Over the years, digital music distribution has been popularized by these music streaming industry leaders:
- Apple Music
- Google Play
- You Tube
- iHeart Radio
- Claro Música
- Media Net
Claro Música streams music from Central American and South American artists, while Saavn streams Hindi songs, NicheStreem streams the music of African musicians, and Anghami streams the sounds of the Arab world. A unique addition to the list is Deezer, which originated in Paris, France and streams the music produced by many English-speaking artists under the Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music labels. All the others stream the music of English speakers with the occasional spattering of songs in other languages.
These distribution channels will achieve different rankings based on their cost, sound quality, the functionality of playlists, download speeds, ease of queue adjustments, and availability of releases. While all these streaming services are the door to the mainstream world having access to more music than we have ever before had access to, many of them do suffer from some drawbacks.
Amazon Music offers easy access to song lyrics, 3D music on echo studio devices, but downloads are slow, and you cannot rearrange songs in a queue.
Spotify gets great ratings for its general function in every category. The only drawback with this site is the album art is not available to see while you listen to the music, and you cannot see what songs have already played with great ease.
Most people simply do not like trying to use Pandora. There are too many complaints about everything from the sound to the function of the site.
Apple Music/iTunes’ phone App will sometimes crash and stop playing music. User playlist will get buried under auto-generated playlist and be hard to recover. Artist pages are divided into too many different categories: albums, live albums, compilations, EP’s, etc. making it super complicated to navigate. Because of all the technical glitches, the overall, Apple experience can be frustrating for the music lover.
Google Play presents one real frustration; a downloaded song may not appear in your library for some unknown reason.
YouTube is touted for its independent artist releases but is has a slow interface and lacks social interaction options, and it often missing major music releases.
Tidal has slow and sluggish download ability that may lead to freezing. Finding a song is also difficult if you do not know how it is phrased or spelled perfectly because the site does not use ‘Fuzzy logic.’ For instance, if you didn’t know a song used the numeral 4 instead of spelling out the word and you typed in “For Love or Nothing”, you couldn’t pull up the song.
All these services have monthly price ranges that start around $9.99 per month. They all offer a student rate of $4.99 per month and a family rate plan of $14.99 per month. High Definition and Premium features raise the monthly rate to $19.99 to $29.99.
See the audio quality of each streaming service in order of the best to the worst:
- Amazon Unlimited in HD
- Tidal HiFi
- Apple Music
- Tidal Premium
- Amazon Unlimited