Spotify.com is a popular tool for discovering new music to listen to. It's free to sign up for and use, and you can take it with you on your tablet computer or smart phone. You can build a collection of songs that you like (and/or own) and organize them into playlists, or let Spotify find new music for you based on genres, artists, or songs that you already like. You can also network with your friends and favourite bands on Spotify, and check in on each other's latest musical endeavour.
However, Spotify's functionality is limited unless you sign up for a paid subscription; you'll have to listen to commercials between songs, and you can't listen to your music offline. Spotify also no longer allows for the purchase and download of songs that you hear on Spotify, meaning that you can no longer play music from Spotify on a different media player or move it to another device.
If Spotify is just not the hot spot for music for you, there are plenty of sites like Spotify out there that you can try instead. Here are six that get mentioned on the Internet frequently.
One of the most popular websites like Spotify, Pandora focuses heavily on discovery of music. It allows you to create custom radio stations based on songs or artists that you like, and it allows 100 as opposed to Spotify's 20! The downside is that your options for listening to songs on demand are limited, and a free account only lets you skips songs every so often, and causes advertisements to play between songs. Its monthly subscription rate is cheaper than that of Spotify, though, at $5 per month instead of $10. Pandora is currently only available in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, because of concerns over copyright and music licensing.
A French-based music streaming service, Deezer is another popular Spotify alternative. Deezer allows you to listen to songs on-demand from a large library, and create custom playlists based on your favourites (you can even rate playlists, too). It also has a "radio stations" function, where you can listen to mixes based on songs or artists, or use the "Flow" or "Hear This" functions to create your own based on music in your collection or that you've listened to recently. Deezer is free to use, but you'll need a paid subscription to play songs without advertisements in between, or play music offline on your mobile device.
In addition to being an alternative to Spotify, Google Play Music also allows you to store music that you already have (up to 50,000 songs!) on the Internet, so that you can access it from anywhere. This feature is free, but the streaming service -- and the ability to create custom radio stations -- requires a $10 monthly subscription. On the bright side, you are allowed to purchase and download music onto your computer from Google Play Music, something that you can't do on Spotify.
One of the newest Spotify competitors, Tidal is owned by rapper Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and several like-minded artists. One of the major motivations behind it was to create a music-streaming service that resulted in more royalty money being given directly to artists themselves, instead of record labels and other music distribution middlemen. Tidal's other main draw is that it offers a library of 25 million songs in high-quality audio, as well as over 75,000 high-definition music videos (including some exclusive content). However, Tidal has no free options (besides free trials of its services), and subscriptions are pricey (usually between $10 and $20 per month).
While it's not exactly a music streaming service like Spotify, iTunes does let you listen to certain Internet radio stations free of charge. It also allows you to purchase and download the music that you listen to -- something that Spotify doesn't do -- and organize it into playlists, move it to other devices, and so on. You can also do this with certain movies and TV show episodes. Again, unlike Spotify, you don't pay for subscriptions on iTunes; you just pay for each song, album, playlist, movie, or TV show episode/season that you want to watch.
Apple Music is basically Apple's competitor to Spotify. It features a vast library of songs that you can listen to commercial-free, and sort into playlists or custom radio stations based on your preferences. Apple Music also has pre-made radio stations curated by celebrity DJs and musical artists that you can listen to, as well as the "Connect" feature where you can get an exclusive look at what your favourite singers and bands are up to. Apple Music costs about $10 per month (or $15 for a family-wide subscription), though you can get a three-month free trial of it.
Have you used any of these services similar to Spotify? Were they music to your ears, or just a bunch of white noise? Have you gotten in tune with any other potential alternatives to Spotify that we should know about? Let us know in the comments below.
Also, if one of these websites or apps strikes a chord with you, and you want to use it in place of Spotify, our last tutorial will show you how to delete your Spotify account.
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