If you’ve been keeping up with the latest music news, you know there’s something of a war for supremacy going on. One of the latest blows has been dealt by Tidal, Jay-Z’s new subscription streaming service, that promises to pay artists fair prices when their songs are streamed. There are, of course, other alternatives to Tidal, one of which is Apple Music. There have been some complaints that Apple Music’s 3-month free trial doesn’t pay artists whose songs are streamed during the trial period, but does Apple’s streaming service really deserve its bad rep and how does it stack up against other streaming services?
Unlike other streaming services, Apple Music offers a $14.99 monthly “Family Plan” that can be shared with others, as the Verge mentioned. Another unique feature of Apple’s service is Connect, a mini social network that lets fans talk directly to artists and follow musicians to see exclusive stuff they’re releasing, like lyrics that aren’t finished yet, videos of backstage, and so on. Well-played, Apple.
Then, of course there’s Pandora. The streaming service recently unleashed Pandora One, an ad-free streaming experience that will set you back a mere $4.99 per month. According to its website, Pandora One also offers higher-quality audio for paid users.
Finally, we come to Google Music. Despite its name, Google music can be used without having to have one of Google’s Android devices. Although it’s free for basic use, the service asks for a credit card to verify where you live and make sure it’s complying with all music copyright laws for your country.
Google Music has everything you’d expect from a streaming service, such as personalized radio stations based on artists, songs, or mood. However, it also allows you to store 50,000 songs in the cloud for free, which is probably plenty, for even the most extreme music lovers. Along the same lines, Amazon Music gives you space for 20,000 free songs, and will let you download music right to your device if you’re using Android. It also displays music you’ve added to your phone’s stock music app (again, on Android only).
In the end, your choice of service really boils down to what you want in a streaming platform. If you want storage, Amazon or Google’s options should work just fine; if you’re not overly interested in storage or don’t mind using two different services, combining Spotify with Google Music may be more your speed. Apple Music provides a more social experience, as well as having stations that are curated by humans, so it’s not just a matter of a machine picking songs you might like based on other songs you enjoy.
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