For $10 a month you can stream over 15 millions songs from Spotify on your smartphone. It’s easily one of the most popular, and as I’ve somewhat lamented before, beloved all you can eat music services, even though Rhapsody has offered a comparable service for many more years. Somewhat recently, Spotify introduced their radio feature, which is free to anyone, even on a mobile device. One of the perks of being a paying member, is that you can like songs while listening to Spotify’s radio, and they’re saved as individual tracks for playback at a later time, at your choosing no less. Alternatively, there is also Pandora, the free option. However, you can’t stream individual tracks, and their library would seem to be a fair bit more limited. Moreover, you’ll need to punch in tracks, genres, or artists to create stations, which still leaves some of the grunt work to you.
Creating somewhat of an intersection between the two aforementioned services is a new radio app called Double Twist. It’s an Android only app (suck it iOS owners) and while it itself is free, the service, called Magic Radio, costs $4 a month. You won’t be able to playback an individual track of your choosing much like Spotify, but they’re promising a much vaster catalog than Pandora and a set of stations that are automatically tailored to your taste. How? By syncing the app with your iTunes account, which reads your existing songs, and then builds a set of stations based on your artist and song propensity. Sorry, it won’t put your tunes to the cloud, at least not yet (fingers crossed).
There are no ads, 13 million songs in their library, and it is tunable, meaning you can increase the tempo of music being played back (not the music itself), along with being able to punch in words that help further tailor your stations. I don’t know at what rate or quality the audio streams, but it has to be above 128kbps, but is likely NOT 320kbps – probably more like 160kpbs (Spotify’s middle tier of service). If it is, that’s hardly an acceptable level of playback, at least in my opinion, but then again it is just $4 a month, and at that price it’s less than half the cost of Spotify’s top-tier service, but only a dollar less than their middle service, which isn’t compatible with a smartphone. So there are clearly give and takes, and needless to say a wide variety of options out there when it comes to streaming music.