A Brief Guide To Music Streaming – Naman Kumar

Today, music is everywhere. It is insanely more accessible and as a result, people listen to it all the time. The single most revolutionary change in how we listen to music is that of streaming. You can now simply search for what you want to listen to, and listen to it. It’s different from when you had to go out and buy those little round flat doughnuts called CDs to listen to anything. One can listen to anything, at any time, for free.

But this article is about the various music streaming services and which one you should try. I am going to focus on only 5 apps – Google Play Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, and Saavn.

Disclaimer: This article gives more focus to English music, since that is what I listen to most of the time.

1. Google Play Music

Until recently, all you could do on Google Play Music is buy music on the store and then listen to it, kinda like getting those CDs but online. But Google released an update last year and turned Play Music into a streaming service as well. Now, there is a free version but all you can do on it is listen to some Radio and AI generated playlists. So, the Rs. 99 subscription to Play Music is the only option that gives you access to play a specific song or album. But it is worth it, since Google’s vast song library becomes available to you for streaming to you at any time, and of course, you can save songs offline. Not only this, but Google has a feature where you can upload songs to it, in case there is some song that you can’t find on Play Music. I bought the subscription this month to try it out, and am pretty impressed. The one reason that convinced me to buy a subscription is the fact that Google Assistant has an integration with Play Music, so you can ask it to play any song or album or playlist or artist and sure enough, it starts to play right away. Neat.

2. Spotify

Spotify is the king of streaming in many countries. Unfortunately, it does not natively support India yet. However, using a simple VPN like TunnelBear, you can make an account on it and stream to India! Currently, if I am online (which I am almost all the time), Spotify is my personal favourite in streaming. The biggest selling point and advantage to this one over the other streaming platforms is the huge amount of curated playlists. Spotify playlists are available to suit any mood. There’s a playlist for everyone if you are into English music, or other instrumental forms too. Google Assistant has Spotify integrated as well, which is awesome. But of course, getting a premium account in India is both difficult and expensive, since you will be paying in dollars so I wouldn’t recommend that. However, Spotify is a pretty complete platform in itself, in the free version as well.

3. SoundCloud

The only problem I have with SoundCloud is the lack of original music. If you want remixes and music from independent artists, SoundCloud is the place to go. But if you listen to big names and record artists, you won’t find much to stream on SoundCloud. Otherwise, SoundCloud is a great platform to explore new sounds, find free copyright free music for your video projects and similar.

4. Saavn

For people who listen to Hindi music, this is the place to go. It is the best platform for streaming Hindi music and has the best Hindi playlists and widest song library. It also has English music, and is pretty good for that, but I wouldn’t recommend the playlist curation much after using others like Spotify for the particular language. Other than that, it also has a wide variety of Indian languages to stream music from. Overall, great platform. Also, the free version is not much at Rs. 99 per month (same as Play Music), and also has the offline song feature.

5. YouTube

I do not know why, but it appears this is the single most popular streaming service. I mean, I think its because its already available to everyone, but to purely listen to music, I wouldn’t recommend it. First, streaming on YouTube means you are also streaming the music video which requires a lot more data usage than just music, and second, if you close your phone or the app, the music will stop playing. Just these two reasons make it a mess to stream music on this. Otherwise, if you want to watch videos while streaming your music, sure, use YouTube. But other than that, I really couldn’t recommend it for this purpose.

So which one?

It depends on preference. With so many great platforms, it’s hard to crown one. But if I really did, I would crown Spotify. Again, its because I have an active internet connection almost all the time, and the playlist curation is amazing. Otherwise, if you want to listen to music on the go and want offline, get a Play Music subscription. Hindi listeners who want good playlists should go right to Saavn. And those are the best three for streaming in India.

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