Streaming music on your mobile.
Music streaming only really became a possibility when the mobile networks delivered consistent 3g services, this allowed streaming services to deliver music to your mobile without endless buffering. There are a number of streaming services available now which all seem to work on similar models, paid subscription (no adverts and fully featured) and free (with adverts and limited functionality). The main leap of faith for traditional music fans (like me) is that you don’t ever own the music, as long as you pay the subscription you have access to your music choices and playlists. With the average access price per month being the cost of one CD or one purchase on iTunes it is very good value for money. It is also worth noting that streaming music uses a lot of data so please ensure that you have enough, if you need more check out our best deals here
Spotify are a Swedish company who claim to be the biggest and the best (they would wouldn’t they).
They have over 40 million tracks available which is the same as Apple Music but about 10m short of the total found on amazon unlimited, Deezer and some others, but claims to have over 70 million users worldwide
There is a free version which has some advertising and restrictions on the number of skips per hour but at £9.99 the paid version is about the same price point as the other services available.
- Free tier with adverts.
- £9.99/month for Premium tier
- 50 per cent off Premium with Unidays or NUS Extra for student
- £15/month for a family of five
Spotify gives you access to a huge array of tracks, curated playlists such as New Music Friday as well as Spotify radio. Spotify radio learns what music you like and presents a continuous play of music (radio station) that matches what you listen to. You can use Spotify connect to play through compatible speakers.
Apple music is the ideal service if you already rely heavily on iTunes and an iPhone, it allows you to combine your iTunes purchases with the apple cloud music service and access all your music through the familiar iTunes interface.
The app has five tabs/features comprising Library, For You, Browse, Radio, and Search. For you chooses music for you based on your listening habits, browse present new music selected by apple music editors. The radio tab is where you will find beats radio which is a 24 hour live global music station led by DJ’s such as Zane Lowe.
- £9.99/month per user
- £14.99/month for a family of six
- £99.99/year – save £19.89 over monthly membership
- £4.99/month for Student Membership
- Free to listen to Beats 1 without subscription
Google Play Music.
Google play music has one key function that all the other streaming services do not have, you can upload your own music collection and store it on their servers although this is limited to a maximum of 100,000 tracks. This is great if your music taste is so underground that you will not find it on mainstream streaming services, you will also have access to over 35m music tracks, with a pretty good interface and the ability to listen to music offline. The only snag in the uploading of your own music is the time it is taking. Google have managed the server upload speeds, one user was reporting days to upload his music collection
The main selling point of tidal is the music quality, the premium version streams at the same rate as Spotify (if you have changed the settings to the highest quality) but the hifi version streams at CD quality 16-bit/44.1 KHz 1411Kb/sec with FLAC files and not MP3 which are a lot more compressed.
For the majority of users who are streaming through a mobile device and using standard headphones the uplift in the quality of the stream will not really be noticeable. If you are an audiophile and have a top end hifi or have invested in top end headphones the hifi version is well worth the extra £10.00 per month.
Deezer has over 53 million tracks in its catalogue, putting it ahead of every other streaming service out there, there three versions depending on which package you subscribe to, Standard 128kbps (free), Better 320 kbps (£10 a month) and HiFi 1411 kbps (£20 a month).
Please see the table below for a rough guide to the pricing. ( Nov 18)
|Service||Base monthly cost||Library size||Ads||Offline listening|
|Amazon Prime Music||Included with Prime||2m||No||Yes|
|Amazon Music Unlimited||£9.99||40m||No||Yes|
In conclusion, Spotify is the most popular but does not have the most tracks ( no Taylor Swift, OMG what are you going to do), Deezer and Tidal are good platforms that provide good quality services. All of the apps have moved on and now provide curated lists in some shape or form and playlists for moods, sport , indie, house and many other categories. They provide new music based on your listening habits as well as podcasts and now video. In order to minimise your data use you may want to store some music on your phone therefore a new phone with a good amount of storage would be a good investment, have a look at our latest deals.
Unless you are using top quality headphones or hifi gear we dont think that the extra £10 per month on Deezer and Tidal are really worth the money. You really need to be using DAC audio converters and headphone preamps to notice the service. My choice is Spotify, because there no possibility of stumbling across a Taylor Swift track!
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