I dream of streaming: Music subscription services in Australia

Need some tunes? Take a look at Australia’s music streaming channels.

Along with so many things in our lives, the way we consume music has changed over recent years thanks to technology. 

From record players to Walkmans, Walkmans to Discmans and then for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it period of time, minidisc players, music listening technology has gotten increasingly pocket sized, convenient, and has seriously increased the number of tracks you can haul around with you.

If you’re a fan of pumping the tunes on your smartphone, console or computer while you work, commute or clean, these are some of your options for endless listening in Australia.  

Apple Music 

Image courtesy: Apple

Following on from the success of iTunes, which was a catalyst for moving customers from physical albums to digital downloads, Apple Music is a fairly recent addition to the ranks of music streaming channels.

According to Apple, when you’re a member, Apple Music sits on your device alongside the music you already own. The service then recommends songs, artists and albums, suggesting the content it thinks you might like.

And with a library of 30 million tracks, there is bound to be something!

Right now, if you have an Apple device, you can trial the service free for three months, after which the cost is $11.99 a month.

Google Play Music

Image courtesy: Google Play Music on the Google Play store

Google Play Music currently costs $11.99 per month after a 30 day free trial.

As well as having a library of over 30 million songs, this service lets you import up to 50,000 of your own tracks and listen to them at home, at work, at play and while travelling in-between. It’s ad-free and works on your Apple or Android devices.

Google Play Music makes recommendations based on your listening preferences and allows you to custom make your own radio stations. You can also download songs to listen to when you’re not online – handy for the times you want to listen but don’t have a lot of data left for the month.

Spotify 

Image courtesy: Spotify

Spotify has over 70 million users around the world. It’s free if you are ok being served with ads, but plenty of people choose to access the premium platform, which incurs a subscription fee of $11.99 a month. Paying also enables you to listen offline, access HD audio, and lets you use more playback functions on your mobile device.

Accessing Spotify will also put millions of songs at your fingertips. The system allows you to create playlists, view the latest charts and check out new releases.

You can access Spotify through your phone, desktop computer, gaming console or via some internet connected televisions. If you want to be social with your music consumption, you can share your favourite playlists and see what your friends are listening to.

iHeartRadio 

Image courtesy: iHeartRadio on the Google Play store

iHeart Radio is a free option, and is a little different because it lets you listen to your favourite radio stations through an app instead of tuning your car radio.

The reason it is free is that you will get all the ad breaks and news bulletins – but hey, you’ll still be able to call in to win competitions in real time, and you’ll benefit from regular traffic updates.

For those that prefer a little more control, iHeartRadio also lets you create your own custom radio station based on your preferred singers.

Tidal 

Image courtesy: TIDAL on the Google Play store

Tidal, owned by Hip Hop mogul Jay Z, bills itself as a way for artists to ‘take back’ the music industry. The service is paid-only and claims to provide access to over 40 million songs.

Its recent success is likely due to artists like Kanye and Rihanna initially releasing their music exclusively to the platform.

The service also promises exclusive concert access for users – an enticing idea for fans who like to watch live music. At a cost of $11.99 per month, for standard definition music, or $23.99 per month for Lossless High Fidelity sound quality, Tidal has an emphasis on surfacing the works of up and coming artist and claims it will pay higher royalties than its competitors.

Which music streaming service do you choose? 

Each of these music streaming services has a vast catalogue and the paid ones are a similar cost to each other if you want to go ad-free.

If you do have a particular taste in music, make sure you find a provider that includes the artists you like before you sign on, although many do have a free trial period, in which case you can try before you buy.

Also take a look at the different playlist options, the ability to add different devices and family members to the same account and check out the level of social interaction if you enjoy sharing your music choices with friends.

You can even hunt around a little further and find anything we left off our list, like Deezer or Pandora. At the end of the day the choice is yours based on the music you want to listen to, how much you wish to pay and which extra features (mobile use, offline listening, etc.) suit your lifestyle.

Check your address to see if you can sign up to the nbn™ network, and join in on the music streaming revolution.