MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — This week I just ditched Spotify for Google Play Music. Here’s why.
Spotify, the world’s most popular streaming music service, gave me access to most of the world’s recorded music.
But so does Google Play Music. And it’s a better deal.
I’m more than willing to pay $9.99 monthly for streaming music, and have been for many years. I love not having to worry about whether a download is in my collection. If I want to hear a song, it’s there for me instantly.
Like Spotify, Google Play Music also has access to all the same songs, ability to make playlists and I can share them with my social followers. Additionally, I get ad-free access to YouTube’s new Red subscription service–which also will offer original programming from YouTube stars in January, and the terrific new YouTube Music app.
YouTube Music is a music lover’s dream—it simply has way more of it than any other service—music videos, complete albums, and late night TV appearances, live cuts and documentary footage.
Because I started subscribing to YouTube Music, I took a second look at Google, as well as my subscription charges. Did I really need Spotify if I had Google Play? After all, like Spotify, Google Music is available on the computer, on smartphones and tablets, the Sonos Wi-FI speaker system and the Roku streaming box. That about covers everywhere I want to hear music.
I love YouTube because of the endless music finds on the service–video clips for which an audio version isn’t also available. Many complete albums are hidden in the goldmine as well, but not all.
For instance, if I wanted to hear the complete album Bela Fleck recently released with jazz legend Chick Corea, a few cuts are available on YouTube, but the complete recording is on Google Play Music.
Bingo–and that’s why I need these two music services. Together, the two apps make a killer combo.
Beyond filling in the holes, Google offers endless radio offerings based on your favorite artists, songs and moods.
Google bought the Songza music service last year to bring those playlists to users. “Kitchen Dance Party,” offers songs to cook to, for instance, from the likes of Weezer and Bruce Springsteen, while the “Chillout Mixes” offer “Feel Good Country” and more from the likes of Miranda Lambert and Toby Keith.
‘I’m Feeling Lucky Radio’
In Google Play’s “recommended” tab, I found tons of artists I like—from Steely Dan and Alicia Keys to Pat Metheny and Bela Fleck. “I’m feeling Lucky Radio,” Google’s play on the search term, is an attempt to pull a Pandora, and offer non-stop music based on your tastes, but mine wasn’t so lucky. Most of the selection I didn’t care for. That’s when you switch to on-demand radio.
This year saw a heavily hyped new paid music service launch from Apple that has the same songs as Google, a heavy emphasis on curated radio and access to your music library. It’s a nice service, but the navigation isn’t as simple as some other Apple products, and despite all the heavy marketing, Apple didn’t advance the online music form with Apple Music. YouTube did, with an endless music mix based on your tastes.
Speaking of music that’s on the nose: while Spotify does it for many folks, a weird quirk had Spotify pushing music I really didn’t care for, over the last three months. As part of its Discover program, Spotify generates playlists based on your listening habits every Monday. And every week, Spotify sent me hard-core and very explicit hip hop to me. E-mail and Twitter complaints to Spotify couldn’t stop artists from Do or Die, Destructo and Ty Dolla $ign to my inbox. These artists have their place–but they’re not safe for work, and I’m just not a fan.
So when it came to assessing my monthly subscription charges, the decision to break away was easy.
YouTube and Google Play Music are keeping me really busy finding music I do love.
What if you don’t feel like paying? YouTube Music, Spotify and Google Play Music all have free ad-supported versions, and more limits on listening to on-demand music.
Which streaming music service do you listen to? Let’s chat about it on Twitter, where I’m @jeffersongraham.
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