Over the last decade, by over-taking CDs, streaming services have changed the music listening landscape. The days of artists releasing albums solely in stores are long gone.
Streaming services benefit both the artists and the listeners. Listeners can curate playlists in one place without having to make the trip to buy a new CD every time. Artists get benefited because unlike the old days, the services almost guarantee that a user is hit with a monthly fee.
So which ones are worth avoiding, and which ones are worth subscribing to?
Since its release on March 30, 2015 by rapper Jay-Z, Tidal has made internet waves. But is this service worth downloading? I say no…and here’s why.
According to a billboard business article, the popular streaming service has been late in making payments to participating labels, artists, and executives. When you’re in the moment, and your favorite song is on, you aren’t really thinking about Tidal’s money problems, however, if it’s your go-to streaming service and you want it to last for the foreseeable future, this could be a heads up.
Big name artists including Jay-Z, and his wife Beyonce’ have been on the record for being “Tidal exclusive”. The duo released a collaborative album entitled Everything Is Love, which was supposed to be available on Tidal only, however, 48 hours after its release, the 9 track album made its way to other streaming services. Sure, this move allows them to make more money, but if the founder can’t be committed to his own service, then why should we?
-photo courtesy of cosmopolitan
Streaming service giant Spotify benefits everyone including the artists, executives, and music lovers. For that reason, I say it’s worth the download.
One of the benefits of having Spotify is that you can listen to music for free without having to decide on a payment plan. Unlike its biggest competitor, Apple music, you aren’t required to choose a payment plan, and make a payment before you can start listening.
There’s also Spotify’s unbeatable sections to consider. Because of the well-organized sections, like their Spotify-For-Artists section, artists can easily take control of their profile. There are various interactive categories such as merchandise, verification, and concerts, so fans can know when you’re in town. For those reasons alone, Spotify’s artist section is much more preferred over similar sections such as Apple music’s.
Apple music earns my vote slightly over Spotify for a few reasons.
First, while Spotify eventually figures out your music taste, so does Apple Music. Instead of just guessing, Apple Music lets you decide for yourself with the use of a like/dislike button. United States listeners also give the slight advantage to Apple’s streaming service. According to a Complex article, Apple Music recently pulled ahead of Spotify, in the paid subscriptions portion by a tad.
Like Tidal, Apple Music has its own exclusive albums, however, the ladder does so with more consistency. Exclusive meaning that for a period of time, you can’t find the album on any other streaming service. Apple Music has had some of the most popular exclusive albums in recent memory.
-photo courtesy of billboard
In 2016, according to Forbes, Drake released his anticipated album Views to the iTunes store and Apple Music, where it was then streamed over 250 million times in 5 days. The rapper signed with Apple the previous year in 2015 for $19 million, which doesn’t even include his royalties. Chance The Rapper also scored big with Apple Music and tweeted the following.
I wanna clear things up. @apple gave me half a mil and a commercial to post Coloring Book exclusively on applemusic for 2 weeks
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) March 17, 2017
This move led to history, as it became the first streaming-only album to win a Grammy.
When it comes to music streaming, there is no question that Apple music, Spotify, and Tidal lead the pack. Music is forever evolving, and nobody knows how music will be released or listened to within the next 10 to 20 years. Whether you prefer, one of these 3 services, or another, for now, all we can do is sit back, listen, and let our favorite artists reap the benefits.