CJ Robinson, Reporter
The days of buying music are slowly fading away, replaced with music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and Google Play. These services can offer varying levels of music availability and range from free to $19.99 a month.
Spotify can be used for free with limitations but a student subscription for both Spotify and Tidal is $4.99 for full use of the services. Apple Music and Google Play don’t offer a student discount and come with a uniform price $9.99. Apple Music offers a family plan for $14.99 a month which grants up to six people access and Spotify Family gives a 50 percent discount to up to four more members on the same account.
All the services listed above have around 30 million songs in their library, while Tidal has an additional 75,000 videos included in its service. Some albums are exclusive to certain services, such as Taylor Swift’s 1989, which is only available on Apple Music, or Formation by Beyonce, available exclusively on Tidal. This aspect of music streaming is often dependent on the user’s preferences and level of music obscurity they enjoy. Thirty day trials are available for these programs in order to identify which music is available.
Each service comes with unique features and some are available across all streaming services. Common features across all services include ad-free playback, offline playing and customized playlists and radio for events or moods. Unique aspects include Tidal X, a program that connects fans and artists through exclusive performances or meet-and-greets and Tidal’s specific focus on independent artists. Spotify emphasizes the connection between social media and music through a feed of music that someone’s friends have played and the ability to follow individual artists, friends or playlists. It also offers a running service which matches a user’s running pace to their music. Google Play is an extension of a subscription to YouTube Red, a service which eliminates ads from YouTube, enables downloadable videos and additionally gives access to YouTube music. This gives users the ability to lock their phones while watching YouTube videos and still listen to the audio. Apple Music has a unique radio station called Beats 1.
Looking at each of these services holistically requires a user to weigh its benefits against others. A social person who prefers pop music may want to choose an option like Spotify, where the music selection is fairly large and easily shared with friends. Someone who’s a major Taylor Swift fan will probably favor Apple Music. Someone who uses YouTube frequently and wants a music streaming service would enjoy the multiple benefits of Google Play. The best way to choose which option is the best for an individual is to sign-up for a trial run and try it for a month or two.
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