Qobuz? Spotify? Deezer? Which music streaming platform is for you?26 June 2019
With the proliferation of streaming platforms in recent years it is difficult to make the right choice. Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, Tidal; we do not know what to choose! In addition the IT magazines do not really help us because they make comparisons with the number of titles available, forgetting the musical style that you listen, and do not really guide you to make your choice; because before deciding there are some criteria to take into account.
You wonder why I write this article; simply because I worked on the communication of some music software publishers in France like IK Multimedia, Cubase VST … and some hardware manufacturers like Aerielle Technologies, Audio Design Expert and many others. Before each launch I tested all streaming platforms on these products; to check the quality of the product; compatibility with the App of the brand and many other things. And I realized that even if some streaming platform seemed to offer the same thing; the musical styles could be very different and the audio quality too! Is it useful having a choice of 40 or 50 million titles if what you like to listen is not available?
Here are the 3 important criteria for me before choosing your streaming platform:
- What type of device do you listen to your music on and where do you listen?
- What style of music do you listen to?
- Are you looking for a service that is just for you or for the whole family?
Considering these 3 criteria; I will make a small debriefing on each streaming platform and not to be jealous I present them in alphabetical order!
Amazon Music Unlimited : similar offer based on Spotify & Deezer
This is the last comer of the band and of course this streaming platform has arrived directly with millions of titles and at the same price as its competitors. The audio quality is close to the MP3; so if you have a speaker that handles Audio files in High Resolution, forget about this service. I test it recently because I took advantage of the free trial offer to 30 days. Regarding the musical style side, the platform covers everything at the same level, much like Spotify. The positive side: you can add the titles you already have on your playlists. But very sincerely the recommendations are very messy, the interface is heavy, … I advise you to get an idea by yourself with the free offer; but personally, I would wait for them to evolve the platform before taking a subscription. Prime subscribers have benefited from an attractive preferential rate, but on a limited selection of titles. The actual “unlimited” offer is at 9.99 euros / month like the competitors.
Apple Music, the most disappointing platform still ranked No. 2 in numbers of users!
Just like for Amazon Music, if you are equipped with High Fidelity speakers you can switch to the following streaming platform. Launched with great communication and advertising, Apple’s service remains disappointing compared to what they are able to do! Basic audio quality, like Amazon Music Unlimited. With a paid option at 24.99 Euros per year to convert the files you already have in 256-bit AAC format. While you can convert these same files with freeware! The real highlight of Apple Music is its playlists that are made by real human beings and the perfect interconnection with Shazam which was bought by Apple beginning of 2018. Of course, if you are equipped with an iPhone, a Mac; you will think that Apple Music is the best choice; but like Amazon Music it’s a basic platform that covers all musical styles. When used, the interface is more intuitive than Amazon’s; but without any special interest except perhaps the attractive price at 4.99 euros per month for students. Feel free to take advantage of 3 months of free trial to get an idea.
Deezer : finally a service full of interests for the Audiophile and also French music lovers!
This is the first music streaming platform in this list that catches my attention! the company that developed Deezer is French; the number of streaming titles is almost at the same level as Spotify and if you like French or European music you will not be disappointed; it is the service that has the largest number of French artists to date! Audio quality side as a subscription offer it’s a nice surprise! Deezer kept his free offer from the beginning; certainly, with advertising and a random reading. But it’s free! Like its competitors they have an offer at 4.99 for students and also at 9.99 Euros per month with the ability to listen offline, and they have of course a family offer at 14.99 euros / month. Big plus for Audiophiles who have good audio equipment at home; Deezer offer a selection of high-fidelity titles in Flac format for 19.99 Euros / month. What a delight for the ears of music lovers who love French music & more!
Google Play Music, less interesting than Spotify or Apple Music
This streaming platform has no appeal to many people … The audio quality is basic, the proposed Playlists, even if they are adapted to your country, its much less interesting than those of Spotify or Apple. In fact, Google has a lag behind all competitors and they do not communicate on their number of subscribers! Of course, you can always test the service 30 days for free; but they have no offer for students and their rates are the same as those of their competitors. Personally, I tested and I would not go back soon.
Qobuz, the only streaming platform dedicated to crazy Jazz, Blues and Classic!
Like other platforms that try to offer a maximum of all styles, Qobuz has made a choice! Almost like a media they have a strong editorial line with the best selections Jazz, Blues, Classic that can be find on a streaming platform. And in addition, they also made the choice of Audio quality. This French service, you will understand, is the class! If you have good audio equipment and love these musical styles; Qobuz is for you! Of course, you can also discover selections, Electro, Rock, rap, made with care by the enthusiast’s people working in this company. At Qobuz we feel the feeling and the human … The opposite of the algorithms of other platforms.
Quality has a price of course; as with its competitors, the basic subscription is 9.99 euros; then we go to 19.99 for the Hi-Fi quality CD subscription and prices go up to 299,99 euros / year for unlimited high-resolution streaming! If you like jazz, blues or classical music, I strongly advise you to do the 30-day free trial to understand what Qobuz can offer to your ears!
SoundCloud, the temple of electro music, lounge and composers
I used SoundCloud for free for years; it is the most beautiful place to discover the new talents of electro, pop, rap and hip hop! Artists offer their new live. So, if you like to be at the forefront of what is done and you like these styles of music this platform is for you! Too bad it is no longer free! Finally, you will understand that you will find here what is not among others and it is also the largest collection of titles in the world. To get an idea, I recommend the free trial of 30 days and then the price will be 9.99 euros / month as its competitors. Regarding the Audio quality side, it is a basic one.
Spotify, the mastodon streaming platform of the gang and the most social!
Astonishing that Spotify does not offer uncompressed audio quality; because it’s still the pioneer of streaming services in the world! This is the mega jukebox hyper connected and compatible with all audio devices and smartphones … It connects with all social networks and you know in real time what your friends listen to or the next concert date of your favorite singer. It is to music streaming what Facebook is to social networks. Like Deezer they have a free offer with ads, we find the student offer at 4.99 and the basic offer at 9.99 and the family offer at 14.99 euros. It is certainly today the most user-friendly and complete platform in terms of musical catalog. Ideal for hyper-connected!
TIDAL, the streaming platform bought by J-Zay
Very honestly this is the only service I have not tested! Why ? Maybe because J-Zay tried a showdown with Spotify by removing his titles from the platform to return his jacket a few months later and put everything back on Spotify or just because this service arrived later than others and offers nothing more. As I am French I am making a note about the ugliest translation I have read on an App, worst that mine!. The future of TIDAL in France; I see it as Napster’s: to oblivion. For the most curious of you do not hesitate to try the free trial!
In conclusion what music streaming platform to choose?
For fans of Jazz, Blues or Classic the question does not even arise because Qobuz is obvious and the choice of the subscription will be based on your ear and the material you already have!
If you are very French music, you will move with ease to Deezer with the possibility of having a good audio quality.
If you are ultra-connected on social networks, like lots of different styles then you will opt for Spotify; unless you are audiophiles.
In terms of Audio quality, the best platform is definitely Qobuz and then you have Deezer; but you must have the Hi-Fi equipment capable of rendering it correctly! Personally, I use Qobuz Hi-Fi on a speaker Riva Audio Festival and it’s just bluffing … But outside I’m on Deezer free mode; at the same time when you listen to music in the subway you do not noticed anymore the advertisement! I wish you to make the right choice and do not hesitate to share your impressions 😉
Find my other tests or High-Tech articles in the IT section of my blog!