How to Choose a Music Streaming Service

The ways people listen to music are rapidly evolving. MP3 players and CDs are virtually obsolete, having been replaced with smartphones and internet music streaming. There are so many different internet music services to choose from, but some of the most popular include Spotify, Pandora, and SoundCloud.

Spotify is one of the leading on-demand music streaming services with over twenty million users. Charging $9.99 a month, Spotify allows users to make and share playlists with friends, and also listen to music from its continuously growing library of thirty million songs. It is the only music streaming service that allows you to make and share playlists with your friends, so it offers a social aspect to music that other services do not. Also, Spotify has many pre-made playlists that are organized into genres, moods, and events, which makes it great for discovering new music. That, in addition to the fact that it has the largest music library compared to other services, puts Spotify at the top. However, people who enjoy listening to music on their phones may need to splurge for the premium version. The free mobile app lacks the options that are available on a computer. The mobile version only allows users to listen to songs on shuffle, and the frequent ads become frustrating. Spotify is ideal for someone who would otherwise buy multiple songs a month; the premium version would ultimately end up saving a lot of money. If you love discovering new music, making playlists, and sharing it with your friends, Spotify is the music service for you.

Another very well-known internet radio service, Pandora allows users to type in a genre, song, or artist, and it plays songs similar to what was entered. The size of their music library is around one million songs, which is small in comparison to other music streaming services. The premium version is very similar, but it has more skips for songs and no ad interruptions. Pandora is convenient for users who do not want to search for new songs but still want some different music to listen to. There are different stations for moods, events, artists, and genres, which is similar to Spotify playlists. However, Pandora’s songs in a station aren’t limited to the songs of a playlist, so there are more options. Unfortunately. the free version has a limited number of skips, so if someone doesn’t like a song but has run out of skips, he or she just has to deal with it and wait until the song ends. Also, like Spotify, the constant advertisements on the free version can get in the way. The biggest downside to Pandora is the limit of a small music library. Pandora is the best option if you don’t feel like hunting for your next favorite song and would rather sit back and listen to new music.

SoundCloud is a Swedish music service that allows users to create and share their own music, while also listening to music other users have created. There are three tiers of membership: the first one is free, and there are two different paid options, which include benefits like better upload time and stats. SoundCloud lets users find a lot of cool and interesting remixes of music made by users that are only available on SoundCloud. It promotes creativity with music, and lets people promote the music they create. Also, the free version doesn’t have annoying pop up ads like Spotify and Pandora. The downsides to SoundCloud are that it is not very organized, and there are more bad remixes on SoundCloud than good ones. It is not organized by genre, so it can be hard to sort through all the remixes on the site to find the best music. Also, there is not any music editing software on the app itself, so if users want to make a remix, they have to use other software and transfer it to SoundCloud. SoundCloud is best for people who love listening to and creating their own music.

There are many options today for online music streaming, each with their own good and bad qualities. But with the amount of variety available, there is definitely something out there for everyone.

Cailin Jacobs
staff writer

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