Which streaming music service is right for you?

A girl listening music in her headphones

A girl listening music in her headphonesPlato is quoted as once having said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” While the format for listening to music has changed significantly over the 2,400 years, the reason behind the melodies and harmonies hasn’t. Today, streaming music services are the preferred option, giving the listener the ability to pick and choose from tens of millions of songs in a matter of seconds. There are a number of choices available when it comes to selecting the right streaming platform, and the decision ultimately falls on a number of criteria.

When reviewing different streaming music platforms like Amazon Music or Spotify, or any of the hundreds of others available, it helps to consider a couple of factors. Price isn’t too much of a game-changer since most of the services cost about the same. What’s important is the amount of content, playlist configurability, quality of the audio and platform support – if the service is available to be used on anything from smart devices to vehicle media systems.

Playlist configurability is straightforward; if the platform allows you to create a personal library that is accessible from all of your devices, then it has an advantage. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are some limitations to content not controlled by the platform. Some artists refuse to license certain content, while others don’t want any of their songs available on streaming services. Taylor Swift is known for this, having forced Spotify to remove all of her songs in 2014 before she allowed them to be put back on two years later.

When considering audio quality, the higher the bitrate, the better the quality. Songs on Amazon Music and Spotify have bitrates that put the songs in the category of “high definition,” but Spotify’s premium service goes higher with some of the content. However, getting high-definition audio doesn’t matter if your output device – the tablet, smartphone, etc., – doesn’t support it. If all you ever use to listen to streamed music are standard headphones, you will never hear the difference between standard definition and HD formats of the same song.

Another point to consider is whether or not offline listening is possible. This is especially important while mobile so you don’t chew up your data usage or when traveling through areas that may not offer the best cell coverage. Spotify’s and Amazon Music’s free service won’t allow you to enjoy offline listening, but it can be purchased for an additional charge. Deezer, another popular streaming service, doesn’t offer the feature at all.

Once you have the platform, or platforms, selected, there’s one more thing to look for. Newer services can determine the type of music you want based on previous searches, which helps you build a better library. Whether you want to create a mix to use while at the gym or to keep focused while at a poker or blackjack table, let the service help you determine the selections that might put you in the mood and motivate you to success.