Of late, there has been loads of interest in streaming music to both iOS and Android devices. It has suddenly become a hot new area of interest to the point that even Twitter jumped into the bandwagon, fell off it and wants to get back right in with a new music discovery app.
Why is music streaming so hot now? Well you don’t have to look far to realize that people want content and they are not going to pay for it.
Pop songs are a dime a dozen these days. People don’t care much in terms of music copyright as they have taken the liberty to rewrite the definition into something that sounds like “a right to copy”. If the music you hear on radio is hot, what makes you think that you are going to like it after listening to it fifty times? And once you get tired of the song, you’d be wondering why in the world did you pay for it since all you got was a a download and not a physical object that contained the music that you could eBay one day. In short, a music download is vaporware.
How Music Streams Works
Musicians, journalist and photographers who worked on the traditional career model can count themselves as casualties of the Internet age. Album sales and single sales don’t make much sense now. Record companies have traditionally used single sales as a way to promote an album but these days, you may as well give away that single in the hope someone will buy the album.
Musicians in particular have it hard. Gone are the days where music artist could rake in 20 to 50 million album sales globally. They would count themselves to be extremely lucky to get a million album downloads—which you would should be so lucky to cash in that check to pay your gas bill once the Record company takes its cut of the revenue. So for this alone, it’s best for music companies to strike while it is hot. Get the music out there, carpet bomb the music streaming services, and get the artist to work his or her ass off at Live concerts just to earn the dough.
This is why music streaming is hot. You get to listen to almost ANY up and coming artist on Streaming audio. Music stations, both free to air and Internet based, are a dime a dozen too. Don’t like the voice of the DJ? Flip the switch on the Internet and you can be listening to a station playing live in Iceland.
All you need is a fast Wifi connection in the office to enjoy this. On mobile, you need to have unlimited data (without those artificial fair use policy caps). Streaming music is best at 128kbps, any will affect the music quality. Oh yea, and a paid subscription. That’s the only way to do the offline listening on your mobile device.
Let’s Start with GrooveShark
Available as an app on Android and some say iOS. Grooveshark has been in and out of the iTunes store in many guises to the point that it is officially denied entry by Apple in 2012. It has since been booted out to Cydia, where it thrives today.
Google also booted Grooveshark out of the playstore. Many still skin the HTML5 web login as an app. Just do a search and you’d find many imitations but Grooveshark is cool enough to let that happen.
Officially, Grooveshark wants you to access its service via your mobile app browser where the HTMC5 version resides. So it’s no big deal here. What I like about this service is that you care able to search for any songs you like and play them on your device. Look under the broadcast list for radio stations to listen to, the list isn’t that long and the choices may be limited. You can broadcast your own list of songs to the world and though you can voice over them like a DJ, you could gain followers who admire your music taste.
Spotify is Not as Groovy
These blokes want your money. Enough said. They give you a few days to test the service then demand a subscription payment. Which is fine if you like their service. After the trial period, they will not allow you to play randomly selected songs from their store house of music. You can select an artist and play the whole album. Add songs to a playlist you create and enjoy that later…which is another way around their restrictions.
Spotify has an offline mode which allows you to listen to songs within a playlist once you become a premium subscriber. This will consume lots of storage so please mindful about your storage capacity. BTW, Spotify is owned by the music companies so in that sense they want your money real quick. It cost US$10 a month for this service should you ever think of going premium.
Rdio sounds Awesome
Operates in the same way as Spotify. Choose your music, set your playlist and play away. The desktop version is lovely. The mobile app? Well, you need to get a paid subscription to listen in offline mode.
I like Rdio better for some reason, maybe because their trial period is far longer than the nonsense Spotify sells you. You also pay less than what Spotify charges, with US$5 a month for the service for mobile and web use.
SoundCloud is for Musicians
Free to play and use, this is an artist haven, at least for those starting out in the music business. You give people a listen to your latest mix and get feedback. It’s not a streaming service as is but there is a large crowd out there who upload (yes, you can upload music directly to your account) copyrighted music. Any playlist you make can be made public, which is great if you want to gain followers of your taste in music.
Since this was made for musicians, only bands and singers (DJs too) are the target audience. Soundcloud PRO charges users US$6 a month to upload 4 hours of music. Free service only allows for 2 hours max.
The amount of copyrighted music uploaded here is unbelievable. I mean, if you don’t care too much for offline listening, this is the place to start. There are unique mixes to all the pop music your hear and hey, you can get started with a DJ mix if you want to.
The Rest of the Pack
Pandora, Beats Music App, Last.fm all do the same thing in varying degrees. The problem is which of these suits you best in terms of your pocket money. In the past, that’s in my time at least, we all budgeted money to enjoy music. Every month, we would spend 15 to 50 dollars on buying albums on CDs or Vinyl. But this is no longer the case with the Internet. The free music you get on the Internet just didn’t make it sound anymore.
Among the services you find online, the oldest is Pandora, which has been around since 2000.
Pandora is facing a slew of copyrighted music problems so that said, the playlist is going to be limited. The newest kid on the block is Beats Music, which unfortunately only exist for the US market only for now.
Free music is here to stay. Just like those professionally shot photos being passed around the Internet like a cheap whore, it just doesn’t make sense to buy music anymore. So if you want to make it a fair to the music companies, why not use a streaming service?
To take the best option, get the Mobile Streaming App, buy a monthly subscription for a service and listen offline till you can listen no more. By then, there would be fresh music on the scene to refresh that playlist. At least by doing this, you are making it worthwhile for your fave bands and singers to keep doing what they do.