When was the last time you thought about updating your iPod? We don’t recommend that you start because the tech experts agree that you just shouldn’t bother. But we know how important it is that you can carry your music with you wherever you go, whether you’re going to work like Rihanna or you’re headed out of the city as fast as Drake’s last ex. We’ve tried to make heads and tails of the best music streaming apps for your phone available. They’re all solid choices, but as we’ve already seen, competition in this area is fierce, with apps like Beats Music and Songza getting bought out by Apple and Google respectively. One of these will come out on top, and eventually, the rest will fade away.
5. Apple Music
The new Beats, Apple’s most distinguishing feature is its emphasis on tastemaking. It loves to recommend songs based on your preferences, and you can update your tastes by indicating the songs you love as you listen. If you already have an extensive iTunes library, this might be the best option for you since you can stream music you’ve already paid for alongside its own catalogue.
4. Google Play
Google Play also allows you to add your personal library, whether you’ve bought it from Google Play, iTunes, or copied it from a CD (right before you listed your whole collection on Kijiji). If you like listening to the radio on your drive to work, but just wish they didn’t repeat themselves so often, Google Play is a solid choice. We can’t get enough of The Weeknd either, but sometimes you have to change it up to keep feeling the love. It has plenty of curated radio stations to choose from in all genres, which might take you to some artists off the charts.
The best thing about Slacker is the free version. Start with the song or artist you want to hear and Slacker will generate a radio station based on that information. The Radio Plus version is a lot like the free one, so don’t bother unless you go Premium.
Easily the most popular app in the business, Spotify is the brand to beat. It’s well integrated with social media like Facebook so you can keep up with your friends’ tastes, and they’ve got over 30 million songs in their catalogue. There’s also a free version, but you’re stuck with ads and listening to it on Shuffle. Fortunately, if you need to keep an eye on your budget, they have a family plan where additional subscribers pay only 50% of the subscription free.
We love Tidal: an artist-collective-owned streaming service spearheaded by the one and only Jay-Z. One of its big selling points is quality: they stream hi-fidelity sound and HD videos. You’re going to need a good connection and visuals on your phone to appreciate HD video streaming. If you’re still stuck in a contract with your old model, you can save yourself some change by hunting down a used Samsung Galaxy on Kijiji. They may have dropped the ball on the release of Rihanna’s Anti, but we predict that their strategy to compensate artists better than the competitors will mean more exclusives and an edge on its library in the future.