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I've been considering subscribing to a music service lately, but there are so many nowadays that I have honestly no idea how to decide. For those of you with experience in this area, what criteria would you recommend? what should I look for, other than the music itself?

I'm biased because I work for Google and dogfood Play Music, but for me it's a great combination of:

  * A free music locker you can upload your songs to
  * iTunes-like store, with non-DRM'ed files and offline support
  * Spotify-like subscription service, with offline support
  * Pandora-like radio stations, with the addition of "I'm Feeling Lucky" radio that adapts to your listening habits, and offline support :)
  * Songza curated playlists/stations
  * Great web and mobile apps
  * YouTube video integration (I don't really use that though)
  * Pretty decent discovery
What it lacks is Spotify-like social features: profiles, activity, etc.

edit: forgot the store.

> What it lacks is Spotify-like social features: profiles, activity, etc.

Please never add this. I don't want my radio to be a social network. The "profiles and activity" is explicitly why I don't use Spotify.

I agree with you on this. This is the reason I left Spotify. I pay to conveniently access quality music anytime, anywhere.

The social aspect doesn't make much sense with the plethora of streaming music service options available it seems anyway. We have services like Twitter and Facebook and Reddit for social and we have Google Music, Beats, Rdio, Spotify, and others for Music. My experience is that all my friends are each using their own music service, so unless everyone was using the same one it doesn't seem to make sense for the use case of sharing playlists or new music with friends.

Yet I really want that because I constantly have friends asking for new things to listen to, and want to check out what some other people are into. It's one of the few social features I get a lot of value from.

Social features are the primary thing I miss from rdio.com, but they have explicit "friending", otherwise you'd see nothing. I assume Google would use all their data to show you everything everyone is listening too and provide little control.

Google doesn't get social. I can't even share a photo from Google Photos onto Facebook that shows the actual photo; at best they'll share a link with a small thumbnail – at worst it prompts people to login to see it and shows nothing of value on FB. I get it...they're competitors...but the effort required to share an "Google Awesome" photo drives me away from sharing the good stuff they do do.

Can I listen to what I want when I want? I tried looking for particular artists in Play Music and all I get is "X Artist Radio. This will play songs by blah, blah, blah, X Artist, blah". I just want to listen to X Artist. Why is this so hard?

Personally, I look to integration. Does it work on the devices you want to use it on? Does it integrate with some other service you want to use it with?

From my experience, most of the large streaming services out there are roughly equivalent on music selection and sound quality, so all that matters is how I can use it, not what I can play on it.

If you have iOS, then wait 7 more days until Apple Music is coming out. My Spotify premium thing expired after 1 year now, so I have tried out all music services out there this month. My conclusion is that if Apple Music does not provide the integration I am seeking for (since I have an iPhone), I will just go back to Spotify. I am currently on the Google Play Music trial. It is pretty good, but I do not like the "Android" app on my iPhone. If you have an Android, I'd go with Google Play Music.

So your advice is to go with something that isn't out or proven in any way over a proven service because "I do not like the 'Android' app on my iPhone"?

I said to go with Spotify OR Apple music (if it is any good). I also said that Google Play music is fine, but not for me.

> "Android" app on my iPhone

How can you tell it's an "Android" app?

Well, Google here obviously put the same design onto all platforms when it comes to Google Play Music (Web,iPhone , Android). So the app on the iPhone reminds me very much of Lollipop (which I had right before I got my iPhone 6).

What "integration" are you seeking?

Mostly the one with my car. For example, in the car all my Itunes Radio channels show up. So I don't have to use my phone to select those channels. I wouldn't care as much if at least ONE of those millions of music apps would provide a landscape mode.

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