Music to our Ears: Streaming Services that Rock!

by Modis on July 28, 2015

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The way we consume and enjoy music continues to change in the digital age, as we’ve moved from tapes to CDs, to MP3s, to fully streamed audio. Many of the top music streaming services give you access to a vast library of music songs from your favorite artists. At their core, these different services all have fairly similar offerings and features, though each does have some notable perks and quirks. Here’s a quick look at the major players in the song streaming world and what sets them apart.

Google Play Music

30 day free trial, $9.99 /mo

Initially, Google’s music streaming service catered heavily to the Android user market, even though it has since expanded to iOS and beyond! While it has many features of its competitors, the ability to upload and store 50,000 of your own songs in a personalized music lock is a winning feature. Also, the fact that you can then download those songs you’ve uploaded from your music collection anywhere is a standout perk.

– 50,000 song music locker and download capabilities
– Lots of customization features
– Intuitive, clean interface

– No free option, beyond the trial
– Geared more towards Android users


$10/mo or $20/mo lossless audio

Premium sound quality among streaming music comes at a premium price, but that’s one of the perks of Tidal’s approach if you’re a serious audiophile who wants to support the musicians behind your favorite jams. This artist-run music streaming service is backed by big names like Jay-Z, Daft Punk, Madonna, Beyonce and more. Exclusive concerts and videos from the sizable stable of artist-owners make this service a good pick, particularly if you’re willing to pay more for the absolute best sound quality you can get. Other features, like pre-selected themed playlists and special artist-curated playlists help further set Tidal apart from the pack.

– Lossless audio for premium users
– Free 30 day trial
– Special artist-exclusive content

– Pricey

Apple Music

$9.99 /mo single, $14.99 /mo family plan

Everybody knows iTunes, but Apple Music is the company’s latest push into the content streaming realm. This subscription-based streaming service is relatively new, having launched on June 30th and it comes pre-installed on all newer iOS devices. Blending traditional music streaming, music discoverability features, video play, a 24-hour “Beats 1” radio station and even Siri voice command integration, Apple Music has a lot to offer, though some critics note this first launch iteration offers an uneven experience.

– Family plan is good value
– Free three-month trial
– Lots of features and an offline mode

– No permanent free option
– Mixed reviews + still some kinks to work out with interface


Free (ad supported) or $4.99 /mo

Taking a different approach than many of the other music streaming service available, Pandora is a customizable internet radio service that lets build virtual stations around your favorite artists. You select an artist, and it’ll play a song from them at random, then cycle through a rotation of similar bands before circling back around to your selected artist. It’s great for discovering new music based on bands and performers you like.

– Free option
– Easy, intuitive and hands-off
– Great for new music discovery

– Limited skips per listening session (free option)
– “Stations” start to repeat/recycled many of the same songs from one session to the next
– Little control over what songs get played


Free (ad supported) or $9.99 /mo premium

Sporting a clean, accessible user interface and the option to cherry pick your favorite songs and albums to listen to with a premium account. Spotify is a popular service that pairs streaming music, podcasts, video and even lets you upload and listen to your own music collection. Spotify’s ad supported free radio option provides an easy on-ramp for new users, but after six months of free listening on mobile, it limits you to 10 hours per month. The desktop version is even more constricting, clamping down on 2.5 hours per week for the free version. Still, it hasn’t stopped the service from growing substantially.

– Accessible and easy to use
– Free options for mobile and desktop
– Good customization

– Free accounts become very limited beyond the initial window

Which service will you choose?

Regardless of which streaming music service you choose, there are a lot of high-tech perks to going all-online with your music collection. The future is now…are you tuning in?

New Music Services Mean New Tech Jobs

As online music services continue to evolve, so will the workforce that supports them. New technology jobs will emerge and we’re ready to help connect tech professionals to these opportunities. Contact one of our 60 locations today to find your next exceptional career!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ferdinand October 9, 2015 at 11:40 am

Great podcast, and pecfert timing. We want Apple TV since we have macs, iPods, and iPads but none of our TVs are hdmi compatible. We picked up the RCA one at Target (diff model than Walmart’s; has better remote and an ethernet port) and wanted to know if it was worth even opening. It is being set up now so when we do get the apple TV we can just move this to the playroom. Thanks!

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