Ever since Google offered a 90 day trial to their all access music streaming I’ve been hooked. Any song, downloaded for the bus and car on my phone, instantly. Album art and all. For me the days of pirating music are over. But the market is heating up with Google, Spotify, Pandora and Beats Music all serious contenders to be the streaming king of this new digital age.
“Every new generation of music service steals from the last generation’s customers. Apple stole Amazon’s best CD buyers, and Spotify has now stolen those same customers from Apple – or at least the same sorts of people.”
But which services to choose?
I’ve experienced both Spotify Premium and Google Play extensively and my simple conclusion is that despite being less popular, Google Play Music is superior. The downside is that there is no free trial unlike Spotify which provides an ad-supported service which can be upgraded to high quality streaming, ad-free and mobile spotify. The automation of music downloads on mobile and the clean vibrant look are the little features that make Google Music my winner.
Both services provide great sound and I couldn’t notice a difference in music quality between the two. I would say that the desktop version of Spotify for Windows is not as high quality as when it is played in chrome on the Spotify Web Player.
Make sure you enable “High Quality Streaming” in the client for better sound. Google Play will stream you the best available quality for your internet connection speed automatically.
Both services allow you download songs for when you’re out and about off wifi connections. I felt Google solution was very quick at downloading and also good at managing the amount disk space of songs you have downloaded. Spotify wasn’t as automatic and I had to open the app often before it would start downloading the updated playlist whereas Google Play Downloads as soon as you hit wifi. Spotify does allow you to select what quality you would like to stream and download at when on mobile which is something Google Music doesn’t provide. This means you can choose a lower quality to take up less space on your device.
Google has the better android app however Spotify are consistent across platforms in UI and this battle really comes down to personal preference. The IOS Spotify and Google Play Apps are also both good. Neither service has one superior feature that deems it to be better but Google Play music does allow better sorting of music within playlists. You can drag to reorder very easily whereas with Spotify you must sort by certain parameters. Both do a fantastic job due to recent app store updates.
Spotify provides a desktop client native to windows whereas Google Music can only be accessed through the web browser. This isn’t an issue as I found the web browser to be better which streaming music from Google and Spotify Web player. If you are someone who want a lot of control as to how you play your music you may find Spotify to be the better solution. I personally like the web browser approach as I spend most of my time in the browser anyway.
Spotify has a better ecosystem, more ways to listen to music (client, web and mobile) but the experience isn’t quite as pleasant as the vibrant Google Play Music experience. Less efficient download system and an inferior radio service for finding new music is what drags Spotify behind.
With both services running about $13NZD (10USD) a month, whichever one you choose it will change the way you interact with music forever so don’t sweat the small stuff and just take the 30 free trials that both services provide.