Sonos would like you to think that they deliver a superior range of music streaming services, they don’t with all the streaming services now battling it out with their streaming services even available on the cheapest of devices.
Last night Telstra used streaming content from Apple to spruik their services during last nights State Of Origin match.
Currently Spotify and Apple Music account for nearly two-thirds of the music industry’s revenue however Amazon and Google now want a share of this business and they are currently re-engineering their services.
The battle ground is the $10 a month for unlimited access to tens of millions of tracks with some services set to launch High Res audio content for $13.99 a month.
The big four are Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Google’s new YouTube Music. All four offer huge libraries of songs and are accessible almost everywhere and all the services are similar.
Recently the Wall Street Journal presented their view of each service.
Apple Music scores points for its Beats 1 radio station, which frequently offers exclusive interviews and guest DJ sets from famous artists. Apple also lets you combine your local library with its streaming selection.
YouTube Music does even better: It not only hosts all the songs you’re looking for, but countless music videos, remixes, covers and live performances that already live on YouTube.
It must be hard to build a great music app because nobody seems able to do it. Spotify is slow to load and complicated to use, burying basic features deep inside menus. YouTube Music has a great web app, but doesn’t offer features as simple as alphabetically sorting your library. Apple Music looks great on the iPhone (and Android!), but on a Mac, it only works inside the bloated iTunes app.
Amazon’s mobile app has a clean app interface and simple layout, but it’s awful on the web. Voice assistants have made these apps less important, because you can just ask for whatever you want, but services should spend more time improving their apps.
A music service only works when you can use it. In that sense, your choice might already be made for you. Got an iPhone and thinking about a HomePod? Get Apple Music and use Siri to control it. If you’re an Alexa household, Amazon Music works best. If you’re starting from scratch, Spotify’s the way to go: It’s practically ubiquitous across devices including Amazon’s Echo speakers, and the Spotify Connect feature makes it easy to control what’s playing—and where—from within the app.
After weeks of testing all four services side by side, I’m still a Spotify user. In part, though, that’s because I’ve been a Spotify user for the better part of a decade. I’ve made hundreds of playlists, spent thousands of hours telling the service what I like and dislike. Spotify knows my music taste better than I do. I’m not in love with the product so much as I am inextricably grafted to it.
If you’re already a music streamer, there’s little to entice you to switch allegiances. YouTube Music, the newest entrant, has a couple of neat features, like a constantly updated “Offline mixtape” that makes sure you always have fresh tracks available for the subway ride. Still, nothing about it makes me want to leave my current setup.
If you’re looking for a way to get into the streaming world, though, Spotify’s the obvious and best choice. It’s the Netflix of music; available almost everywhere, filled with great content, endlessly clever in the ways it helps you find stuff to watch. I wish it worked with Siri, but the in-app voice search works OK when I’m in the car.