Over the last couple of years there has been a consistent transition to on-demand content: content accessible from anywhere at any time. Gone are the days when wired connection between a receiver and a speaker to an audio or video source were relied on. Home theater sound can now be accessed through multiple ways that do not involve the traditional yellow, white and red RCA cables, HDMI cables let alone speaker wires. Wireless music streaming services come in different shapes and forms.
Pandora comes free if it has ads. The ad-free version goes for under $5 a month (Pandora Plus) while the on-demand version (Pandora Premium) goes for under $10 a month. This streaming service is for those who enjoy listening to their favorite artists and discovering new ones. Upon choosing on Pandora which artist you would like to listen to, it creates a channel that has title selections by the artist and others with similar style; similar to the Genius function in Apple products. The service has 40 million titles available on its library. A serious niggle on this wireless music streaming service is the fact that it does not allow you to upload your own content.
Spotify has a one month free trial. The ads packed version is free. The ads free version goes for under $10 a month. As would be expected, the paid version offers better quality in sound. This service is for those who enjoy a wide variety of titles. It is quite popular with over 50 million paying subscribers. It is easily accessible across multiple digital platforms. It is a good place to create and share playlists, entertain yourself to exclusive live sessions and also to find your favorite artists.
Slacker goes for under $10 (premium) or $4 (plus) per month. Premium grants you personal playlists as well as offline listening. It offers curated music typically that which is on demand. This service has an extensive service which is easy to use and navigate through. It has an excess of 300 stations tied to specific sports, news, weather and music genres. The free service offers very little choice when it comes to the selection of content played.
Apple music typically has a free three month trial period after which you are charged under $10 per month. It has over 20 million subscribers. It is best suited for those who travel frequently. This service is comprehensive with over 40 million titles. It offers subscribers exclusive content from renowned artists and apple radio. Siri’s voice commands are included in the package. It also allows you to download countless hours of music to fill the hours when one is away from internet hot spots. As a downside, the design of the application that interfaces this service is far much less intuitive than you would expect from from Apple.
Rhapsody, one of the first music services in the US on a large scale, was re-branded to Napster in 2011. It has radio and premier packages. The radio package offers a free 14 day trial then goes for under $4.99 a month while the premier package offers a free 30 day trial then goes for under $9.99 a month. This streaming service allows you to check music charts, scan through music channels, find new music with over 40 million titles and download music for offline listening especially those marked favorites.
SoundCloud was launched in 2007. It is good for budding artists as it exposes them for early stage growth. It lacks a monthly rental fee or an equity stake to generate revenue from artists. Though it is free, it is restricted from commercially licensed tracks. The service is on a downward trajectory being forced to lay off about 40% of its staff. It is currently not as popular as it was a decade ago but if you unable to pay for a premium music streaming service then this is a good free alternative.
Tidal, similar to Spotify has a free one month trial. After the trial period, it goes for under $10 a month for the regular service and $20 a month for HiFi and access to high resolution audio. High quality audio files could quickly use up small cellular data plans. The service is for those who demand offline listening and high audio quality. Its library has over 40 million titles. The service also allows for pairing with Sonos, Denon and other multiple room speaker models.
Though Tidal uses up large amounts of cellular data to access high resolution audio, the sound quality output makes it worth the while. Its specific R&B and rap offerings are particularly comprehensive and we highly recommend this service to anyone interested in wireless music streaming services.