Whether you were raised in the flying forties, the swinging sixties or the new millennium, there’s nothing quite like listening to the music you grew up on. No new tune can ever replace those first songs that got your foot tapping and your head nodding along to the beat. In today’s throwaway society it can be difficult to know how to listen to all your favourite tunes; whether you should invest in costly CDs, get back into vinyl during its third wave or simply keep hoping that your faithful cassette player hangs on just one more year.
With any physical recording, there is always the risk of it sustaining damage over time, whether that’s due to overplaying, less than ideal storage conditions or just the plain old ravages of time. No such vulnerability exists on the internet. Whilst there are a host of different variables at work, including file type, media player and audio device, the general consensus is that listening to music online guarantees quality and accessibility.
You would trust online third party hosts like BBC iPlayer for superior quality television programmes, PokerStars casino for safe and secure gaming, or PayPal for transactions both business and personal. So it makes sense to trust online music hosting sites like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and online radio. Each host site has different qualities which attract different types of listener, but one thing they all have in common is that they want to deliver the best quality version of a song straight to your ears.
Perhaps one of the most well-known and certainly one of the most downloaded music player apps available today, Spotify has dominated this area of the music market for years. The constant revisions and adjustments that are made to the app, the computer programme and the online player clearly have customer satisfaction in mind. Whether you want to listen to indie rock music from 2004 or Elton John’s entire back catalogue, Spotify has you covered.
Spotify has many great features, allowing users to create playlists, share music and follow friends all on the same platform. This social approach to listening to music has been a big winner, and for some people has completely replaced the traditional option of purchasing music to keep to yourself. With just a few simple taps, you can share what you’re listening to across all your social media platforms, send a personally curated playlist to a mate, or simply let Spotify’s algorithm do the work and play you your new favourite band.
Although Apple Music does have a free trial option for new users, it is primarily a paid music streaming service. So, why should you bypass the fee-free Spotify in favour of this app? Well, for a start Spotify is really only worth it if you pay for their premium option; otherwise, you’ll be inundated with more audio ads than commercial radio. If you look at Apple Music as simply an alternative option, then it does have some clear advantages.
Spotify and Apple Music tally at roughly the same monthly rate, but Apple Music claims access to 50 million songs completely ad-free. That is quite a library! The platform also offers exclusive access to some music, showing its clout by signing exclusivity deals with top recording artists. For all those iPhone and Mac users (and let’s face it, there’s a lot of you out there!), Apple Music fully integrates with all your Apple devices and will host your entire music catalogue, be it ripped from CDs or downloaded from iTunes. It may not have quite as many die-hard fans as Spotify yet, but it’s on the up and up as it consistently improves on the music streaming model.
Jay-Z’s controversial music streaming platform Tidal was launched back in 2014 to much confusion. Its exclusivity and subscription model seemed unnecessary when Spotify was already offering an impressive musical catalogue for free. However, Tidal is now where the real audiophiles head to get their fix. This platform streams music at the highest quality available on the comparable market and does so on a seamless, user-friendly platform. Although it too has exclusive deals with artists in much the same way as Apple Music, it also offers the classics that everybody loves at much higher audio quality. So if you really want to make the most of those Bose headphones you got for Christmas or use the high-tech Bluesound Node to stream music through any stereo system, this is the streaming service to use.
Whichever streaming service you choose to use, make sure that you can vouch for its quality; there is nothing worse than downloading, or even subscribing to, a new service just to find that it doesn’t deliver what it promises. The big three mentioned above are currently the most competitive music streaming services in the world today, but there is always room in the market for innovation and improvement. Due to their expansive libraries of music, you’re sure to find your favourites are just one click away.