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Which Streaming Music Service is Worth Your Subscription? Apple Music vs. Spotify, Tidal & Rhapsody

Apple unveiled its music service, but with existing and successful streaming music services already available, we are interested in how Apple plans on enticing users to make the switch.  We’ve collected some info on the top 4 streaming services – Spotify, Rhapsody, Tidal, and now Apple Music — so you can see how they stack up, and decide which is worth your subscription.

User Demographics (1)

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Spotify, with 30M songs and a tiered payment system make this app a favorite, especially among students who can save with the student discount. From early on, Spotify was smart to integrate with Facebook, giving users the ability to share their favorite songs, artists, and playlists with their friends. The mobile app is also straight-forward, making the user the center of this experience.

Tidal, with 25M songs and two subscription levels, is marketing their sound quality as a major selling point. While it is not integrated with any existing social media, there are artists exclusive content offered through the app, like the music video for Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé’s Feelin’ Myself. If Tidal can convince a big artist — like stakeholder Rihanna — to release a major album exclusively through Tidal, they may see their subscriptions surge.

Rhapsody, with 32M songs and a 14 day free trial ($9.99/month afterwards) is a favorite, in due part to their amazing longevity. Founded in 2001, Rhapsody has ridden the wave of steaming music successfully through the years. While not as big as Spotify or as flashy as Tidal, their service continues to be solid. They recently partnered with Twitter, allowing subscribers to post and share songs on the social media app.

Apple Music, with 43M songs, is free for the first 3 months, then graduates to $9.99/month for a subscription or $14.99/month for a family plan that includes up to 6 people. We predict the family offering will be a big draw for people; since Apple Music will come pre-loaded on new Apple devices, the family will have three months to become accustomed to the service. Proceeding to drop $15 a month for the whole family isn’t a hard pill to swallow, especially since it is only $5 more than a singular subscription on other apps. Apple Music seamlessly integrates into all other Apple devices, including the Watch. Taking a step beyond smart radio, they are also offering shows that are curated by famous DJs, like Drake (whose endorsement was poached from Tidal). Not leaving any angle unexplored, there is also a social element to the subscription called Apple Connect, where artists can push content directly to their fans.

Overall, it seems that Apple has a superior music library, competitive pricing, ease of use, and the social element — it is taken all the aspects we love from Spotify, Tidal, and Rhapsody and combined them into one. The only thing that makes us pause is the quite obvious monopoly: Apple rules over smartphones, music, watches, laptops…the list goes on. If you don’t mind being completely integrated into the Apple-verse, we say go for it. If not, stick to Spotify, Rhapsody, or Tidal. After all, maintaining a variety of options allows for more competition, and hopefully, better products.

Let us know your favorite way to stream, and whether you will be switching over to Apple Music or not.

Violet Degnan

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