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Music Subscription Services

  04/10/12 13:11, by , Categories: Music

I decided to go legit with my excessive music consumption habit. No longer downloading willy-nilly with disregard for the pockets of musicians, I set out to find a streaming service to fit my needs. I wanted access to a large collection of high quality music from wherever: work, home, car, friend’s house, etc. I also wanted Last.fm integration, so I could still keep track of my listening habits/history.

I tried three different services for about a week and a half. These are my findings.

Rhapsody

Pros:

  • No software download required. (Download available for PCs.)
  • Gapless playback.
  • Has all but the first Project 86 album.
  • New releases are available earlier.
  • Allows storage on PC.

Cons:

  • Limits your mobile devices to 1 or 3 (based on service tier).
  • No Last.fm support, though there are 3rd party apps for scrobbling from the Rhapsody RSS feed.
  • Can’t download music to microSD card, must use internal phone storage.

MOG

Pros:

  • No software download required. (Download available for PCs/Macs.)
  • Integrates with Last.fm.
  • 320 kbps streaming and downloads.
  • Unlimited number of mobile devices.
  • Extremely easy to build a library of downloaded music on mobile devices.

Cons:

  • Streams are not pre-cached, so there is no gapless playback for web or PC and returning from a paused state isn’t instantaneous in the web player.
  • Doesn’t display time remaining for currently playing song.
  • Android app is not optimized for tablets. Cannot rotate display to landscape mode.
  • Doesn’t have first three Project 86 albums.
  • Can’t download music to microSD card, must use internal phone storage.
  • Can’t download music to PC.

Spotify

Pros:

  • Really slick Last.fm integration.
  • Gapless playback.
  • Has all but the first Project 86 album.
  • Allows storage on microSD card.
  • Allows storage on PC.

Cons:

  • Requires software download.
  • Wants to put itself on your Facebook timeline. Two options: Grant Access or Log Out. I clicked the X.
  • Started playing a song, then clicked “Play Queue” and it crashed. Might be related to not granting access to Facebook.
  • To make music available offline, you have to create a playlist and then edit the playlist to be available in offline mode. In MOG, you can just select a song, album or artist and add it to your download library.
  • 160 kbps streaming.

The Winner

I ended up going with MOG. Rhapsody’s lack of Last.fm support and device limit dissuaded me from using their service. Spotify’s playlist-centric functionality made them unpalatable for me. I like listening to full albums straight through; I only create playlists when I want to share a variety of music with others.

MOG gives me high-quality music that I can manage and track. There are a host of things I would like to change about the service, but the development team seems to be active and always looking to improve. It fits my needs the best and, hopefully, it will only get better.

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