iOS Apps for Music

Last week I made a post on apps for new iOS users.  Today I am going to talk about some music apps for your iOS device.

Pandora (Free*)


I absolutely love Pandora.  It is always one of my first apps I download to a new device.  It is   easy to set up, very customizable, and there is a very large music catalog.  You can create your own radio stations based on your favorite artist or choose from pre-programmed stations.  If you like a song that is playing you can give it a thumbs up to like it or a thumbs down to dislike it.  By liking a song you are providing Pandora feedback on your music preferences.  The more songs you like the better Pandora will be at playing similar songs by different artists.  The same applies for songs that you dislike.  The more songs that you dislike the more likely you are to hear music you enjoy.  While your station is playing you can view the album artwork, lyrics, a small biography of the artist, make a new station from the song currently playing and more.  Pandora also allows you to be social with your music by sharing with your Facebook friends.    As you may have noticed above I put an asterisk next to free.  The standard app is free.  With that there are commercials and you are limited on how many songs you can skip.  The premium subscription is $3.99 a month and removes the advertisements, allows higher quality music, and a desktop app(the free account only allows web browser access in addition the your mobile app.)  The credit card linked to iTunes will be charged monthly so you only need to manage it when you want to cancel or when your credit card expires.  You can also upgrade your account from Pandora’s web site.  You can save about $11 this way($36.00/ year vs $48.00 with monthly subscription).   You can also gift a 1 year subscription with a card from retailers. Image Source

iTunes Match ($25.00/Year)

iTunes MatchApple made iTunes Match available last year.  Here is a quick description from Apple’s website:

iTunes determines which songs in your collection are available in the iTunes Store. Any music with a match is automatically added to iCloud for you to listen to anytime, on any device. Since there are more than 26 million songs in the iTunes Store, chances are your music is already in iCloud.3 And for the few songs that aren’t, iTunes uploads what it can’t match (which is much faster than uploading your entire music library). Even better, all the music iTunes matches plays back from iCloud at 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free quality — even if your original copy was of lower quality.

I have had the service since it launched and I love it.  All of the music I ripped years ago at low quality is now available at a hi quality and I can access it anywhere.  Only the songs in your library that are also available in iTunes will be matched.  The other songs are uploaded to iCloud and are available for playback.  The music that is stored in iCloud is not counted against your iCloud storage.  That is fantastic for people with large music libraries.  I have over 13,000 songs and being able to store them in iCloud frees up so much valuable HD space.  Being able to have access to my music anywhere is great.  All of my playlists are available, any ratings I give to a song on my iPhone show up in iTunes automagicly.  One of the differences of this service vs Pandora is that you are not fully streaming your music.  As the song plays it is being stored locally on your phone.  This is both good and bad.  The good: your playlist will be there so if you don’t have a data connection you are safe.  The bad:  you will loose valuable space on your device.  If you have a 64GB device then you don’t have to worry.  If however you only have an 8GB or 16GB device you may fill it up quickly with your music.  Also, unlike Pandora, you can only listen to your music.  You can not discover new music with iTunes Match the way you can with Pandora/Spotify.  For only $25.00/yr this a great option.

Spotify (Free/$4.99/$9.99)


Spotify is a combination of Pandora Radio and iTunes Match.  You can upload your music and discover new music.  Spotify is very social about your music.  You can connect to Facebook and share your music with your friends and see what they are listening to.  As you can see above there are 3 price points.  The free service only allows desktop listening with commercials.  The unlimited service gives you commercial free listening, again desktop/laptop only.  Their premium service is where your mobile devices come in to play.  You can also download music for off line listening.  Here is a chart I am borrowing from showing the differences in memberships:

Spotify Membership Features
Feature Spotify Free Spotify Unlimited Spotify Premium
Price Free $4.99/month $60/year $9.99/month $120/year
Millions of tracks available instantly Y Y Y
Play and organize your own MP3s Y Y Y
Spotify Social Y Y Y
Play local files on your cellphone Y Y Y
No time limits N Y Y
Take your music abroad N Y Y
Spotify Radio mode N Y Y
No advertising N Y Y
Offline mode on your computer N N Y
Offline mode on your cellphone N N Y
Exclusive content N N Y
Enhanced sound quality N N Y
Play Spotify through multi-room music systems N N Y


Amazon Cloud Player (Free*)

Amazon Cloud player is very similar to iTunes match with a few differences.  Amazon gives users a free option versus iTunes Match which only has a paid option.  Amazon’s free option allows users to scan and match 250 songs.  The Amazon Cloud player also allows for web based streaming of your music, something iTunes Match does not.  There is also an app for the Android OS if that is your platform choice.  The last major difference is song storage.  iTunes Match allows for 25,000 songs to be stored in the cloud.  Amazon allows for 250,000 songs to be stored.  That is a crazy amount of music.  The cost for the premium version is $24.99, same as iTunes Match.

These are my choices for music apps for your iOS device.  I primarily use Pandora and iTunes Match for my needs.  Everyone is different.  Make your choice on what suits you best, not what others are forcing at you.  Tell me what your likes/dislikes are about these services. Is there a different service you use?  If so tell me why in the comments.


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