Best Mobile Streaming Apps

There are many brilliant mobile streaming apps around at the moment and instead of listing them from best to worst, it is probably more prudent to explore the different qualities of them. From the huge streaming titans, to the lesser known up-and-comers, mobile phone retailer Smartphone Company have taken the time to look into apps like Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and Tidal and speak to certain influencers about their opinions on each.

Spotify falls at the top of this list mostly because of longevity but also popularity, it’s probably hard to be completely objective considering it is one of the most widely used mobile streaming services since its launch in 2008. Aside from the fact that Spotify is available for free, granted you will get a few nasty adds and won’t be able to pick and choose a song in an artist’s catalogue, you can sign up for only £10 a month and with that you’ll have access to over 30 million tracks. It’s incredibly easy to navigate and even simpler to stream an entire back catalogue, the whole thing seems a lot more mature than its competitors.

Tech lover Edward Kiledjian says “The only real independent choice is Spotify. Many like Spotify because it was the first mainstream streaming music provider and therefore they have been using it for a while. Many have invested in custom playlists and aren’t willing to give them up. Spotify seems to have the best music recommendation engine so far and therefore is a nice independent choice for many.”

By the way Apple Music was introduced, you would have thought the entire industry was about to change. Like many of the Apple products out there, a great deal of hype and anticipation surrounded the new streaming service, but once it arrived it left much to be desired. It was less easy to use than Spotify, which most most of those that trialled the streaming service had moved from. However, like with everything we’ve come to know and love with Apple, it has human connection and seamlessness right on the nose.

One of the only major plusses of Apple music, as Edward Kiledjian points out is if you already own a whole host of their other products. “If you are in the Apple ecosystem only, you may be better served with Apple music because it is deeply integrated with IOS 9. You can use Siri to find and play music. If you have Apple Music, Siri gains additional capabilities to provide music related information (that Apple turns off if you are not a subscriber). We know Apple Music will come to Android (hopefully this year) but again if you are on an Android device, your voice assistant (Google Now) will not interact with it.”

Tidal gained a lot of media attention at it’s release, probably because of the artists behind it. Coming from the mogal that is Jay-Z, it obviously had a whole host of famous backing it, making it front page news. Having said this, Tidal has one huge thing going for it: quality. Tidal is one of the only mobile streaming services that offers over 30 million tracks in FLAC rather than other low-fi streaming options that are out there, a huge plus for any audio lover. If you’ve got the kind of set-up that would make Kanye West jealous than Tidal is probably for you.

Timothy J. Trudeau CEO of Syntax Creative says “Publicity and co-signing are a wonderful gift for a brand or service! However, at the end of the day, Tidal will have to prove itself as a digital service provider (DSP) first and foremost. Today’s music consumer is savvy and is less impressed with celebrities. They want to know how something works (or doesn’t). The angle of how or what an artist is getting paid is definitely a factor, but I think it’s not as much of a factor as other artists are hoping for. The consumer is going to vote for which service works the best for their consumption needs. The DSPs that understands this are the ones that will be around for the long haul.”

Strangely (or maybe not strangely at all), Google Play feels almost like the type of streaming service that Apple should have come out with. Although the whole operation is minimalistic and slick it comes up short on enough things that don’t really tempt you away from Spotify, that is to say, it does nothing that the old favourite doesn’t do already and for the same price an Apple user definitely wouldn’t make the swap. Having said that, it still does have a captive audience that stay true to the app.

Jason Bauman, previous Android Central writer and an ‘everyday’ user with a lot of interest in the mobile space says that he prefers “Google Play Music for one feature above all others: the ‘I’m feeling lucky’ button. This will play a song that the search engine thinks I’ll enjoy, based off of what I streamed in the past. While it’s not always a song I’ll appreciate at that moment, in most cases it’s something that I admit is worth listening to. The other thing I like about this app (compared to something like spotify) is how easy it is to ‘pin’ an album for offline playback, and how you can see what you have available locally by simply toggling a slider in the settings menu. Finally, I find that creating playlists on Google Play Music is easier than it was on Spotify and sharing them with my friends is built in.”

Amazon Prime know what they’re doing and how to cash in on an already captive audience and although it has a huge range of music option, is it really worth switching from an already trusted streaming service? Many would argue that it is. If you’re interested in Prime Instant Video, Amazon’s alternative to Netflix, it’s worth subscribing for alone. You’ll not only get the next day delivery service but you’ll get a great deal of music plus the video feature

Andrew Tropeano, host of NewsWatch says, “If you have an amazon prime membership you have access to the new services’ million plus songs for free. You can listen to music on any mobile device, including your Amazon Echo smart speaker, and save songs or playlists for offline listening. It’s ad free and can get free digital versions of the music you’ve already purchased on Amazon — an underrated plus.”

StereoCast is slightly different from those listed above. Taking a spin on traditional streaming services, it offers something a little different and special to those that use the app; the unique opportunity to engage with live music and feel as though you were there. The app seems to bridge the gap between live music and mobile technology to successfully wedge itself into a gaping gap in the market.

A spokesperson for the company told Smartphone Company, “backed by music industry legend Charles Koppleman, the app allows users to purchase high-definition recordings of the live music they just experienced at a concert/performance and allows them to be streamed through the app. So, for example, when Taylor Swift brings on musical guest Mick Jagger for a once in a lifetime performance or when Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton brought down the house at the CMAs, concert-goers can purchase the recording of what they just heard straight from the soundboard to be relived as a digital souvenir forever on their music stream.”