Music in the New Year

I know that I post often about my musical travails, as I wove my path between the various services, Spotify, Apple, Google, Pandora, and Amazon, so this is another installment.

The last episode found me back in Spotify, cancelling my Apple Music service. Partly this was due to my desire to back away from the Apple ecosystem, but also because Spotify is vastly superior to iTunes in streaming on my train commute.

I have been using it pretty consistently for 2 months, and without a doubt, the Spotify streaming is the champion. The only service that comes close to its performance is the Amazon service. (Google is just lousy at streaming. Every time I have evaluated it, it has been glitchy, even on wired, high bandwidth connections.)

But there is one deficiency to the Spotify service. Their “radio” stations, are, uh, how to sugarcoat this, sucks. It has too little granularity, the “Artist” stations are pretty poor at having a relevant track list, and in general they phone it in. That’s OK, as their catalog is amazing, the Spotify curated playlists are outstanding, and their other main strength is the shared playlists, and regardless of your tastes you will find ample excellent playlists to follow/subscribe to, and you will be very happy.

The best radio function is the Pandora service. Too bad that they are on life support, having missed the on-demand streaming paradigm shift. I have just let my Pandora premium subscription lapse.

I currently have a paid subscription to the Amazon service (beyond the Prime), and it’s streaming is equally as solid as Spotify. The other benefit to Amazon is their cool feature of “AutoRIP” where music you have bought is magically there in their streaming service.

Spotify is still the clear winner, great catalog, solid performance, and while their radio station feature is the weakest link in their service, I am mostly pleased with the complete package.

I am sure that this is just another entry in the saga, and that periodically I will revisit the status. Spotify might fall from grace, or they might fall as their business model struggles to remain relevant. The one consistent result from my periodic re-evaluations is that the Google Play music service is just awful.

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