iTunes. Google. Spotify. We all know ‘em. We all love ‘em. But which one is truly superior amongst a world of innovation and demand? Let's take a closer look.
The beauty of music in 2015? Thats easy. It’s everywhere. And it’s no surprise that we can at any moment whip out the trusty ol’ google search engine, type in the words “pizza band” and find results for New York-based band The Pizza Underground. (Remember the cute kid from Home Alone? Well, he’s a rockstar now. Sorta.) Yes, music has become incredibly easy to discover, find, listen to, and put out because of companies like Google, but what platform is the best platform for you?
It’s not just about the music we listen to, or find for that matter, but also about how we listen to it. And if you’re like me, you like to pop in your ear buds every morning on your way to class and throw on some music to start your day (I like to start with something hardcore). Or for the professionals, on your way to work or even your post-cubicle evening jog that is fueled by the energy of the Arctic Monkeys. It’s a very relatable routine. So, the question is, what is the best way to access all of our favorite music? Let’s take a look at the three biggest platforms leading the world of digital access: iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify.
Oh yes, the genesis of digital music access. This is where it all began. In the dawn of the new millennium came an invention that revolutionized the way we listen to music. iTunes a well organized, cleancut database for music that also sells music by thousands of artists through the iTunes store. It was the beginning of a new era of musical access. We’ve all probably spent a fair amount of our earnings on songs by Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran (or The Pizza Underground) through this application, and there’s bound to be some old empty iTunes gift cards lying around the house that have accumulated from all those Charlie Brown themed birthday cards that Grandma generously gave throughout the years (I’ve counted 10).
Initial release: 9 January, 2001 by Apple Inc.
What is it?: A digital music database and storage application that can hold music, movies, shows, podcasts etc.
Format: Database Application via computer, or Apple products such as iPod, iPhone, iPad (“i” anything really)
Pricing: Varies from $0.69 to $1.29 per song (cheaper to buy albums rather than each song individually) via iTunes store.
Pros: Organized by categories such as artists or title, easy to read, easy to download on a computer, and is pre-installed on all Apple devices. An all around friendly app.
Cons: expensive, and can really rack up the gigabytes on your device.
If you’re having trouble singing along to the chorus of that Imagine Dragons song, Google it. Right? Well it just so happens that you can now Google it, and proceed to purchase it with Google Play: An online application that only requires an account, some digital credit, and the burning passion to jam out to some tunes. It’s also the official app store for the android phone circuit. Google has become the face of the Internet, which is a title it has earned, and the company was generous and smart enough to provide a pair of ears to that beautiful, happy go lucky face. Not only does it provide music, but it even allows access to all your favorite television series, movies, and soap operas (if you’re into General Hospital). It's even has books and publications, but let's focus on the musical aspect.
Initial Release: 6 March, 2012 as a merger between Android Market and Google.
What is it?: An online digital music distribution application that sells music, movies, and much more.
Format: Online Application via google+ account, or pre-installed application on Android devices.
Pricing: Like iTunes, it varies from $0.69 to $1.29 per song, some music is even free! (who doesn’t love free stuff?)
Pros: Universal access from any wifi enabled device, easy browsing, and organized set up.
Cons: Fairly expensive, and download/buffer time can be lengthy at times. Requires wifi or cellular data, unless an unlimited member.
Sweden is often known for its prestige level of innovation and it’s tightly functioning enecomy, and I like to think Swedish entrepreneurship has led to three incredible corporations: IKEA, Skype, and Spotify. Now I’m not reviewing the best place to buy your next 60 inch LCD flat screen, and I’m certainly not trying to set up any Skype dates any time soon, but I’ll definitely sum up Spotify’s rightful title in one sentence: It’s frickin’ innovation. This company, founded by Swedish entrepreneurs Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, uses a different platform for musical distribution, which is more of access rather than purchasing. Instead of buying the songs, you’re simply renting them! And it’s all done in one nicely organized application that can be used on a phone, computer, or pretty much any electronic device. It’s the next step to the future of the music industry.
Initial Release: October 2006 by Spotify Ltd.
What is it?: A music streaming service that allows access to thousands upon thousands of artists via application (playing the music instead of buying it).
Pricing: Monthly fee of $9.99 for a Spotify Premium account, r a Spotify Free account which has more limited features (more of a pandora type situation where you can’t choose exactly what song you want to listen to, but instead you listen to a playlist)
Pros: Easy access via app, fast and reliable, cost effective, large database, doesn’t take up large amount of storage on your devices.
Cons: Requires wifi or cellular data, and some controversy regarding artist royalties and payouts (are the artists being paid equally? that's a whole other discussion)
So now that you know a little bit about each platform, which one is crowned the best? Well, it’s ultimately up to your satisfaction, but I’m gonna have to go with… (insert drum roll)... Spotify! This company has got it figured out, minus the payout controversy. It’s available all throughout the major regions of the world, it has a ridiculously large database of music, and it’s only 10 bucks a month!
I hop into my Honda Civic every morning, I throw on my shades, put the keys in the ignition, open Spotify, and let the app fervently begin my daily pre-productivity routine. I highly recommend it.
So take my word for it: Spotify is a real contender in the world of music access! 2015 has rendered us spoiled with companies like Spotify, and it’s just the next step into the future of musical distribution, which has been undeniably sparked by companies like Apple and Google. And although I give Spotify two thumbs up, it’s only fair to give credit to iTunes and Google Play as well, because let us not forget who paved the way for a young company like Spotify. It’s only the beginning of a new era in music.