Which Music Streaming Services Will Survive the Year?
Like most things, music services come and go. While you can always be sure there’ll be a replacement popping up just around the corner, it can be frustrating to have to keep creating accounts and signing up to payment plans.
Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of five of the sturdiest streaming services that have been providing users with quality music and personalized features for a substantial amount of time and are sure to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.
Long heralded as the giant of music streaming services, Spotify has been going strong over recent years, and this doesn’t look to be changing anywhere in the near future. With millions of songs from artists of every genre, big and small, users of the service can enjoy a comprehensive listening experience.
Their playlist feature makes it easy to perfect a soundtrack for your life by creating your own or listening to the listings of other users. There’s even a fantastic song radio option that allows you to find artists and tracks similar to your current favorites. While the free version provides all the essential features as long as you can handle the occasional advertisement, the premium version has the added bonuses of uninterrupted play, multiple device usage and an offline mode.
Spotify has taken the world by storm, and its streamlined design and global popularity means you can ensure it’ll be around for a long time to come.
Tidal has had a rocky journey since its conception in 2014 when some of the world’s wealthiest celebrities gather together and announce they felt they didn’t make enough money. Unsurprisingly, the concept never really took off.
However, two strokes of marketing genius this year turned the table on what seemed to be Tidal’s inevitable demise. First, after it was announced that Kanye West’s most recent album, “Life of Pablo,” would be released exclusively on the platform, reports claimed subscriptions doubled. Even though it was only six weeks before general distribution happened anyway, equally impressive results were seen when Beyoncé’s smash-hit “Lemonade” used a similar tactic and debuted on Tidal. These releases saw the streaming service become the most used on the Apple app store and ensured its survival for the rest of the year.
With rumors circling about Apple’s interest in merging with the company, things could be about to take off big time for Jay-Z’s humble project. If you want to get a taste for yourself, the free 30-day subscription trial seems to have been extended for the foreseeable future.
A veteran in music streaming, Last.fm has been around since 2002. Although, in reality, they’re actually a third-party host; rather than an organic streaming platform, what you get is a central hub where you can listen, buy and download all of your favorite tracks.
The service keeps a history of everything you’ve listened to and allows you to create personalized playlists and send and receive recommendations from other users. On top of this, if you visit the live radio home page, there’s a wonderful Venn diagram feature that allows you to explore new music by genre and date. They even have charts for the most popular music of all time or top track lists depending on location or date.
Unfortunately, Last.fm is not created equally all over the world. As of 2011, users from outside the U.S., U.K. and Germany have become required to pay a fee in order to gain access. Similarly, many countries don’t enjoy the added benefit of the live radio section. However, these problems can be easily overcome by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to bypass the blocks. Secure Thoughts details some of the best VPNs available, along with explanations of how they work if you would like more details.
Long championing the best releases from the underground, independent artists and up-and-coming musicians, SoundCloud is a streaming service that fills such a unique gap in the market that we can’t see it going anywhere before the end of the year.
For users, the site acts almost like the social network of music. You can create your own profile on which you can share, like and comment on songs. This means it’s easy to navigate and filled with untapped potential to find the greatest new acts around. It also hosts DJs and producers who regularly release fresh remixes of all-time classics.
SoundCloud is also a fantastic option for budding musicians, as it’s easy to upload and share your own music. It’s great to test the waters if you’re just starting out. Many artists have found their big break this way. Completely free for all users, this is a wonderfully underrated streaming site. However, recent revelations of the company’s search for a buyer have caused some uncertainty about its future. While it’s likely we’ll be seeing a revamp of the platform, users can feel safe in the knowledge that it covers such a unique gap in the market that there’s very little chance it will disappear completely.
5. Apple Music
Although this is not the best quality service on the market by any means, you can guarantee it’s not going anywhere soon. Apple is one of the mightiest companies on the planet, probably explaining why they can get away with charging $9.99 a month when there are so many great free options around.
It was Apple’s iTunes that led the way in MP3 music streaming, so it’s no surprise they’re not yet willing to give up that title to their competitors just yet. Apple Music provides users with full access to the whole of iTunes, a range of premade playlists and a 24-hour radio station hosted by Zane Lowe.
Other than this, there aren’t really any particular standout features or anything we can see as worth parting with ten dollars a month. However, with nearly 10 million paid subscribers, clearly there is some form of appeal there. For now, Apple Music is certainly keeping its head above water, and with such an affluent company behind it, it’s sure to survive even if sales drop.
Any others that should be on this list? Or do you disagree with the staying power of those already mentioned? Be sure to leave a comment below with your ideas.
Caroline (who killed it with the guest blog)
About the Author: Caroline is an entertainment blogger for Culture Coverage and a life-long music fan. Since her parents used to leave her listening to their vinyl records, she has been in love with listening and to this day still spends most of her day attached to headphones.