Which music streaming service is right for you?

Our Comprehensive guide in an advancing market.

Music is an essential part of our day to day lives, however it is becoming increasingly complex when trying to determine which is the best way to listen! 80% of single ‘sales’ in the UK charts are now coming from online streaming services. An industry that has in the past been plagued with criticism from the music industry, but been passionately embraced by the public. We breakdown the essential facts and figures that should help in deciding which streaming service is right for you.

Napster

Number of Tracks: 32 million

Number of Subscribers: 2.5 Million

Price: £10 per month

Origin – Napster was originally developed as a music sharing platform, however it quickly got itself into hot water and ran into legal difficulties due to it breaching copyright infringements. The company was bought out by Rhapsody in 2011 and became the streaming platform we know and use today.

Exclusivity – The service has numerous playlists that have been specially compiled by featured artists which are only available through the site. However the service very rarely gets first plays of new tracks and exclusivity of newly released albums.

Quality – Streams at 192 kbps

At only 192 kilobits per second, Napster has the lowest data transfer than all the leading streaming services, so why is it so popular? The service has a brilliant social interaction service which allows users to follow other people’s playlists, made all the easier by the apps flawless navigation. If only Napster could sound as good as it looks!

Majik Rating: * * *

Spotify

Number of tracks: 30 million

Number of Subscribers: 100 million (50 million free subscription)

Price: Free Subscription (adverts included)

£9.99 per month (advert free)

£14.99 per month, family package

Origin – Spotify was launched in Stockholm in 2006 and quickly became a hot favourite for music lovers. The service is now available in over 20 countries making the platform a firm favourite of record labels and new artists.

Exclusivity – Spotify has made it very clear to its customers and to the rest of the industry that it is against artists giving certain streaming services exclusivity. They have said in the past that exclusivity is “Bad for artists and bad for fans”. As a result Spotify has been speculated to ‘blacklist’ certain artists who give exclusive rights to other platforms, excluding them from playlists and making them harder to find.

Quality – Streams at 320 kbps

With 100 million subscribers it is surprising that Spotify does not offer a lossless* service. The quality of the music is not representative of their abundant following, so why so popular? Simple, it’s free! Half of Spotify’s users listen to their playlists with no contract and no cost, if you don’t mind the interference from adverts slotted in between tracks the free subscription is perfect for you. And once customers have decided they would like to upgrade to a non-interrupted service the upgrade has been made easy and simple, making the conversation rate very high.

Majik Rating: * * * *

Tidal

Number of Tracks: 40 million

Number of Subscribers: 4.2 million

Price: £9.99 Premium Subscription Per Month

£19.99 HiFi Subscription Per Month

Origin – Launches in 2014 Tidal was the brain child of Roc-A-Fella Record label owner Jay Z. Born out of a frustration felt by artists in the industry and a growing concern that writers, singers and musicians were losing out and unwillingly giving their music away for free and with impaired audio quality. The service initially faced some backlash from the media who stated that the artists who had developed the site only did so out of greed. However, some admire the ethical reliability of the company who pay the highest percentage of royalties to artists than any other site.

Exclusivity – This is where Tidal truly shines and really delivers for its customers. Over the past 12 months Tidal has cemented 32 exclusive album launches including Beyoncé, Rihanna and Kanye West, alongside 45 exclusive music videos and live streams of concerts and fashion shows. You certainly get your money’s worth!

Quality – Streams at 1411 kbps

Tidal is the only service to offer Lossless compression and HD Video streaming. The Tidal HiFi package maybe the most expensive subscription service at £19.99 per month, however the High Fidelity sound quality is the best on the market, therefore if you love music and are prepared to take on the price you won’t be disappointed.

Majik Rating: * * * * *

Apple Music

Number of Tracks: 40 million

Number of Subscribers: 20 million

Price: £9.99 per month

£14.99 family package Per Month

Origin – ITunes was first launched in 2001 which allowed apple customers to download singles and albums to their apple devices which they paid for and subsequently owned, so they could listen to the tracks wherever and whenever they wished. However the market has changed quite dramatically since this first concept was launch. To stay current in 2015 apple launched Apple Music, a streaming service that works alongside ITunes to give their customers the option of how they obtain their music. Apple Music is the ‘newbie’ of the streaming world but has an impressive following due to its devoted ITunes fan base, for customers it was an easy and effective transition.

Exclusivity – Apple Music does very well for obtaining exclusivity on new music. Within the last 12 months they secured the releases of 2 of the year’s biggest selling albums, Drake’s Views which went onto sell 2.5 million worldwide. Plus Frank Ocean, who surprisingly dropped two albums in the space of two days on the site, along with a corresponding visual album. From securing these two deals Apple Music has entered into what the media are calling an ‘Exclusivity War’ with rivals Tidal.

Quality –Streams at 256 kbps

The services interface is simple and easy to use and will be second nature to Apple customers. The software is intelligent and quickly learns your likes and dislikes. The service then selects and curates songs and playlists for you, tailored to your specific tastes. The app also includes Apple Radio in the subscription which features resident DJ and Radio 1 Alumni Zane Lowe

Majik Rating: * * * *

Amazon Music

Number of Tracks: 40 million

Number of Subscribers: 10 million

Price: Free to Amazon Prime account holders

£3.99 additional fee for Amazon Echo Unlimited Per Month

£7.99 Individual Plan Per Month

£14.99 Family Plan Per Month

Origin – Amazon was launched in 1994 and became quickly established as a market leader in online retail. Since then the company has diversified rather significantly and launched Amazon Music in 2007. The service is available exclusively for Amazon Prime customers and is included in the £79 yearly subscription charge. However this service only entitles you to 2 million songs from the company’s 40 million track database, the additional songs are available for a fee!

Exclusivity – Recently Amazon Music treated its subscribers to ‘Amazon Acoustics’ a selection of exclusive acoustic recordings, not dissimilar to Radio 1’s Live Lounge. However they do not put as much emphasis in music exclusivities as they do their Tv and Film offerings.

Quality – Streams at 256 kbps

If you’re already an Amazon Prime subscriber then Amazon Music makes complete sense for you to use. The quality is similar to that of Apple Music and with the price already incorporated into the Prime package you’re onto a winning formula. However when you venture outside of the free subscription the pricing structure seem unnecessarily complex.

Majik Rating: * * *

 

*Lossless – Lossless compression is a data class that allows the original data to be perfectly reconstructed from the compressed data when streaming. Meaning you hear the music as it was originally intended without compression.

NB: kbps – Kilobits per Second, refers to the amount of data that can flow at one given time. The more kbps, the more data, the better the music!

 

 

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