Best Music Streaming Services Roundup

28

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

josephsmith

A brand new music streaming service that's definitely worth checking out is SonicHits:

http://sonichits.com

It's got a very nice interface, and lets you stream full albums free. You can also view lyrics, watch video clips, read artist bios and listen to related music.

avatar

jocelynclark

If there's a 2014 list, I think http://covr.fm should make it. Best online music service imo.

avatar

EarthBoundMisfit

You folks also neglected to mention Jango. I like it better than I do Pandora...but it is kind of similar.

avatar

nightkiller

Where's the mention of Live365.com?

avatar

PCWolf

Streaming Music services are great for when you are at work, or at a place with just enough Internet to stream the station. Still not good for moving vehicles when passing thru spotty cell phone net service. I still love CD's, since they give me access to hard copies of music should I suffer a hard drive failure, or lack of internet access. I will miss them dearly when they are no more.

avatar

DarrellGood

I've been loyal to Pandora for as long as it's been in the US. Really fantastic service. I've found a lot of great bands I never would of heard of otherwise!! I supplement it with torch music for when I want video playlists, but for the most part Pandora is king!!

avatar

Damnlogin

The perfect Music Streamer for me would probably be Spotify with Pandora's radio baked in. I use Pandora as my main music discovery source, so saving a new song while it's playing would be awesome. The Spotify radio feature isn't quite there yet.

avatar

Cregan89

Is this article a joke? How could you possibly do a roundup of music streaming services and not include Xbox Music? It literally hits on almost every complaint you've listed. Free ad-supported on-demand, paid offline, radio with unlimited skipping, DRM free album/song purchases like iTunes (in 320kbps), library and playlist syncing, Windows 8/RT App (thank god redesigned), Android, iOS, Windows Phone, HTML5 Web, the Zune Desktop Software still works in WinXP to Win8 (all software with top notch UI's), Xbox 360, DLNA PlayTo, I'm pretty sure a catalog at least on par with Spotify if not larger, in my opinion the perfect quality to file size ratio (192kbps wma [basically HE-AAC]) (also my opinion, 320kbps lossy is useless because you're still introducing sonic interpretational algorithms into the sound, if you're truly after audiophile quality then mathematically lossless compression is the only option). The only things it's missing is social integration (which I personally hate), and lossless (only in my dreams).

It's the obvious winner and it isn't even on the list?!

avatar

Paul_Lilly

Xbox Music probably should have been included, but it wouldn't have challenged the top offerings. We actually pitted Xbox Music versus Spotify in a previous issue of the magazine -- Spotify won four out of five rounds and tied in the other. You can read that Head-to-Head comparison online here.

Some things have changed since then, but overall, Spotify still offers more features and a better overall experience, including the ability to listen on mobile for free. You'll need to whip out a credit card to listen to Xbox Music on iOS or Android, even just for the 30-day trial, and the free web streaming is limited to just 10 hours per month after 6 months.

avatar

Cregan89

I remember reading that article, that's why I couldn't believe Xbox Music wasn't in this roundup!

And Xbox Music has improved a lot since that previous comparison. Specifically, their streaming catalog has gotten noticeably more solid, I know they've picked up Pink Floyd and the Chili Peppers for example (I'm sure Spotify has improved as well). Xbox Music now has iOS and Android apps, as well as DLNA PlayTo support (at least in Windows 8). And they've thankfully thrown out their previous UI and now have a great yet simple UI. Also, I was under the impression that Spotify and Xbox Music are on par in that they both require a $10 subscription to use the mobile apps, that's what their website seems to express anyway. That being the case, of the 5 points from the previous comparison, I would think Xbox Music makes a serious case for 3 out of 5 of those. Catalog, Device Support, and Interface. Spotify has the advantage of pricing because of Xbox's 6 month time limit thing, and Spotify does have the 320kbps advantage (although I'd argue that 192 is the perfect quality to bandwidth sweetspot) but I really wish one of them would just step up and go lossless. Anyway, I think they're extremely close. I think definitely second place at least unless you're looking for a fully free solution.

avatar

Paul_Lilly

I'll have to double check, but I'm pretty sure (though not 100 percent certain) freeloaders can use Spotify's mobile app.

avatar

renaissance247

What do you think about Rara.com? I never heard of it until I got a Lenovo laptop in March and it came with an app for it pre-installed on the Windows 8 homescreen, but I'm curious to know if it's similar to the others on this list. They won't give me a free sample as far as I can tell, so I don't know how good it is.

avatar

atx4us

I'm an Rdio subscriber and it has been mainly a good experience. They don't seem responsive to the reported forum issues though as there are issues on there that are many months old. The audio quality is definitely very good. I also occasionally listen to last.fm, iHeartRadio, and xbox music.

avatar

Engelsstaub

I think Spotify is really king here. iTunes may be the biggest retailer of music but that actually works against them. Apple will never offer the ability to cache songs/albums for offline-listening as Spotify does. It would cannibalize their own sales. That's why iTunes Radio will just be iTunes "radio" while Spotify will be the most complete option for those who choose subscription-based streaming over physical media and permanent digital files.

The cost of a Match subscription is so low that one could justify having both though.

avatar

AFDozerman

For what it's worth, I use Pandora and Slacker on my Blackberry and iHeartRadio when I miss DC. I still like listening to 98.9's talk show.

avatar

Craig-g

In my neck of the woods it's always going to be MOG. It doesn't matter how much better all the others are I'm never going to look at them for one reason only, unlimited bandwidth. My mobile provider doesn't count MOG streaming against my 1GB mobile cap.

avatar

Peanut Fox

I like Groove Shark a lot.

avatar

TheITGuy

+1

I like Groove Shark as well

avatar

Innomasta

Love Spotify. The offline listening is extremely convenient on my S4. I find an artist i like via the radio? Download their whole discography! I can listen whenever and wherever, regardless of data connection. The streaming and download features both have quality settings so i can stream at a data plan friendly 160 but download at an audiophile friendly 320 and enjoy. Coming from Xbox music, the multi platform support is a good deal.

avatar

Cregan89

Web: music.xbox.com

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.xboxmusic&hl=en

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/xbox-music/id669515221?mt=8

avatar

Innomasta

looks like i missed the boat on that one. When i had it there was no support other than the Windows app and windows phone.

avatar

Paul_Lilly

The boat hasn't fully docked yet. While Microsoft plans to add support for offline listening on Android and iOS devices, it's a feature that hasn't been added yet.

avatar

genghiskhen

You left out TuneIn. Spotify should be marked down for requiring a Facebook login. iHearRadio is all Clearchannel, so you get hundreds of stations playing the same talk shows.

avatar

Paul_Lilly

Spotify would probably prefer if you sign up with a Facebook account, but it's not required. There's an option to simply use your email address:

Spotify Email

avatar

PCWolf

Using your Facebook Account to sign into anything is STUPID.

avatar

And3rs0nTX

Spotify does not require Facebook to login. You can set it up with just an email.

avatar

Upyourbucket

What about WinAmp?????????

avatar

Bullwinkle J Moose

You can find and add Streaming Online Services in your Winamp media player but winamp is not a streaming music service...

It's just a player