Spotify, Tidal or Apple Music: Which streaming service is for you?

Jay Z has pulled some of his music from Spotify...

Jay Z has pulled some of his music from Spotify. Fans will now have to use Tidal to listen to the artist and businessman, whose real name is Shawn Carter. While this makes business sense for Carter, what does it mean for us, the consumer?

In short, it means another headache. 

Already, fans are having to compromise on what they listen to and when because of artists deals and subscribers perks. There is no question but that the music industry is struggling to exist in the digital age. Rather than arriving at a solution, however, it seems we the consumer are being punished.

At this moment in time, there is no one streaming service that will offer me - a consumer with a mixed taste in music - exactly what I want. As a result, I pay €10 a month to Spotify, €10 a month to Apple Music and also have certain albums saved to my phone, synced on iTunes. I also purchased Beyonce’s Lemonade from the iTunes store because it’s not available to stream, despite paying for a monthly account. 

It is, for want of a better phrase, a pain in the face.

Having used Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal over the last few months, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no perfect music management system out there. If you have suggestions, however, please do let me know!

Spotify - €9.99 / month

Spotify was the first service I subscribed to way back in 2013. I still pay €10 a month and really like the service overall. The user interface is nice to navigate through and creating playlists could not be easier. Some of the “Made For You” playlists can be good, but I’ve found them to be rather hit and miss.

All in all, it's a pleasant experience and remains my favourite of the streaming services for now. 

While Spotify does not have many 'exclusive' deals with artists, it was recently announced that under the new agreement, Spotify will restrict new albums from Universal artists to premium subscribers for up to two weeks.

Apple Music - €9.99

Apple is a giant in every way. The company evolved from a product manufacturer to a key player in the music industry. iTunes has grown to be more than just a music library, it's now a store and the company also has its streaming component, Apple Music. 

Apple has rocked the boat a number of times and has a number of 'exclusives' including Taylor Swift's 1989 album. Swift has also appeared in ads for the company, as has Drake. 

From a user's point of view, the interface looks nice but can be quite slow to react. I often find there is a 2 or 3 second lag from when I tap on a song to when it begins to play. This is even when I'm in a 4G area or on strong wifi.  

The stand-out feature of Apple Music for me is the recommended playlists within the 'For You' section. From new music to throwback playlists, I'm never bored!

Tidal - €9.99

After a solid 23 minutes of looking, I finally figured out how to cancel my Tidal account last year. Everything about the service annoyed me from the outset. Do you remember the launch party? 

While I didn't like the look of it from the outset, I subscribed to ensure I was giving it a fair chance. It's important to note that the interface is quite nice, but I found it is not as intuitive as Spotify and Apple Music. This is how the web browser looks. 

Tidal has a number of exclusive deals with the likes of Jay Z, Beyonce and Kanye, all of whom own a part of the company. They offer a premium subscription, which just gets rid of the ads but also provides a HiFI option. This is €10 more expensive and streams the music in a higher quality. 

To my humble ears, I did not hear an astounding difference that warrants €20 a month.