As Apple enters the streaming game, CBR takes a look at the competition.
In the past Apple would have liked you to believe that the most revolutionary change between physical and digital music is that you can carry around your entire music collection in your pocket.
That may well have been true when the iPod and other mp3 players came out at the start of the century, but since then things have changed. The Internet, once the domain of a few academics, is now used by billions, and one day people will be able to connect to it from anywhere.
As such while we are used to carrying our entire music collection in our pockets, increasingly people are carrying the world’s music collection in their pockets – or more accurately accessing it via streaming services.
That leaves only one question: Which one is right for you?
Started in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, Spotify has grown to become the world’s most famous music streaming service. Users can listen to a huge variety of music for free, with the option of paying a monthly fee to remove adverts and download music for offline listening.
Deezer is a direct rival to Spotify, offering music fans a free service with ads or a paid for service without them. As well as accessing 35 million tracks paying customers can also use the Flow service, which is designed to automatically queue up appropriate playlists.
Rdio is one of Silicon Valley’s answers to the music streaming revolution, offering users a "personal radio station" whilst letting them share playlists and receive recommendations. Users can also browse by genre, artists or "mood".
4. Xbox Music
Over the years Microsoft has spread across every entertainment medium in existence, with Xbox Music only the latest addition to its growing gaming platform. Whilst the service can be accessed from all major smartphones, the firm will hope to drive users to Windows and Xbox in future.
5. Google All Access
In addition to offering paid-for music downloads via its Google Play store, the search engine also lets you buy an All Access pass that will let you listen to 30 million songs for free. Also included is the ability to create personalised radio stations, which adds music based on your previous plays.
6. YouTube Music Key
As well as offering a conventional streaming service in the form of Music Key, YouTube has long acted as a de facto streaming service owing to the huge library of music uploaded by users and, more recently, record labels. Users can pay to stop ads spoiling the experience – or alternatively use Adblock Plus and similar tools for free.
SoundCloud is part conventional streaming service where you can listen to hits from mainstream artists and part hub for budding musicians. This means as well as finding favourites from established groups you can also trawl through upcoming bands – a mixed experience, to say the least.
8. Apple Music
Apple’s entry into the music industry was hailed as one of the biggest events in the sector for some time. Behind the hype the service is much the same as the existing players, but given the firm’s existing position it would not be surprising if it made a big impact over the coming months.
Neil Young’s music service Pono is one of the few to have been pioneered by a celebrated musician. Inspired by the singer-songwriter’s distaste for poor quality mp3s, the service’s key selling point is the high quality of the recordings. The downside is a limited library of 2 million songs.
10. Classics Online HD
One of the few streaming service to target classical music, Classics Online HD also offers users a wide range of high quality formats without affecting the speed or reliability of the service. Users can browse through a wide catalogue of recordings, with the service also geared to help you expand your horizons.