Streaming has been a hotly debated topic within the music industry, mainly because of headlines about low pay-out rates of streaming providers and therefore low revenue for artists. However, there’s no denying that music streaming has experienced a rapid growth, with a global increase of 39% since 2014. “Africa as a continent is the origin of music”, in recent times due to a rapid uptake of smartphones and improving telecommunications infrastructure streaming services has been attractive enough to attract the like of Google play music, Spotify and Apple music as well and this seems unwise for an artist to not explore it.
There have already been some local streaming services that sprung in Africa like Simfy Africa (South Africa) was launched 2010, Spinlet (Nigeria) 2011 although it was formed in Finland in 2006, Mdundo (Kenya) formed 2012, iRoking (Nigeria) September 2010, Mziiki (Tanzania)
Unlike in the year 2014, African’s smartphones users have become familiar with music streaming apps, creating playlists, sharing music, listening to the radio and enjoying millions of songs from the continent via Spotify, Apple Music and more.
DailyTechPro would like to help you answer questions like which music streaming service is best for you? What features do you need and what are the different offerings you can get from premium subscriptions? How long is the free trial, and what perks can you get? Which is cheaper, and how can you get a special rate when you subscribe?
Here are the best streaming services around, from Apple music, Google Play music, and Spotify, and the pros and cons of the best apps and sites out there:
Google Play Music has made quite a name for itself in the recent years. Although it’s popular as a subscription-based service, one can easily listen to umpteenth free songs without the need to subscribe. All you need to have is a Google ID.
Google Play Music is a music and podcast streaming service and online music locker operated by Google.
The service was announced on May 10, 2011, and after a six-month, invitation-only beta period, it was publicly launched on November 16. After five years of its operation in the USA and other European counties, Google Play Music went live in South Africa January 2016.
Depending on the setup that you do, the choices are immense. Plus, there’s also an option of starting a radio. However, when it comes to skipping a song, you can skip only 6 songs per hour. But on the bright side, you can seek to any position of the song that you like best.
Users with standard accounts can upload and listen to up to 50,000 songs from their personal libraries at no cost. An “All Access” subscription, sold in combination with YouTube Red, entitles users to on-demand streaming of any song in the Google Play Music catalog. Users can purchase additional tracks for their library through the music store section of Google Play. In addition to offering music streaming for Internet-connected devices, the Google Play Music mobile apps allow music to be stored and listened to offline.
Apple Music is a lot of things. Along with a music streaming service, it will let you play songs you have stored locally on your iOS devices, plus songs that you’ve uploaded from your local machine to iCloud using the $25/year iCloud Match service (which is now free if you use Apple Music).
Then there’s the radio component. Both the algorithmically generated, artists/genre-based radio stations like Pandora and alive, human DJ based 24/7 radio station called Beats
But the only problem is that Apple Music doesn’t have a meaningful free tier. With Spotify and Radio, you can stream any song you want for free – with ads. With Apple Music, that’s just not possible. You can play artist radio stations but with limited skips – it’s just not the same.
Apple Music has a for You section where you select your favorite artists and Apple will present albums and playlists based on what you like. Just like everything else, Apple Music will learn from what you’re playing over and over, what you’re skipping and what you’re saving. Based on that, Apple Music will recommend more music. A list of counties it is available
Spotify The Swedish company, launched in 2008 and available in more than 60 countries, is the biggest music streaming company in the world and counts services from Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google Play as its main rivals.
Spotify pays royalties based on the number of artists’ streams as a proportion of total songs streamed on the service, unlike physical or download sales, which pay artists a fixed price per song or album sold. They distribute approximately 70% of total revenue to rights holders, who then pay artists based on their individual agreements. Spotify announced in April 2017 that artists will be able to make new album releases exclusively available on the Premium service for a maximum of two weeks if they are part of Universal Music Group and Merlin Network, as part of its efforts to renegotiate new license deals with record labels for a reported interest in going public. Following its lunch on the African continent in only South Africa as it plans to take advantage of to a rapid uptake of smartphones and improving telecommunications infrastructure as mention earlier with internet services across Africa. Not forgetting that the Streaming services company had announced earlier this year to get listed on the New York stock market along with DropBox which got listed and made 0ver 36% growth on its first day a few days ago, its yet to catch up with Apple which is already in 59 countries where Spotify doesn’t operate in.
Best for Apple users: Apple Music
Users firmly set in the Apple hardware world have a fine built-in option. It’s the default music app on an iPhone, and Apple TV and Apple Watch don’t have apps for Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited or Google Play. Also, it’s the only music service that you can command via Siri when your hands are busy cooking a meal or handling another task. It gives your typical user the ability to follow various Apple profiles and artists and engage with them
Price: $9.99 per month, $14.99 for families (six accounts) and $4.99 for students; $99 for a year.
Take Note: There’s no free version, and you’ll have to use iTunes on a Mac or PC if you want to use it on the desktop, as there’s no web-browser version.
Best for Everyone: Spotify
With more than 140 million active users (and more than 70 million paid subscribers), Spotify is the most popular music service. As long as your tech can play music, it’s likely it supports Spotify. Native Spotify support is built into so many devices that Spotify made a website to index them all. Further, the service has been made available to the Xbox console family This ubiquity makes it the easiest service to recommend to someone, as it works for most.
Price: Free with ads and limits, $9.99 per month (or $99 per year) for Spotify Premium, $14.99 for families (six accounts) and $4.99 for students.
Take Note: Apple’s upcoming HomePod speaker does not support it, and Spotify customers have long stood in the shadows while artists have released music as exclusives to other platforms such as Apple Music and Tidal.
Best for YouTube addicts: Google Play Music
Google Play Music’s best weapon is it’s most secret: free access to the ad-free YouTube Red experience. Yes, the service lured a lot of people on the continent with its lunch in South Africa in 2015. It also has the cloud-storage option for your library of MP3s, but that’s also offered by Apple Music. Another neat perk: It uses time of day and location to suggest tunes. And now that Amazon’s dropping its Music Storage feature, Google Play is one of two remaining major services that allow users to store their own tunes in the cloud, as Apple’s iCloud Music Library still works in tandem with Apple Music.
Also, expect a lot of fun experience from Google Play Music’s merge with YouTube Red if you’re new to the service the combination of YouTube Red and Google Play Music gives you one offering.
Price: Free with ads, $9.99 per month, $14.99 for families (six accounts)
Take Note: Support on connected devices is limited, as it’s mostly for PCs, Macs, iOS and Android.