A smorgasbord of tunes in your pocket, on your tablet, on your phone. That's living the dream if you're a music lover, and music streaming services make all that happen without breaking your bank.
With high-speed internet and cheap-ish data plans for phones, streaming music is no long the hiccupy affair it used to be. No stops and starts in the middle of a song while waiting for packets to load.
Only trouble is, out of all the services out there, which one should the MP3 addict choose? We browse five of the best options on the market.
1. Spotify (Free, ad-supported / S$9.90 per month)
Probably the name that got the industry buzzing, Spotify remains at the forefront of the music streaming service scene, and for good reason. It has one of the largest databases with over 20 million songs, though catalogues vary from country-to-country. Plus, it just recently made its tablet and smartphone apps free to use, when before they needed subscriptions.
Is it worth subscribing to the service? If you want to play whatever song you want on the go, hear better sound quality, and can't stand ads, then S$10 a month won't seem like a lot. Not to mention that as far as music discovery goes, Spotify's unique app selection is hard to beat, with apps that help you create playlists according to your mood or choose from lists curated by other users.
2. Deezer (from S$5.99)
Deezer is arguably one of Spotify's biggest competitors, except for in the US, which Deezer hasn't moved into. With a library that rivals Spotify, Deezer is a good alternative especially if your telco is M1, which did a tie-up deal with Deezer not too long ago.
For Premium+ (Web and mobile devices) Deezer charges S$9.90, though you could pay S$5.99 if you go for the Web access-only Premium plan. Deezer's mobile apps are not nearly as slick as Spotify's and music discovery is not half as nuanced, but it has the edge in promoting Asian artists.
You can sample the service with a 15-day trial so you can decide whether ponying up the monthly subscription is worth it.
More after the break...
3. Amped (Free with ads / from S$9.90 per month)
Available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, Amped is a free-to-stream music service by SingTel. Similar to Spotify, the free service bombards users with ads. Can’t stand the incessant voice overs in the ads? Pay S$9.90 per month to enjoy ad-free music.
With Amped, you can expect to have your favourite Asian artists or international stars such as U2 serenading you during your daily commute.
If you stay in Singapore, watch out for promotions on Amped. You might even win a meet-and-greet session with your favourite artists, such as Singapore’s very own Stefanie Sun.
4. This is My Jam (Free)
If you've always fancied yourself a tastemaker where music is concerned, you can be your own music curator with This is My Jam. This isn't a subscription service but a Web-based model that lets you create 'jams' or playlists to share with other users.
Follow famous people or your friends on social networks, browse through what other 'jams' are playing, and see what tracks are trending. You could even listen to special picks and recommendations. Songs are sourced from all over the place, giving you YouTube, Spotify, and other music sources all in one space.
You can even listen to This is My Jam within Spotify as a standalone app. One shortcoming of this though, is that each 'jam' is just one song. Still worth a listen if you fancy being a DJ to your own little circle of music-loving friends.
5. whyd (Free)
whyd takes the concept of This is My Jam and expands it into a social network of its own. The service sees itself as a virtual hangout, where you pick and choose music from various sources that include Vimeo, Soundcloud, and various MP3 blogs. You can follow as well as be followed by other wannabe music curators. It also plans to tap into other services like Spotify, Songza, and Rdio in 2014, so if you're fine with a web-only music experience, whyd might suit you.
Its special recommendation engine 'matchmakes' you to other users whose music you might like. Within minutes of signing up, you'll have your own personal coterie of music listeners.
If you're adventurous with your music tastes and get a thrill out of each 'follow' within a social network, then whyd just could be your musical dream come true.