Streaming music online has some taboo elements to it, considering that listening for free limits income for musicians and artists within the industry. However, these types of programs are now a commodity, and more options are popping up all over the place. With more competitors constantly climbing into the ring, how can the head honchos of this revolution keep up and stay at the top?
Taking a look at the chronology of when music-streaming services were released, Pandora reigns as the oldest, offering services since 2000. Spotify, the current leader in the market, swept Pandora away in 2008. iTunes Radio came to life in 2013 and was the start of a series of creations, including Beats in January 2014. Music Messenger launched the following April; Tidal was created earlier this year, and a yet-to-be-titled service is due in the summertime created by the joint venture, Apple and Beats. Lesser-known applications also exist, but as far as heavy advertising and marketing, the aforementioned names have taken the lead in this modern way of music listening.
All programs can be evaluated at surface level by comparing the subscription fee, size of the song catalog, and platform accessibility. Pandora stands at $5 per month with a 1 million song catalog; Spotify costs are almost double but with 26 million songs to randomize. Neither program requires subscription, but the payment options won’t bring about large holes in one’s wallet. Beats Music has just about 20 million tracks in their collection, offered at the same fee of $10 per month. Beats is, unfortunately, subscription only but offers great quality sound in exchange for the money spent. iTunes Radio has the widest selection, topping out at 26 million songs in the catalog, and is also a cheaper expense at $25 for the entire year (if subscribed to iTunes Match, as well).
Music Messenger and Tidal are the new kids on the block trying to make names for themselves with the help of some widely respected artists. Music Messenger, backed by Nicki Minaj and David Guetta, is basically personal music sharing, where one user can send tracks to another. It is a viable option for those who can’t afford a subscription-based service. This is the polar opposite of Tidal, which offers a two-tier payment plan allowing users to choose how much they want to pay for the quality of music they want to hear.
With all these details, it is difficult to pick which component best surpasses all others. Pandora pioneered this new pastime, leading to more improved stations. Is the accessibility and affordability of a program the most appealing? Does having the option to use the music app socially matter to listeners? Some programs have received endorsement and constant support from celebrities. Does a program need a famous group of supporters to make the headlines and gain followers? The hype is building for Apple’s June reveal; maybe that will be telling of what users are really interested in.
What do you look for in a music-streaming program? Leave a comment below or reply to this on Twitter @antoinette_8a.