Playing music used to be a dedicated process. Wiping the dust off the vinyl, switching on the amps and stereo system, and only then, could we pop the vinyl into the vinyl player to enjoy the amazing range of 8 songs on 2 sides. Now with music streaming services, all we have to do is to whip out our phones, and we have the entire collection of a million artists in our pocket. It’s not the iPod’s measly 10,000 songs in your pocket. It’s the about 90 million songs in languages you thought came from a Star Trek movie. No, Klingon is not real (or is it?)
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One question though, with all those music streaming services out there competing for your support, which platform will suit you best?
Comparison of the 4 Music Streaming Services
|Streaming Service/Features||Apple Music||Spotify||YouTube Music||Tidal|
HiFi – $9.98/month
HiFi Plus – $19.8/month)
(HiFi – $14.85/month
HiFi Plus – $29.7/month)
|Concurrent Streams For Family||6||6||6||6|
|No. of songs available||90 million||80 million||70 million||90 million|
|Music Quality||Up to 9216kbps||Up to 320kbps||Up to 128kbps||Up to 9216kbps|
The 4 music streaming services all offer around the same pricing for individuals: $9.90 for Spotify and $9.98 for Apple Music, YouTube Music and Tidal (HiFi). The cheapest option for students is Spotify at $4.99 per month.
For families, all 4 music streaming services allow up to 6 accounts on the same family subscription (Including the plan holder). This works out to be about $2.50 per user for Apple Music and YouTube Music which offer the cheapest pricing for families at $14.98.
However, price is only one aspect of choosing a music streaming service. So, let’s look at what unique features each service offers.
The giant of the tech market has made it very convenient for current Apple users to join Apple Music by rolling out Apple One. This allows current users to hop on the music streaming service with other notable Apple services (which most users will have) like iCloud.
All songs on the Apple Music platform can be streamed in lossless format, enabling you to hear the highest quality available on a streaming platform. They also have unique features such as spatial audio, that allow users to immerse themselves into “3D” audio at the highest possible quality.
Apple Music also works perfectly with other Apple devices like the HomePod or iPad. By using its “Continuity” feature, Apple Music subscribers will experience their music being able to flow from one device to another seamlessly.
Notable Features: High Fidelity Music | Integrates better with Apple Devices
Great For: Current Apple users | Audiophiles
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Spotify has been a mainstay for music streaming and is great for both iOS users and Android/Windows users. Its app works well on all platforms and boasts a huge library of songs. It also has the largest library of playlists out there, which can be a game changer on your next poker night with your friends. You can also collaborate on a playlist on Spotify to churn out that next mixtape for your loved ones.
As it turns out, having a huge collaborative playlist selection allows businesses like pubs, retail stores and even gyms to have access to a lexicon of music selection for their business premise. Giving them the opportunity to change the ambience, or to keep up with music trends for their customers. Spotify allows thirds party apps like Songkick that enable you to view when your favourite artist is performing live next. Spotify also integrates podcasts into its main application, adding the capability of tuning in to your favourite podcasts on a whim.
Notable Features: Third Party Integration | Playlist Collaboration
Great For: Students | For Most People | Retail stores & Businesses requiring in-premise music
YouTube Music is a separate service from YouTube Premium. However, you do get YouTube Music when you subscribe to YouTube Premium, although you would need to top up an extra couple of dollars to your monthly bill. If you already use YouTube for entertainment and education, it is very convenient to get YouTube Premium (in which you will get YouTube Music) to skip the ads, and you get to download videos to your devices as well. If you are already curating your playlist or usually listen to music via YouTube, getting YouTube Music (or Premium) might be a suitable choice moving forward.
What is awesome is that YouTube Music also translates video performances of songs into an audio format, which you can then listen to it whilst doing other tasks at home, or in the office. This will come in handy if you love to hear covers or live performances of your favourite songs that were only available in video format.
As YouTube is a free platform that many independent artists or garage bands use to showcase their music, you can also use YouTube Music to find and listen to lesser-known artists, including those who are hidden below the radar. In that way, you get to support the arts in their most basic forms.
Notable Features: Video to Audio Translation | Play “unofficial” indie-type songs
Great For: Current YouTube Premium subscriber | Heavy YouTube user | Supporting local artists
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Tidal prides itself on providing high-quality music to the masses. It brings in super high-quality music, with Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) format which plays songs close to the master recordings.
Since Tidal was founded by artists, they have ‘Tidal Originals’ which are documentary videos/special event videos that bring you behind-the-scenes and documentaries with your favourite artists. If you love your artists so much, you can purchase their HiFi Plus plan, which will pay out 10% of your plan to the artist that you listen to the most.
Notable Features: High-Quality Audio | Sony 360 Reality Audio | MQA
Great For: Audiophiles | Artist Fanbase
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