For many months, I’ve been pondering what music streaming service our household should use, trying to ascertain which offers the best overall service for us–not an easy task. Here-to-for we have been Pandora users. I like the simplicity of their stations concept and the ability to shuffle through the various stations you have created. However, their overall playlist offered in each station seems rather limited to me. I get tired of hearing the same stuff all the time.
Comparison between the Contenders
Out of the 4 or 5 major music streaming contenders, Apple Music and Spotify were the final contenders for what we would use: vast libraries, imperceptible differences in audio quality (for my ears at any rate), and both offer the same price point for family service.
I have good friends who love their Apple Music experience; so, I really gave this some careful consideration. I chose Spotify for several reasons.
- I tried Apple Music when it first came out and the search feature was abominable! I would generally find remakes instead of original artists. I hated it. I could never find anything and would have assumed it was my lack of understanding about how to best search save for the fact everyone was raging on about how deplorable their search functionality was.
Apple reportedly fixed this problem, but it was too late for me. My free 90 day trial service had expired. I never got to try it, and the damage to my trusting Apple has long ago been done. So very typical of Apple to release first and then try to figure out what they are actually doing.
Apple does not offer a retry of their service with the reportedly new search functionality. So. Oh well. Bad choice there Apple! You lost this potential family customer.
- Spotify offers a free version of their service with no time limit. Users can find out exactly what they have, how it works, and use it to their heart’s content with only a few limitations.
To me, this says Spotify is very confident in the streaming service they offer the customer. Try it out. Use it as much as you want. Like it? Then you can subscribe. I could spend enough time with Spotify to get to understand the logic of the service and its UI.
Apple doesn’t offer any sort of free try-it-for-as-long-as-like service. They have forgotten their customers and now care too much about their stock valuation. They just want to sell you over-priced dongles to nickel and dime their customers to death.
- We are pushing ourselves to evolve beyond the Apple ecosystem and diversify to force more competition for the corporate behemoth Apple has become. I want them to get off of their collective complacent asses and start truly innovating again and not merely iterating or playing catch up.
Apple wouldn’t need to do much more to piss me off enough to cause me to dump iTunes media management completely and go over to Vox for my media management!
- I have heard reports of Apple losing priceless original recordings, one offs, and other recordings in people’s personal collections when they first tried the Apple Music trial. My god! The Apple Music service just deleted them from their computers!
I have had iTunes Match do the same to me years ago. I know for a fact they deleted literally hundreds of pieces from my music library. Fortunately I maintain a rigorous on and off-site backup strategy and could restore the files they arbitrarily decided I shouldn’t own!
- Spotify integrates with Waze navigation. I use Waze a lot. Nice!
- I can start listening in the house and continue right where I left off when I get in the car or pull out my phone or iPad anywhere I have a cell or WiFi signal to do the same.
- Spotify and Sonos play well together. Tim loves Sonos!
- iTunes Genius music recommendations for me never hit the mark. They were always waaaaay off. I always suspected they were filled with tracks they made more money off of but can’t verify that at all.
Spotify’s recommended music is based on a variety of factors well beyond simply genre. And thus far, I’m shocked at how spot on their recommendation engine is. I’m not sure how they do it exactly, but I’m really enjoying a lot of new music as a result of their recommendations.
- I also love the fact that SoundHound integrates with Spotify. I can be out in the wild and encounter a piece of music, have SoundHound listen to it, identify it, and automatically add it to my SoundHound playlist in Spotify.
I have read that SoundHound now also integrates with Apple Music.
I’ve been enjoying the Spotify Premium service. Learning the apps has been a bit of a challenge because each app’s UI on each platform (desktop, iPad, and iPhone) is somewhat different. That’s confusing to me. Mix that in with the fact that Sonos and Spotify integrate tightly, and you have all kinds of possibilities for media management and listening. The options are great, but this requires a learning curve to figure out what works best for your needs and setup.
Yes, Spotify lost my premium account a few years back when they handled user data privacy in a slaphappy and rather careless manner. I think they learned quickly that such actions have immediate consequences with a significant number of customers.
So, I’m loving’ me some Spotify music goodness.