Music Streaming Services

Discussion in 'Computer Audiophile: Software, Configs, Tools' started by rott, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. rott

    rott Secretly hates other millenials - Friend

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    Apart from Tidal (which I have used but is doubly more expensive than the others), has anyone had a chance to try and compare the other available popular (paid) music streaming services?

    The ones I'm familiar with, being based in USA:
    • Amazon Music Unlimited
    • Apple Music
    • Google Play Music
    • Spotify
    I've been using Apple Music but ultimately decided it's not for me. It's nice that I can upload tracks from my library and have them available to stream on any iDevice or computer with iTunes, but the iDevice app seems buggy to me and chews up my precious available storage very quickly. (Neat trick to free up iDevice space - try to rent an HD movie from iTunes store that's larger than your available space. It will fail but does free up space practically every time you try.) Also, not a fan of most of the selection of artists/songs promoted when I'm trying to find new stuff. (Then again, maybe what's popular to the masses just ain't for me, even with popular genres.) I probably should have "loved" more artists/songs for their algorithms to more easily give me what I otherwise have to hunt around for. I wasn't big on creating playlists either. So maybe that's all on me.

    I believe Spotify has the most subscribers, but I think I'll check out what Amazon and Google have to offer...I know with Google you can upload up to 50,000 of your own tracks as well.

    Btw this is for straight headphone usage in my case, so other software/device/DAC integration is not a concern for me. I still rely on Redbook or ALAC/FLAC for more "serious" listening.

    Any pros/cons regarding interface, music selection, general user experience, especially if you've used more than one service?
     
  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I've used them all, and I think the only ones worth considering are Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify. GPM is fine if you are really into Google's web of services, but I think their library is somewhat smaller than those three. Amazon is just a shitshow IMO.

    Apple Music has the biggest library, but a terrible interface and weird bugs. Tidal offers lossless and has several big exclusives, but that's probably only a concern if you like modern hip-hop/R&B. Spotify has a smaller library (although I believe they just made some deals to build those up), but a huge user base with thousands of user playlists at your fingertips. Their Discovery playlist feature is pretty great too.

    Apple Music is really only if you're very invested in Apple's services. That leaves Tidal and Spotify. Spotify has the best connection features, with Roku and PS4 integration and other connection services. Tidal connects with audiophile computer programs like Roon and Audirvana+.

    Personally I use Tidal because I do run Audirvana+. Also they pay the artists better than the other services. I don't pay for the lossless tier though. Their lossy tier is 320k AAC, which is more than enough for me as I use it to discover new music, not as my main mode of listening.
     
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  3. sfoclt

    sfoclt Friend

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    I've had them all as well, and settled on Tidal/roon.
     
  4. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Qobuz and Deezer are other streaming services as well. Haven't used them and can't comment.
     
  5. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Tried Deezer too with their free trial. Felt like an also-ran to me. Qobuz isn't available in the US AFAIK.
     
  6. Gaspasser

    Gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    FYI both Tidal and Spotify have 50% off student discounts. Also Tidal offers a military/veteran discount which is around 40% off. It is a no-brainer for music discovery and listening on the go. Spotify's playlists and music discovery features are worth more than $5/month (on student discount).
     
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  7. bobboxbody

    bobboxbody Almost "Made"

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    I've used Apple, Spotify, Google. Stuck with Google for the interface, and least crashes/bugs across multiple devices. I have an android phone though, so not surprised it works better there, but it's also smooth on iMac and pc laptop at work.
     
  8. Deep Funk

    Deep Funk Deep thoughts - Friend

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    Spotify is great for casual listening. Even better now the Prince (WB music) catalogue is out.

    Tidal is what I prefer as they offer the FLACs in the store and you can crate dig digitally.Their music library is amazing.

    Qobuz is also very good but in the end it comes down to the music library, sound files, sound quality and whether or not you can download the FLACs for me.

    Tidal is now the best solution for me and 20 Euros a month, fuck it a great deal if you ask me.
     
  9. rott

    rott Secretly hates other millenials - Friend

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    Last time I used Tidal I found the iDevice app quite buggy in that it often would not register touch/taps while a song was playing. Quite frustrating. Also seemed like relative song volume was boosted a bit compared to playing same track using different apps, not sure if that's good or bad. Agree on good catalog, might consider their lossy tier.

    Thanks for feedback!
     
  10. jexby

    jexby Loves propane and propane accessories

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    have spent days now with Tidal app on IOS and no glitches in GUI at all. iPhone 6S and latest iPad Air.

    Tidal with GOV2+SpecEd and Andros is quite crazy good small set up!
     
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  11. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    I use Qobuz. It does FLAC lossless streaming (like Tidal). Their software is pretty poor in my experience, and their support has really, astoundingly poor English. And they're really obstinate about not supporting Roon. (I guess one bankruptcy procedure wasn't enough for them...)

    Their library is great especially for classical and jazz stuff. But as it was mentioned, they don't seem to operate in the US.
     
  12. Prydz

    Prydz Almost "Made"

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    Anyone tried the "new" Deezer?
    They also have "lossless" now
     
  13. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    I really wish Spotify would get on board with lossless and play ball with Roon. Pipedream I think...
     
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  14. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    From what I’m reading, it does 16/44 only on their Mac desktop app.
     
  15. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    I agree, and wondering if/when this will happen. They put out that teaser/survey a while back, but nothing since AFAIK.

    Tidal is pretty good, but their price is a bit high for the lossless service, plus the Canadian version is really missing a whole lot of artists/albums (due to rights in Canada I assume) - hoping the Spotify Canada will not have this problem. Might have to look into a proxy to the US version of Tidal in the meantime.

    Tidal's discovery/recommendations is absolute shit however. They basically pretty much ignore what I listen to and just constantly push their pop/hip-hop crap.
     
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  16. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Yep, exactly. I'm thinking of getting rid of them all together for that reason. If I really want the album I'll buy it...getting fed up with their model.
     
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  17. Metro

    Metro Almost "Made"

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    I am doing all of my music listening on streaming, and currently subscribe to Tidal, Spotify and Google. After purchasing CDs and LPs for decades, on demand streaming from a limitless catalog is a dream come true for me. There are many recordings I want to listen to, but not necessarily desire to own for repeated listening.

    I like Spotify for discovery and its prepared playlists, and Tidal HiFi for lossless which does make a difference in sound quality. The Google plan combines Music with YouTube Red, and I have their family plan at $15/month (good for 5 members). My family enjoys having YouTube with no annoying ads. If you watch music performances on YouTube, eliminating ads is essential, especially if a concert is split into several videos.

    These three plans have odd gaps in their catalog. For example, I listen mostly to classical, and all three have the Sony/CBS Classical catalog. However, although their Sony Classical selections mostly overlap, I occasionally come across an album which for no apparent reason is on two services but missing from the third, or vice versa.

    I prefer Spotify's UI interface over the others, but that isn't saying much — it's still clunky and awkward. The search function on Tidal is terrible. I am sometimes looking for a specific album, and Spotify and Google find it but not Tidal. Then I have to modify the search terms on Tidal until it finally finds the result.
     
  18. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Google Play Music is the most convenient. No need for an app on any computer, just a web service. Quality is solid and discovery is quite good. I have the family plan so my wife and I can both listen in different locations simultaneously for not much more than the base price. You can store your library (but not in FLAC format) easily on it as well.

    Tidal has the best sound and the worst interface. It's unforgivably poor and hasn't changed pretty much since it first came out, which speaks volumes to me about how much they give a shit about users. I've subbed two it 3-4 times and cancelled in disgust every time. Hire a fucking software developer worth a damn. To make it remotely usable you have buy another overpriced service (Roon).

    Spotify is okay. I don't really like its software despite being worlds better than Tidal's. Same quality of music as Google. Probably the best overall catalog as of the last time I actually used it (more than a year ago).

    Deezer is dookie. Feel free to try it for free and discover that you'll simply never use it because it sucks.

    Apple can burn. I've always hated iTunes and haven't used it in more than half a decade, so you can ignore this completely biased opinion because I don't have recent experience with it. Back in the day I used Zune Music instead of iTunes.

    If you're rich and cool with encouraging them to continue never supporting their own usability, get TIDAL + Roon. Otherwise, I'd recommend Google Play Music.
     
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  19. mo.fu

    mo.fu Rando

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    @Luckbad can you compare the recommendation engines of Spotify and Google Play Music? That is what I mainly care about in streaming services. Somehow I find machine generated discovery more intriguing, compared to human curated playlists.
     
  20. starence

    starence Acquaintance

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    Deezer's software is still pretty basic, but they have lossless streaming via the desktop app now. It sounds quite good, there doesn't seem to be any option for ASIO or WASAPI though. New subscribers can get 3 months for $1 here.

    Edit: It seems like lossless is available on the MacOS app as well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
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