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Published on February 21st, 2017 | by Callib Carver

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Music Streaming; My Take On Spotify Vs. Play Music

I’m a big music fan, so is my girlfriend. We’re also digital people, no matter what we might say. We watch everything on our Macs and don’t have a TV. We also don’t typically use CDs to listen to music, though we have quite a collection that does find it’s way into the cd player on the shelf, or into my six disk changer in my car.

That all being said we have to have music, and with access to any number of music streaming services, we’re just a click away from our favorite tunes. But there are so many services out there, the most popular being SpotiSfy, Pandora, Apple music, and Google’s Play Music. I’m going to be talking about Spotify and Play Music, as they are the two I prefer and have used the most. Coupled with the fact I feel they offer some of the best benefits for a paid subscription.

Spotify quickly took over, at least in my book, for Pandora once it came onto the scene. Simply because I could listen to what I want, when I want, however, I want. I didn’t have to worry about a limited number of skips, or essentially having no control over what I’m actually listening to, or at least that’s how Pandora felt to me. Sure I could “customize” the stations, but it just didn’t click with me and the subscription service didn’t appeal to me either.

During it’s prime when it first launched and before all the other varied services that would play music, like Spotify, Pandora was nice. But If I’m honest I don’t know how it competes with services that offer you the ability to play what you want, when you want, and have freedom with your music. I will say if you’re more into the radio style of listening then Pandora may be the way to go.

I know I don’t always use the radio-style listening on Spotify as it doesn’t tend to match up songs as well as Pandora. By that I mean if I say I like or dislike a song the system will try to play songs accordingly, but man has it been off. I told it once I didn’t want to listen to a Bruno Mars song, and the next song it played on the station, that consisted of Train, Bruno Mars, and Red Hot Chili Peppers style music, was the Notre Dame Fighting Irish band song that they play at football games.

However with Spotify, at least the paid version, I could build all these playlists and listen to any of them, and any song on them, at any time. I signed up for a trail account and within an hour was already willing to throw money at the service. I can’t deny that I love Spotify.Overview

I also have constant updates to the Android app, and my girlfriend has seen the same on the iOS version as well. Which does speak to its development, even if it has issues and I’m not saying it does, but I also know that nothing especially technology is perfect, the developers are working on it constantly. You can subscribe to Spotify Premium for $9.99 per month or $14.99 per month for a family account.

I’ve also used a trail and am currently on a trial version of Play Music, and I’ve used another trial on YouTube Red. Both services are interwoven, and a subscription to one will get you access to other as part of the subscription.which for those of you who don’t know, YouTube Red gives you access to YouTube videos without showing any Ads, served by Google, in the videos. Which is a nice feature, and without those ads, I do use YouTube a lot more. All of those he his for $9.99 per month, or $14.99 for and family account.

But for me, Spotify is the way to go. I like the look and feel of those the app, and the service overall. Its price is comparable to other similar services, Like Google’s Play Music & YouTube Red. But it feels more streamlined and the functionality is less clunky feeling.

A great example; My girlfriend and I were talking about the search function and how Screenshot_2017-02-22-11-20-05results are displayed. For her, it is hard to find the songs she wants to listen to because the results display differently based off of what you searched for and what was returned. I can’t deny that it doesn’t feel like Google best search effort.

There is also the lag factor with the Play Music, which is something we have experienced across multiple devices. On her iPhone 6n my Galaxy S5, both of our Macs, and on my Samsung Tablet. While not a major issue, any time a song is played it takes about eight seconds for it to begin playing. Mind you I know this isn’t part of a songs lead-in. Typically speaking I can say it probably isn’t a connection issue, as we have this issue in multiple areas where we live now and in another state, and on varied connections. I have also checked the varied settings and it isn’t anything within our settings, such as a delay between songs, like Spotify.

This is something of an oddity to me as well, as I’m a massive fan of Google and their products, and it’s very rare that I don’t care for one of their products. But hey you can’t win them all I guess. At last count Play Music had some 35 million songs to Spotify’s 30 million, but I haven’t had much trouble with that odd five million songs. They have everything I’ve wanted, and on the odd chance they don’t I’ve seen it added.

I’ve also got to say that something about the way Play Music looks and feels, at the moment feels like a half-done product. Google is an amazing company, and I love what they do. But they have a track record of pushing products and services that don’t feel or that actually aren’t finished. Mind you the service is still relatively new and they have plenty of time and resources to perfect it. But at the moment it just isn’t there for me. It feels clunky, it feels slow, and it doesn’t make me want to come back.

Ultimately for $9.99 a month, both Spotify and Play Music, with YouTube Red included, are both great services. If you like listening to music, and use YouTube a lot I’d at least recommend that you give Google’s Play Music & YouTube Red a chance and see if it works for you. However I’d highly recommend Spotify, which takes the cake for me, over Play Music for the actual Music Part, it feels more put together and they’re constantly growing as a company, adding more music, and they really are changing the music industry and helping it find it’s way into the digital era.

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About the Author

Callib Carver is the founder & editor of o7 Magazine. Having spent three years as a student journalist, focusing in photography & video, and working with several small publications, he now writes for his own publication, blog, and is an active freelancer in Washington state.


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