The Battle of Popular Music Streaming Services

Streaming music services are very mainstream now and really a great step forward in allowing us all to have exposure to an infinite amount of material that ultimately allows us to discover and enjoy more music.

With Apple Music being released just the other day, I wanted to throw my 2 cents in about the main players, Google Play Music All Access (such a long name), Spotify and Apple Music.

Google Play Music All Access

In my personal opinion (and I completely respect that this a subjective matter), Google Play Music All Access lacks the polish of the other two services.

Here are some of the reasons that I personally ruled it out rather quickly after starting my trial. It primarily relates to the exprience on desktops (Windows and OS X).

On desktops, there are no official native clients and having the service in a browser simply isn’t the same for me, and here’s why:

  • The online version of Google Play All Access Music doesn’t appear to support gapless playback (especially useful for live albums or continous mixes).
  • The online version doesn’t allow you to store music for offline listening, so desktop users must stream.
  • Having Google Play Music All Access in a browser makes it harder to deal with on the desktop, it forces you to have a browser open at all times and just quitting your browser after browsing (a very common practice) means that you will stop the tunes too.

The music selection seemed rather decent to me but these limitations were a good reason to rule out Google Play Music All Access. I primarily listen to music on my desktop and so this was a rather big deal.

Spotify vs Apple Music

I’ll start by saying that both these services are awesome and I don’t think you can go wrong with either (unless you’re currently an Android user, in which case you may wish to hold out on Apple Music until the app comes out).

So let’s just get to the pros of Apple Music over Spotify first:

  • Music videos! (something I find myself watching often now).
  • Update videos directly from artists (nice touch).
  • Much easier ability to make contents available offline on desktops (Spotify bizzarly only allows playlists to be made available offline on desktops, not Your Music). With Apple Music, I can make my entire music library available offline in a second.
  • Works much more reliably behind a proxy (which many of us are stick with at work on corporate networks).
  • A very generously priced family plan.
  • Ability to view items in your library based on Genre.
  • iTunes has an awesome mini player which Spotify lacks.

And on the Spotify end, there are some pros over Apple Music in my opinion:

  • Gorgeous dark interface on all platforms (love dark UIs).
  • An Android app (with Apple Music coming later this year).
  • A more polished collection of music (Apple Music is strangely missing certain albums and singles from artists, but it seems to be expanding the list daily).

Overall, I’m really liking Apple Music so far and favour it a over Spotify. If Apple can get the music collection to match what’s on Spotify and the Android app is good, then I think it will be my choice going forward.

What are your thoughts? Are there any other important factors that make you choose one over the other?

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