View Full Version : What's the big deal with streaming music services?

Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Beats, iTunes... there are so many streaming music services out there today and it seems there are many strong opinions about them as well. I'd like to know, as someone in their late 30's who actually hasn't done all that much serious streaming yet, what the differences are and why. Why "iTunes Radio sucks" (seems like everyone hates it)? What's so special about Spotify or Beats? I've used Pandora for ages, but it was just something that would passively play in the house on the Bose dock for background music. Today, I'd actually like to discover new music, new alternative and indie electric, things like Phantogram or Bonobo for instance. So I created an iTunes Radio station based on Phantogram and I hear music which is similar and it's great. I discover an artist I like and buy the song or just check them out later. Seems to work just fine. So what is the big deal in terms of the differences that have brought so many choices for services as well as consumer opinions? What am I missing out on? How is one better than the other?

I think the biggest differences come down to playlists, curation, new music discovery and offline ability.
I haven’t used iTunes radio, but have heard the curation wasn’t great. Google music has easy interface for offline for some time now, but their music discovery is somewhat lacking. (I believe this is the reason they are rumored to be buying Songza) Songza is a good example of great curation. There is a sound/style/mood of music fro everything seriously. music to code to etc. Very well curated. The ease with which you can find exactly what you are looking for (most people have no idea) is a big selling point in the services. Ii already have which defeats the purpose.

Okay first of all I am not in their late 30’s, I’m in my early 20’s.
(Disclaimer: I subscribe to Rdio, but I have tried Spotify, Beats, Deezer, Songza and 8Tracks)
I used to have a large CD collection, (still have them, and I like to have physical copies) but when my CD collection surpassed 16GB, I realized I need a better solution since my phone can’t carry all my music. So streaming music is a great solution, I pay a flat rate to access all the music I want and if I really like it, I can save it for offline listening.
Now the differences between the services. They differ from playlists, music discovery, social interactions, bitrates and user interface. The prices for most of these services are the same with Spotify, Rdio, Beats, Google’s MAA, Grooveshark and Deezer. While these services differ from iTunes Radio, Songza and 8Tracks because these don’t allow you to play a specific song, just a computer generated or human created playlists (8Tracks being the latter) but also all these are free services.
From what you want listed above, you want to learn and find out more music based on a specific artist. The thing is all the paid services offers artists stations where it will play artist’s music and music relating to that artist. So the question is more of whether or not the quality of those music selected by the service is accurate, and that all comes to personal taste.

The good thing is that most of these services provides a free trial or free with ads for you to test the waters. And I totally recommend you to do the same before you start paying them.
- Spotify: Free with ads or 30 day Premium trial
- Rdio: 6 months Free Trial (Free as in, Web only: Stations + Albums + Playlists listening; Mobile: Stations)
- Beats: 14 day trial
- Google Music All Access: 30 day trial
- Grooveshark: Free with ads
- Deezer: Free with ads