iTunes Radio still has a long way to go before it catches up with Pandora’s number of subscribers, but in an effort to keep up with increasing royalty costs, Pandora announced this morning that it’s bumping up the monthly subscription price for Pandora One.
Starting in May new subscribers will have to pay $4.99 per month if they want their music stream ad free, which is still cheaper than competitors like Spotify and Rdio (both $9.99 per month).
Apple’s alternative, iTunes Radio is ad-free with $24.99 annual iTunes Match subscription, but Pandora is deciding to just drop the annual subscription option altogether.
In 2001, Apple changed the way music was distributed with the arrival of iTunes, its online digital media store. Since that time, the digital age has evolved rapidly into an era where cassette mix tapes and compact discs are no more. As we enter an era in which the internet serves our every need, alongside digital distribution and the iTunes Store are an increasing number of on-demand music streaming services have become today’s most popular and possibly cost-effective means of accessing the equivalent of walking into your local music store and buying everything.
Unlike Pandora and iTunes Radio (which we’ll cover shortly in another column), on-demand streaming radio allows you to listen to any music in the service library as often as you like.
The competition between the unlimited all-you-can-stream music services is fiercer than ever before, and with the launch of Beats Music this past month, it has become even more difficult to pinpoint the most suitable music subscription for our needs.
However, after hours of research, a comparison of the seven on-demand services on offer (including Beats Music, Spotify, Rdio, Xbox Music, Rhapsody, Sony Music Unlimited, and Google Play Music–see our table below), and some hands-on testing, we’ve managed to narrow down the overwhelming choice to a select few that offer the best overall features and usability. So let’s crack on with the results, shall we?
Rdio users can now ditch the desktop entirely, thanks to an update which brings playlist editing and reviews to the iOS version of the app. No more booting up that dusty old Mac just to remove an accidentally-added song from your “awesomest songs evah” list.
Chances are you’ve already picked your preferred music streaming service by now, but you’ll have another to consider next year when French startup Deezer make its debut in the United States.
The company has avoided the U.S. up until now, citing too much competition, with Spotify, Rdio, Google Play Music All Access, and many others already offering subscription-based music streaming services there. But having already amassed over 5 million paying customers in 185 countries worldwide, it’s ready to do battle with the big guns.
Rdio promised us back in September that recommendations were on their way, and you’ll find them now inside the app’s latest iOS update. The release also delivers a redesigned stations player, various user interface improvements, and some bug fixes.
Music streaming service Deezer has today announced that it now has more than 5 million paid subscribers worldwide, and it’s launching a new native Mac app that will improve the Deezer experience on your desktop. The app will sync with your existing iTunes library, and it will allow you to store music locally for offline access.
I remember when my mother used to drive around with a relatively new invention back in my childhood: a notepad that was use a suction cup mechanism to stick to the windshield of the car. She was a realtor, so she liked to have something easily accessible so she could make notes without having to fumble for a piece of paper and pen (which was also attached to the mechanism).
While this device wouldn’t have been practical for me (I’m left-handed), I’ve found in recent years that I am using my iPhone in my car for things like its GPS capabilities, to stream Rdio through my car stereo, and have my task manager at the ready for when I’m running errands. That’s why the GripGo Universal Car Mount is really appealing to me – and Cult of Mac Deals is currently offering it for just $13.99.
I don’t know about you, but I love Control Center in iOS 7. I don’t know how I managed without it before (or why it took Apple so long to introduce it). And I’d love to see a similar feature brought to the Mac that would allow me to control my music, adjust the brightness of my display, and toggle things like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for Apple to create it, because it’s already here, thanks to Controls+ for Mac.
Samsung has today unveiled Shape M7, a $400 wireless speaker that hopes to compete with the Sonos. It connects to your smartphone, tablet, or computer via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or NFC, and there’s a handy companion app that makes setup easy on Android and iOS devices.