Love listening to music? These days we all have options regarding streaming your favorite artist’s music smoothly through our smartphones and devices. This wasn’t the case twenty years ago. We used to have to shuffle through CDs and Records at the local store and pick out what you wanted. CDs would cost more money than a month’s subscription, and you’d be stuck listening to tracks that maybe you weren’t a big fan of. Still, going to the record store was a place of community, and often friends (and even marriages) were started there.
A Brief History of Online Music
If you weren’t around in the late 90’s, Napster and Winamp were two of the web’s most prominent music options out there, Winamp being the place to play the songs you downloaded and Napster, the site where you’d illegally download the music to play. After several years many artists believed that downloading music hurt their revenue streams and didn’t help the industry. Shortly after that, the music shifted toward a new payment structure: single purchase downloads.
Businesses like iTunes began and took over the music industry around the early to mid 00’s, and music revenue was at an all-time high. No longer was you stuck with a full album from a particular artist, which perhaps was one of the more significant reasons for music diversification.
Streaming services started to gain some steam in the late 00’s, although a few began earlier. Because people became more strapped for dispensable cash due to the recession in the late 00’s streaming services became wildly popular, and thus we are in today’s music streaming prime. There are many options out there, including a rebranded Napster funny enough, but three remain to be the biggest of them all. Each streaming service has their pro’s and con’s, but one clear winner regarding money spent.
Which Music Service is the Best Overall for Your Money?
There’s no denying the fact that this music streaming service has the best selection of artists and songs out there. Easily downloaded on any smart device, PC, or Mac makes Spotify an excellent choice for those who are willing to spend up to $10 a month for the service. Benefits of using Spotify?
- Ton’s of 0.99 cent Trials Around
- Massive Selection of Music and Playlists
- Widely Available on All Devices
For those who may not want to search for their music, but want a service to pick out their selections based on interests, Pandora is the best service around. Great for parties and hands-off music selections. There is a free service but comes with commercials here and there. The premium service is $5 a month, but since you aren’t selecting any music, it’s not the best overall streaming service in our opinion.
- Customization Limited
- Great for Parties and Events
- Most Devices are Available
With a fair amount of music (not the size of Spotify), you’ll find Google Play Music to be a helpful streaming service that has podcasts included as well. What separates this service from competitors is that it comes with YouTube RED covered with each month of service you pay for at $10 a month. This addition makes Google Play Music a grand bargain if you are interested in YouTube at all. If you’ve ever watched a single video on YouTube these days, advertising is plenty, but with RED you skip the ads and also get access to original titles like Cobra Kai.
- Most Limited Selection of Music in App
- YouTube RED and Music Included
- Extended Trials Available for Google Devices
With the inclusion of YouTube Red and YouTube Music, it makes the most sense to get Google Play Music over other streaming choices since you technically get access to three services instead of just one for the same price.
Most people consider Sirius to be an in-car experience only, they’ve actually branched out to smartphones and devices years ago. It’s still catching on but there are some major benefits to this premium streaming service! For one, you can pay for Howard Stern Radio which is widely considered a quality content producer amongst those who love satire and comedy. Another benefit is their access to NFL and Sports broadcasts nationwide.
- Most Expensive Choice
- Account Cancellation isSTILLthrough the Phone (yuck!)
- Lots of Unique Content
- Available in Many Cars
Our Choice: Google Play
It’s fairly clear when it comes to the best bang for your buck: Google Play Music includes not only the flexible app but the inclusion of YouTube Red and YouTube Music. With unique video content like Cobra Kai and Commercial Free YouTube, it’s certainly an appealing option. All of the services have their advantages though, so you’ll have to pick the one that best suits your lifestyle, and for most we think Google Play fits the mold.