovers and fans reception.
The ideology behind SoundCloud was to connect with the artist and discover new music. SoundCloud initially started out as a free music streaming service but recently started offering a paid version to keep up with the competition and offer more features.
1. 8 Tracks
The 8 Tracks music streaming app looked to innovate the free music streaming service industry by offering user curated playlists of many hard to find and unknown artist, songs, and genres.
The main mission behind 8 Tracks was to offer playlists that fit moods rather than only playing songs that sound alike. For the older less Internet familiar crowd that’s still unsure what exactly vaporwave is, or where dubstep went, 8 Tracks has you covered. 8 Tracks was genuinely about discovering new music and exploring, as well as, experiencing creatively curated playlists.
Let’s us know below what apps that you already use, or any that were missed on this list and help your fellow music lovers discover something new.