I've spent more time with Xbox Music, and it is improving; the multi-platform support is much better. However, there are some nagging issues that annoyed me; namely:
1. The archaic system for managing devices associated with the subscription - can only add and remove one device every 30 days...why do rules like that still exist in 2014, when other services allow instant authorization & deauthorization?
2. Also, not terribly impressed by their Radio functionality. In my experience it was a pretty basic, "Artist X is part of Genre Y, play songs from Genre Y artists" mix, which throws up some questionable suggestions (eg, if I want to listen to Public Enemy & similar artists, I am not expecting to hear a 'Damn, that butt so fine' song in the mix).
Songza continues to impress me, I really like the selection of playlists that they offer and their quality. Great multi-platform support too. Very few ads. The only real concern I have is that it seems totally unsustainable, and after I grow to totally rely on it then it will be acquired or turned into something terrible.
Beats Music - I have only tried this out in the past few days, following the rumors then confirmed news of the acquisition by Apple; I wanted to make a point of trying it out before (if) Apple starts to make changes to the experience.
I like the interface, it's quick and smooth and works well on iOS and Windows Phone (no Android devices on hand at the moment). As far as their curated playlists go, I think they are a bit hit & miss; I think that the "intro to Artist..." playlists are interesting career spanning highlight lists, including big hits and deeper tracks. Not as excited about their "best of X Genre" lists; and the suggestions for new artists based on artists that I like are pretty stale.
Eg, If you like Chemical Brothers, do you like Fatboy Slim, Moby and/or Royksopp? (Sure I like them fine...how about some suggestions from this decade as well?)
Haven't tried much of the "the sentence" feature, which seems like a fun idea, though it's a little too futzy for me to bother configuring every detail based on my mood.
I think Songza's playlists are a little more inspired and their suggestions based on mood are easier to use.
I was an Rdio subscriber for a while, dropped that and used Xbox music for a time via an annual pass that I never bothered to renew.
At present, I'm bouncing between the free versions of Rdio, Xbox Music, Spotify, Songza, iTunes Radio, and Pandora.
Wouldn't mind subscribing again to one service to reduce ads, but on the other hand, these days I rarely have long portions of time just to listen to music (even in the backgroud).
I have used iOS, Windows Phone, and Android devices. Presently back to using an iPhone.
Wondering what your thoughts are about this comparison, which is based on my experience & opinions...
- I like the looks of the interface the best and find it most intuitive
- Social integration is useful & helpful
- The iOS and Android apps (when I used them) were clean and fairly reliable
- Works super well in the browser (convenient if you switch machines a lot)
- Family plan pricing is nice
- sign-in DRM gets out of the way
- Occasional catalog gaps, though nothing that bothers me too much
- Hiccups with offline mode on iOS and Android app from time to time
I've never tried the Windows Phone app but judging from reviews, the app has been sadly neglected and experience is frustrating.
- Huge catalog
- Momentum - interesting apps provided as part of the service
- Large user base
- FREE mobile streaming! Yay!
- I like the radio stations
- Best experience on desktop app
- Browser streaming support is a little glitchy
- iOS app performance can be glitchy
- Windows phone app performance & features are lacking
- Social integration can be a little obnoxious
- A few weird UI choices (what is the point of starring something?)
- I don't like having a messaging app & an inbox to manage inside my music app
- Huge catalog
- Nice integration with Windows OS
- Cloud Sync your collection + streaming
- Still works with my Zune HD!
- It's frequently possible to get a deal on a yearly subscription; even so $99/year is a pretty good deal.
- iOS and Android apps are lacking
- Desktop client UI evolves way too slowly; I think they prioritized form over function...it's good enough for streaming one album but not optimized for playlists.
- Quirky UI on windows phone (why are some options only available in one view vs another??)
- Sign-in rules are annoying; limited to only 4 devices
- Radio station playlists are pretty limited & repetitive.
- The suggested & curated playlists are really good - usually enough for my needs when I'm at work and need something to listen to or work to
- Windows Phone app seems to only let me log in with facebook, not my user name + ID (I'd really rather NOT log in with facebook credentials if the option is given)
- Pretty decent suggestions based on the artists I like
- I don't like the ads
- I do not always have an iDevice convenient to use this
- Not very useful when I'm driving in the car
- Clean & simple
- Good if I'm really feeling like one particular artist/style
- I don't always like/agree with the suggested music mixed in
- I don't like limited skips and the ads
I haven't tried yet (though again, with all of the above, I'm not really hurting for options here):
- Google Music