Some background: I am a music person. I have 55gb of music in my iTunes library and more reserved not on my iTunes. I’m also a purist. I pretty much only listen to albums all the way through. None of that playlist stuff. My ideal date is listening to the entire Beatles discography in chronological order by album (that’s a lie, but good line).
Inevitably, I’m growing tired of my music. I’ve listened to all of these albums all the way through and I know every word to every song. I can ~badly~ do the low, middle, and high harmonies and I can tell you if the acoustic version is better. Another issue I am having is figuring out new bands. I know their sound, and I love their sound, but I’m getting tired of it. I don’t want to be growing tired of music. I’ve started turning to podcasts (recommendation: Planet Money) but I miss the thrill of that new great album.
So, I’m looking for a streaming service. I don’t do lists of “bests” but I want to at least discuss a few.
Apple Music- $5 with student discount (1 month free)
I am NOT an Apple hater. In fact, I am typing this on my MacBook Air. However, I feel the feels for iTunes right now. The bad feels. When iTunes Radio came out I was pretty excited. I listened to it. I much preferred their radio algorithms to Pandora’s (I really hated Pandora’s algorithms, but that’s a different section) because they played music that I liked, not music that they thought I could like. For some radio stations (Herbie Hancock radio) there weren’t even ads! Then, with the genesis of Apple Music that all went away. I was angry when I had to pay for my Herbie Hancock Radio or my Kaiser Chiefs radio. I feel so hurt by them that I am done with Apple Music. Even if it’s cheaper, my heart can’t be bought by cheaper.
Pandora- Free with ads, $4.99 without
It’s just radio, I want to play what I want when I want it. Next.
Ok, not next. If I put in an artist that isn’t in the billboard top 100 I still only get billboard top 100 artists. If I put in an indie band, I want to listen to indie, not whatever Pandora gives me.
Spotify- Free with ads, $5 with student discount (3 months for $1)
Spotify is the obvious answer. It’s pretty cheap (well, comparable in price to the others so far) and it seems to have all the music I want
Taylor Swift- Not on it. Taylor Swift famously left Spotify because of money reasons. (She was still making a ton of money off of Spotify)
Lemonade, Beyonce- Nope. They don’t have that either. They have the rest of Beyonce though. But they don’t seem to have some of the newest latest and greatest albums.
Another thing to keep in mind is all of the ads. Their ads are finicky. You can’t turn down the volume on them, you can’t skip them, and they are everywhere. Because Spotify is an app, and not a website, you can’t use ad blocker to remove anything. So many ads. The graphic designers made this cool interface with a cook charcoal color scheme, but the ugly green ad banner really detracts from it.
I also don’t like that Spotify markets to my age demographic. Music isn’t for college students, so neither should Spotify. It just rubs me the wrong way.
Google Music- $10 (first month free)
I’m currently test running my free month on Google music and I have to say I like it. I really like it. I like that it’s super easy to put all of my music up onto Google Music; I like that its google; I like that they can also handle my podcasts (another recommendation: What’s the point by fivethirtyeight); I like that they have T-Swift (whom I don’t actually listen to); and I like that Ad Blocker works on it. It’s great.
I hate their recommendations. It just recommends music I already know or music that isn’t my taste at all. I don’t listen to rap, why are you showing me Drake? I also don’t like that if I want to share my account (shhh) I have to give someone my Google credentials. That includes my Google Drive, my gmail, my photos, and my calendar. I want to be able to send the latest album to my mom without her knowing everything that I’m doing in my life.
Google music is also less mainstream. I’m into that. I also like that I can put their uploader onto friends computers and I can poach their entire iTunes. That’s nice. (That idea was curtesy of my last boss who used to do that).
You may have noticed that it is $5 more expensive than Spotify premium for students. I don’t know if I can look past that much money as a student. But we will see.
In my very short analysis, I have decided against Apple Music and Pandora. I’m on the fence for Google Music and Spotify. If at the end of 30 days Google Music hasn’t stolen my heart, I think I’ll be giving my rose to Spotify Premium.