Thursday, June 05, 2014

Tech Wars - Music Streaming Services

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Welcome to Tech Wars! Every Tuesday and Thursday we take two or more tech services/products and put them side-by-side to see which one prevails. Follow us on Twitter (@allstuffnerdy) to get updates when a new Tech War comes out. To see more Tech Wars articles, click the "Tech Wars" link at the top of the page.

We all like streaming music. Music keeps us productive when we are working. But we can be quite opinionated on which one we think is the best, so we stacked up three of the top streaming music services to find out which one comes out on top.

Today we have the following up for comparison:
Pandora Grooveshark Spotify
Created January 2000 2007 2006
Total users 25 million 20 million 40 million
Services Free and Paid Free and Paid Free and Paid
Access with free service Unlimited listening with limited skips and occasional audio and visual ads Unlimited listening with visual ads Limited selection of music with limit of 10 hours of listening a month with audio and visual ads
Features of paid service No ads and unlimited skips No ads and features such as crossfade and access to the desktop app along with offline playback Unlimited ad-free listening with mobile and desktop app access and offline playback
Cost of paid service $4.99/month $9/month $9.99/month
Music selection method Radio Radio and manual Radio and manual(only for Premium)
Song catalog size 800,000+ (2011) 15 million 20 million
Platforms Web and most mobile devices Web, PC, Mac, and Android (other mobile users can use online HTML5 interface) Web, PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone

All stacked up, let's compare them. Starting at the top we see that both Grooveshark and Spotify are relatively new players in the game. Pandora and Grooveshark hover around the 20 millions mark while Spotify is up there at 40 million. Grooveshark places almost no restrictions on free users. Pandora limits the skipping ability (which also applies to paid accounts, but with more skips allowed). And Spotify has the harshest of all with severe restrictions on free users with only 10 hours of allotted listening time. For both Pandora and Spotify they both lift their restrictions on paid users while Grooveshark adds features for it's premium members. Pandora has the cheapest paid plan with $4.99 a month while the other two sit around the $9 mark. Pandora is the only streaming service on this list to not offer on demand listening while the others make it their main feature. While Pandora seems a little bit behind in song catalog size, Spotify takes the lead with 20 million songs and with Grooveshark just around 5 million behind. And while Pandora supports the majority of devices, Grooveshark supports pretty much all modern devices with it's Flash-based website and HTML5 site for mobile users.

The results:
After looking through the results, the best one would have to be Grooveshark. With almost no restrictions on free users (and no audio ads), combined with universal device support, it has to be AllStuffNerdy's top choice of music streaming client.

So let us know in the comments, do you agree with our pick? Would you have picked something else? Do you think we left out a worthy competitor? Let us know in the comments. And stay tuned every Tuesday and Thursday for more Tech Wars.

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