When the “Which streaming app do you use?” conversation comes up, I usually stay silent. I can’t give a one-word answer because I have four subscriptions. Then the inevitable follow-up “Why do you have four subscriptions!?” Which leads me to a rant that makes me sound like some streaming service snob.
Is this my way of repenting for my high school days of building a music library with Limewire and Bittorrent? That actually sounds good. I’ll start giving that answer in public settings. The real reason why I can’t seem to cancel one of the four has more to do with FOMO and less to do with morality.
If I could pay $25 for just one service, it would be Spotify. And yes I’m aware of the free tier. 1) Once you go no ads, you can’t go back. 2) They have a “Make Available Offline” feature for playlists. This comes in handy on road trips through slow data zones.
Everything from the user interface to the recommendation algorithm is great. The recommendation algorithm is why I fell in love with Spotify. I’ve never been a Pandora fan. For my weird genres, Spotify always finds new tracks I enjoy.
Do you know about the Discover Weekly playlist? Every Monday Spotify builds a playlist with 30 tracks based on your listening habits. LPT: Turn on the “Private Session” feature to have Spotify ignore your guilty pleasure listening.
Google Play Music
Until Youtube Red, the size of the library was the main reason I still had Google Play Music. You can also upload up to 50,000 tracks to the Google Play Music cloud. That’s right, the metric is the number of tracks, not the file size. Which means you can stream all those rare tracks you have on your old desktop.
With Youtube Red, Google Play Music has become a necessary subscription. Youtube Red allows you to stream ad-free videos, save them offline and play in the background of your other apps. The latter being a petty premium feature. Youtube Music is another app that’s included with the subscription. It’s an enhanced experience if you’re just listening to music. If you’re a frequent host, you need a Youtube Red subscription.
The newest addition to my automatic billing. Isn’t Soundcloud fr… remember the ads? Also, you might have recently noticed a bunch of new tracks on Soundcloud with a 30-second preview. These tracks can only be listened to if you have the Soundcloud Go subscription.
Soundcloud is a must for finding underground artist/tracks. If you’re like me, you’ll want to make playlists that mix the underground with the mainstream (Alternative R&B anybody?).
Full disclosure: I’m an android guy. The Apple Music experience might be better on an iPhone.
I’m not a huge fan of Apple Music. Pharrell is the only reason I pay for this streaming service. I’m a huge Pharrell fan. I own physical copies of all N.E.R.D’s albums and I’m a long-time lurker of the fan forums. Before you laugh, read this article about the magic of those fan forums. But I digress, Pharrell has a Beats 1 radio program “Othertone,” that I can’t imagine missing.
I also enjoy some of the other curated stations and exclusive tracks. Right now (6/14/2016), Apple Music is the only place I can stream DJ Khaled and Drake’s new jam “For Free”.
Recently Cancelled: Tidal
My heritage implores me to support black-owned businesses. I felt guilty for cancelling this one. I started the trial to listen to Beyonce’s “Formation” (don’t judge me). Forgot to cancel, then Kanye’s album came out (stop judging me). Then “Becky with the good hair” was all over my timeline so I had to check out Lemonade. Then Prince died, did you know Tidal is the only place you can stream all Prince’s music?.
Yet, all that wasn’t enough to justify a monthly subscription. I’m sure I’ll come crawling back when Jay-Z releases his next album.
What streaming service(s) are you subscribed to and why? Which service do you think has the best claim to the iron throne?