Nowadays, it’s common for people to listen to music using multiple devices like desktop computers like the PC or the Mac Mini, portable music players like the iPod Nano, and mobile phones or tablets. The usual practice is to download music on one device, perhaps from a CD or an online music store like iTunes, and then just transfer them to another, and carry them with you. If you really love listening to music and yet you hate the outrageous per-track pricing of legal downloads and the impracticality of actual music CDs, then you’ll love the growing selection of subscription-based music streaming services online.
The scheme for such services is quite simple, all thanks to the ever-present cloud. You subscribe to a music service of your choice and then you get unlimited access to the entire music catalog that the service hosts. While you don’t actually own the music tracks or songs, you can save them to your own collection of playlist (on your computer or on your mobile device) and listen to them offline. You’re not paying for the material but are actually paying for the resources used to deliver the material to you. It’s a fast-growing business model in which many companies have capitalized on. Each service has its own unique factor and each one differs from another in terms of trial periods, subscription plans, and music selections.
Price: Free 30-day trial with $4.99 per month for unlimited desktop access or $9.99 for unlimited mobile streaming
If MS Office has found its cloud counterpart in Google Docs and if Lucent has found its cloud version in RingCentral, then iTunes may just have found its match in the cloud with Spotify, a music streaming service that hosts several neat features. Not only does it stream music, but it also allows internet radio streaming and the use of a bunch of apps. If you want a service similar to iTunes and its contemporaries, then you can opt to use Spotify.
Price: Six months free streaming, but same price as Spotify for web and mobile streaming
Early into the race for online music streaming supremacy, Rdio has been considered as Spotify’s biggest threat. Its main drawer is its free trial period that extends to six months, vis-à-vis Spotify’s free 30-day trial. Rdio, which was started by the founders of Skype and Kazaa, reportedly has a better catalog than Spotify and has a better, more solid community element compared to its bigger competitor.
Price: Free ad-supported listening; priced the same as Spotify and Rdio for the premium service (from $5 to $10 a month)
A few steps behind Spotify and Rdio is MOG, another cloud-based jukebox that provides solid and top-notch audio listening to its users. A review from PCMag states that “it’s easily one of the best listening experiences in the online music space” because it delivers audio streams at 320kbps compared to other services that can’t go beyond the 128kbps range.
If you’re into a functional online music streaming service teeming with simplicity, choose Spotify. If you place so much emphasis on social listening, then perhaps Rdio is for you. If you’re big on audio quality, however, MOG will be your best bet. Any of the three web-based music streaming services highlighted above will work for you no matter what your needs are.