TIME FindTheBest

By the Numbers: The Streaming Music War (and Who’s Winning)

Brand awareness and listener penetration for 102 music services reveals the top 10 options.

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A dozen years ago, there were several different ways to get new music, each about as popular as the next. You could keep buying individual CDs, sign up for a CD delivery service, buy tracks one at a time through iTunes, or download huge chunks of music through user-friendly services like Napster — sites that were so easy to use it barely felt like you were doing anything wrong. They all seemed like perfectly acceptable methods; it was simply a matter of which style you preferred.

Fast-forward to 2014, however, and most people are listening the same way: through streaming music services. Yes, illegal music-downloading is still rampant, but as far as legal music-listening goes, streaming services are the new fad. Even Apple—whose pay-per-song iTunes once seemed like the future—has doubled-down on iTunes Radio, its music-streaming Pandora competitor. So just how widespread is the trend?

At FindTheBest, we counted a total of 102 separate services (counting basic and premium versions separately) that let you stream music (typically) from $0 – $10 per month. If you like, you can distinguish between on-demand services (like Spotify) that let you pick each song, and radio services (like Pandora) that choose songs for you, but the overall concept is similar: unlimited music for a low monthly fee.

So how do you stand out in a field with 101 similar-to-identical competitors? It comes down to brand. We looked at brand awareness and listener penetration from a 2014 Edison Research study to determine which services are on consumers’ minds…and which aren’t. We’ll count down the top 10 services based on consumer awareness, and comment on the strengths and weaknesses for each.

For a comparison of the specific features and pricing for 13 of the most popular services, see the earlier TIME story here. To research all 102 services we reviewed, visit the music streaming topic on FindTheBest.

Note: YouTube, VEVO (music videos) and SoundCloud (a social sound creation and sharing platform) each boast over 200 million users, but none are strictly music streaming services, so you won’t see them in this countdown.

10. Last.fm

Awareness: 8% (poor)

Listening percentage*: Below 2% (very poor)

*”Listening percentage” is the percentage of people polled who have actually listened to the service.

Type: Hybrid on-demand and radio service

The gist: More of a community than a standalone service, Last.fm lets you build a profile based on your musical tastes, then helps you find new music tailored to your preferences.

What’s working: Integration with other services. Over the past six months, Last.fm has integrated with Spotify, YouTube, and VEVO, resulting in tons of new content and a giant catalog of tracks.

What’s not: Awareness and penetration. Last.fm started in 2002, back when social profile-based sites were still the hottest thing on the Internet. Today, people want plug-and-play solutions that suggest great tracks instantaneously, not (yet another) online community that takes weeks of ramp-up to really work. Fewer than 1 in 10 people know the site exists, and fewer than 1 in 20 have actually bothered to try it.

9. TuneIn Radio

Awareness: 10% (poor)

Listening percentage: 2% (poor)

Type: Radio

The gist: TuneIn Radio provides a massive, online database of radio stations and podcasts, going well beyond music into sports, news and talk. By our estimates, it’s also got one of the highest user bases on our list—with 50 million users, it ranks #5 out of the 102 services we reviewed.

What’s working: Number of users. Due to a massive selection (100,000+) of stations, TuneIn Radio has plenty of customers.

What’s not: Precise music selection. TuneIn Radio has more stations than you can ever listen to, but it lacks the smart, custom-style stations popularized by Pandora. With TuneIn, you’re less likely to find the perfect station, and more likely to bounce around.

8. Radio.com

Awareness: 14% (somewhat poor)

Listening percentage: Below 2% (very poor)

Type: Radio

The gist: Similar to TuneIn, Radio.com offers a variety of radio shows, spanning from talk to sports to music.

What’s working: A simple, memorable brand. Even though 14% awareness isn’t all that good, it’s amazing that Radio.com even scores that high, given its comparatively small penetration numbers. Competitor TuneIn Radio has more overall users, but people are actually slightly more likely to recall Radio.com when polled.

What’s not: A unique offering. Radio.com lacks a killer feature or particularly memorable interface, preventing the service from ascending in the ranks.

7. Slacker

Awareness: 14% (somewhat poor)

Listening percentage: 2% (poor)

Type: Radio

The gist: Slacker is a lesser-known, more fully-featured alternative to Pandora. By our estimates, it has 13x the songs of Pandora, but only a fifth the subscribers. There are three pricing tiers (free, $4/month, $10/month), with the priciest option being the most compelling, given the sheer number of features.

What’s working: Features. Slacker Premium Radio offers unlimited skips, offline listening, custom playlists, and crucially, the ability to replay songs — something Pandora’s music contracts simply won’t allow.

What’s not: Pricing. Slacker’s big edge over Pandora is features, but you have to pay $10/month to get the ones that really set Slacker apart. Most consumers won’t be willing to shell out the extra cash, even if they’d be getting their money’s worth.

6. Google Play Music

Awareness: 24% (decent)

Listening percentage: 3% (poor)

Type: On-demand

The gist: Google Play Music is Google’s alternative to Spotify (on-demand listening, $10/month), with 18 million available tracks.

What’s working: Android integration. Google Play Music fills a music void for Android the way iTunes supports music on iOS devices. For Android users, Google Play Music is a natural — and readily available — service.

What’s not: Awareness. The awareness numbers are actually somewhat low for a Google product, but typical for the company, it’s done little to promote a lower-priority Google service. And you can’t really blame it, given how razor-thin music streaming profit margins tend to be.

5. Spotify

Awareness: 28% (good)

Listening percentage: 6% (decent)

Type: On-demand

The gist: The industry darling, Spotify is probably the most referenced on-demand music service in the world of tech. The company offers a desktop-only, ad-supported free service and a $10/month, mobile-enabled premium service.

What’s working: Branding. In 2011, Spotify launched in the U.S. to much fanfare and positive press—Americans finally had the chance to try the popular European music service. Spotify has remained in the news off and on since then, and today, more than one in three people will recognize the brand.

What’s not: Non-premium mobile options. Without a premium subscription, Spotify’s mobile offering becomes a less-capable version of Pandora, cycling through songs radio-style instead of providing on-demand selection. For mobile-users, the (pricey) Spotify Premium is a must.

4. Rhapsody

Awareness: 40% (great)

Listening percentage: 2% (poor)

Type: Hybrid radio and on-demand service

The gist: An industry veteran, Rhapsody’s been in and out of the music press for years (most notably, as part of a 2011 merger with Napster). Its “unRadio” offering, however, is brand new, a nifty little service announced this past June in partnership with T-Mobile. At a cost of just $5/month, unRadio customers can listen to Pandora-style radio stations, but with no ads and unlimited skips.

What’s working: Awareness. Rhapsody’s been around long enough to garner an impressive 40% brand awareness, an advantage that’s particularly helpful when it comes to rolling out new services like unRadio.

What’s not: Actual use. Just 2% of people have actually listened to Rhapsody, a fairly dismal figure next to its strong awareness numbers. The T-Mobile partnership, however, has the potential to shake out a few more users.

3. iTunes Radio + iTunes Match

Awareness: 47% (great)

Listening percentage: 8% (decent)

Type: Hybrid radio and on-demand service

The gist: Apple’s music radio service is a carbon-copy of Pandora, with similar features (smart stations) and annoyances (limited skips, ads). Meanwhile, the iTunes Match service ($25/year) lets you turn all that music you stole into legitimate, cloud-based versions stored in Apple’s servers. Once you’ve matched your library, you can play those songs from anywhere on any Apple device.

What’s working: The iTunes brand. Say what you will about iTunes (ex: clunky, out-of-date), people know the name, and that’s a built-in advantage for Apple.

What’s not: Apple’s innovative spirit. Apple’s iTunes Radio is thoroughly reactive—a nervous response to the success of Spotify and Pandora. The Beats acquisition might keep the company out of real trouble, but for the time-being, it’s playing catch-up.

2. iHeart Radio

Awareness: 48% (great)

Listening percentage: 9% (decent)

Type: Radio

The gist: Combines Pandora-style genre-based radio stations with actual, live radio stations.

What’s working: Users and awareness. With 48 million users and 48% awareness, iHeart Radio is the fifth most-used and second best-known music streaming service in the industry.

What’s not: Focus. iHeart Radio attracts a wide variety of users through its giant selection of custom and live radio stations, but it doesn’t have the immediate, tangible selling points of an app like Spotify (ex: find any song) or the attractive simplicity of a service like Pandora (ex: type in a genre and sit back).

1. Pandora

Awareness: 70% (excellent)

Listening percentage: 31% (great)

Type: Radio

The gist: The classic online radio service, Pandora lets you type in a genre, album, song or artist, then plays a selection of songs it predicts you will like. Pandora is proud enough of its music-matching system that the technology has its own fancy name: the Music Genome Project.

What’s working: Despite the recent influx of competition, Pandora remains by the far the most recognized and used service, with over 75 million users and brand awareness at a remarkable seven out of ten. The radio concept itself couldn’t be simpler, but Pandora has had 14 years to build its brand and hone its matching-system, which gives the company a huge advantage over competitors.

What’s not: Number of songs. Pandora has far fewer songs (~1 million) than most of its rivals, a discrepancy that could sneak up on it as the other services get better. For the time being, Pandora can ride its strong brand, but eventually, the best products have a tendency to win out.

This article was written for TIME by Ben Taylor of FindTheBest.

TIME wireless carriers

T-Mobile’s Unlimited Music Streaming Is the Worst for Net Neutrality

Legere
T-Mobile CEO John Legere speaks during an event in Seattle on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 Matthew Williams -- Bloomberg / Getty Images

"Music freedom" looks like a benefit for subscribers, and that's the most dangerous part.

Most things that T-Mobile has done over the last year have made me feel warm and fuzzy inside, but I felt a pit in my stomach on Wednesday when the carrier announced that certain streaming music services won’t count against users’ data limits.

Instead of treating all music services equally, T-Mobile has decided that the most popular streaming music services should get better treatment. If you have a limited data plan on T-Mobile, you won’t come any closer to your monthly cap when using Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, iTunes Radio, iHeartRadio, Slacker Radio and Samsung Milk Music.

This is the most insidious type of net neutrality violation, because it’s being pitched as a benefit. Most users stand to gain from the free data, so they may not even care about the slippery slope they’re on.

T-Mobile is well aware that it’s picking winners and losers, so it’s telling users to vote on other services that they’d like to make the cut. This by itself is messed up — why should I have to petition T-Mobile to give preferential treatment to a particular music service? — but it also underscores why net neutrality is so important. New or obscure streaming music services will remain at a disadvantage for as long as T-Mobile doesn’t recognize them. This, in turn, makes it harder for these services to take off, enforcing a vicious cycle.

What’s really scary is that some tech pundits don’t even see this as a problem. Ross Rubin, an analyst whose opinions I usually respect, wrote on Twitter that the free music streaming is “not really a net neutrality issue” because T-Mobile isn’t favoring any one provider or setting up a “fast lane” for chosen services. But with wireless Internet, data caps are just as important as speed limits. The incentive to use unrestricted services is just as strong.

The good news, for now at least, is that T-Mobile isn’t charging music services for uncapped data, according to The Verge. And as the smallest of the major carriers, T-Mobile doesn’t pose a huge threat to the streaming music market on its own.

But by going down this road — and getting a warm response for doing so — T-Mobile is signaling to its competitors that it’s okay to dole out preferential treatment as long as customers see a short-term benefit. Once the hooks are in, T-Mobile could easily start charging these music services for their customers’ data use, and other carriers could start doing the same. AT&T has already set up a system to allow “sponsored data,” and Verizon has expressed interest in this business model as well.

And there’s nothing you can do about it. We currently don’t have any net neutrality protections in the United States, and it’s unclear whether wireless Internet will even be included as the FCC draws up new rules that can withstand legal scrutiny. Besides, if enough people feel good about what T-Mobile is doing, it’s hard to imagine regulators getting in the way. T-Mobile tries hard to look like it’s putting an arm over your shoulder, but “music freedom” is actually more of a stranglehold.

TIME Music

No, Streaming Will Not Kill Your Radio

iHeartRadio
iHeartRadio

But just in case...

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

Considering Internet radio has been around since 2000, you’d expect the market to have shaken out by now. But competition has actually become more fierce. Spotify has grown to 50 million users, with ten million of them paying to access the service each month. Pandora continues to grow with 250 million registered users; around 77 million are active. Apple made several big moves in the category, introducing iTunes Radio last year and buying Beats by Dre and its music streaming service for $3 billion last month. And last week, as expected, Amazon introduced its own competitor: Prime Music.

And then there’s iHeartRadio, the streaming music service owned by terrestrial giant Clear Channel. The company today announced it has crossed 50 million monthly active users.

That reach makes Clear Channel’s streaming offering a formidable competitor to Pandora, Spotify, Apple, and Amazon. But Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman is not as concerned with Internet radio as one might think. Digital radio makes a lot of noise, but only accounts for 10% of the overall radio market. (A market that, conveniently, is dominated by Clear Channel.)

“If it were not for the fact that radio is so large, you’d say, ‘Wow these are big numbers,’” Pittman tells Fortune. “There are one billion FM radios in the US and 160 million smartphones and 160 million PCs, so it’s still a subset of the FM marketplace.”

Pittman doesn’t believe streaming hours will overtake traditional radio in his lifetime. “Music collections always replace each other and radio always tends to be yet another choice,” he says. “Satellite didn’t kill FM. AM didn’t kill FM. (Streaming music) one more choice and one more device you can listen to the radio on.”

With that perspective, why would Clear Channel waste resources getting 50 million people to use a streaming service like iHeartRadio to begin with? The product draws resources from a number of Clear Channel’s businesses, including live shows, tech, operations and advertising. As Pandora’s investors know too well, it is not cheap to license music streaming rights from the record labels.

The short answer, Pittman says, is growth. He maintains that digital is an important growth area for the business, even if the $17 billion or so that advertisers spend on radio each year is slow to move over to the Web.

For the rest of the story, go to Fortune.com.

TIME

Surprise! Amazon Launches Streaming Music Service

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Like a ninja in a library, Amazon has quietly launched Prime Music, a streaming music service similar to Spotify, Rdio and others.

If you’re a $99-per-year Prime member, you’ll have unlimited access to north of a million songs, which makes Amazon’s library far smaller than its competitors’ libraries. Spotify, for instance, boasts over 20 million songs.

But this is another added nicety for Prime subscribers, who, for $99 a year, get free two-day shipping on a bunch of Amazon products, a free Netflix-like video service, a handful of freely borrow-able Kindle ebooks and now, free music to boot.

The fact that Prime Music was launched without much fanfare likely means that Amazon isn’t looking to try to lure people away from competitors — not yet, anyway. If the company builds up the music catalog in the coming months, however, it could serve as an interesting underdog.

As for what you actually get with Prime Music, there are no ads and you can listen to as many songs as you like. Songs can be downloaded for offline listening, though you’ll have to listen to them through Amazon’s music app, which is available on most popular tablet, smartphone, web and computer platforms. Here’s a list of available songs.

Amazon is expected to launch its own smartphone on June 18, so we’ll see how much the company’s new music service plays into the phone’s launch.

TIME technology

Apple-Beats: Here’s What Analysts Are Saying

Apple Introduces iPhone 5
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

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What a difference three weeks can make. Analysts who “struggled to see the rational” behind Apple’s acquisition of Beats when it was a $3.2 billion rumor now think it’s a pretty smart move. “Probably the only smart move within the last 3 years!” according to one Apple skeptic.

Below: Excerpts from the notes we’ve seen so far. More as they come in.

Katy Huberty, Morgan Stanley: Apple beats the service drum.“Subscription music service could make the deal a home run, with every 1% penetration of Apple’s 800M account base equating to $960M of revenue. Apple believes Beats offers the right strategy for streaming music as it leverages both algorithms and 200 human curators to create playlists, which differentiates it from competitors.”

Trip Chowdhry, Global Equities: A smart move from Apple, and probably the only smart move within the last 3 years! “Currently, Beats Music Streaming Service only has 250K subscribers — but with Apple’s power in distribution (iOS Devices and AppStore), subscription to Beats Music Streaming Service can easily grow to 20 million subscribers within the next 12 to 18 months.”

Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray: Thoughts on the now-confirmed Beats deal. “We believe that if successful, adding Iovine and Dr. Dre could help propel Apple into the next level in its content offering, particularly in video, which could pave the way for new products including a television. Finally, given that Beats is the largest acquisition of Apple’s history, we believe it could open the door to other larger acquisitions, potentially around Internet services outside of content.”

Daniel Ernst, Hudson Square: AAPL Beats rhythm and blues. “On balance we are not fans of the Beats acquisition, although, we do not expect a negative market reaction to the news, and we concede Apple Beats holds promise to exceed our very low expectations. As a music-focused premium hardware maker with a budding, well-curated service component, Beats does fit well with Apple, and at $2.6B, the cash deployed represents just 1.7% of the company’s 3/31/14 balance. However, in our opinion even within music, there exists more impactful targets like Sonos or Spotify and moreover so many more targets in a vast array of segments either not, or not well served by Apple today including cloud services, security, commerce/payments, television and games.”

Benedict Evans, Andreessen Horowitz: Content Is King? “Music has gone from being a key strategic lever in the tech industry to an afterthought. The same applies to movie and TV libraries — media has gone from being a choke-point to a check-box, commodity feature than every platform has to offer but where none has any particular advantage… So for a platform owner or device maker, the content you can offer is no longer a strategic asset. Content doesn’t sell devices, because they all have the same content.”

Ben Bajarin, Creative Strategies: Apple, Beats, and Content as Differentiation. “What makes Apple’s products stand out is they are differentiated by hardware and by software. Much of their software runs on no other computers than their own. What if they can bring content into this fold? What if they can acquire exclusive deals, even if exclusive for short time windows, that are only available on their hardware and through their software? Then what if they do release lower cost phones in the $350 range? If you are in China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and you are a fan of American music, movies, and even TV, would you pay $100 or $200 more for exclusive hardware, software, and content? Again, while I acknowledge the difficulty or ‘moon shot’ of this effort, content (beyond apps) is an interesting differentiator if done right.”

TIME Streaming Music

Spotify Boasts 40 Million Users, 10 Million Paid Subscribers

Streaming music keeps on booming, though the radio of freeloaders to paid users stays the same.

Just in case Spotify’s dominant position in streaming music wasn’t already established, the company revealed Wednesday that it now has 40 million active users and 10 million paid subscribers.

That’s up 67 percent from last March, when Spotify had 24 million users, 6 million of whom paid for the streaming music service. Spotify says it has streamed 12 billion hours of music since its 2008 launch and that users create or update more than 5 million playlists per day.

Many of Spotify’s on-demand streaming competitors don’t disclose their user numbers, but it’s likely that no one comes close. Rhapsody, which has been around since 2001, revealed in April that it has 1.7 million paid subscribers.

While Spotify’s growth is impressive, the ratio of unpaid to paid users is unchanged from last year — roughly a quarter of users pay $10 per month for Spotify Premium, which removes audio ads from the user experience. Beats Music, which may or may not be getting bought by Apple, reportedly converts 70 percent of users to paid subscriptions through a partnership with AT&T, according to Bloomberg.

Spotify has faced some criticism from musicians who feel short-changed by the service, but the company has tried to convince the artists that there’s lots of money to be made, especially as more people sign up for paid subscriptions.

TIME Streaming Music

Now’s a Bad Time to Start Using Beats Music

Take it from someone who's been stranded by the volatile streaming music business before: You do not want to get involved with Beats Music right now.

Apple hasn’t yet announced its rumored $3.2 billion purchase of Beats, but the deal seems likely, with even Dr. Dre alluding to it in a video on Facebook.

That’s enough for me to recommend avoiding the Beats Music streaming service, at least until we know what it’ll look like post-acquisition.

If you’re a Beats subscriber already, a couple key questions should come to mind:

  • Would an Apple-owned Beats Music work on non-Apple platforms? Beats is currently available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone and the web, with Chromecast support possibly on the way. But Apple typically doesn’t offer its services on competitors’ hardware. Yes, iTunes for Windows is an exception, but it’s also a relic from a time when supporting Windows was important, and there’s no version of iTunes for Android or the web. Maybe Beats will be Apple’s way of reaching out to other platforms, or maybe it’ll turn inward, becoming another selling point for Apple hardware.
  • Will the service even continue to exist? It’s unclear, as Re/code’s Peter Kafka points out, whether Beats’ streaming music rights would transfer to Apple after an acquisition. If they don’t, Apple would have to negotiate new deals with record labels, which could take a while. Even if Apple does keep the rights, there’s no guarantee Apple wouldn’t just shutter the service and create something new on its own terms. That’s exactly what Apple did after it acquired streaming service Lala in 2009.

I’ve been in this situation before. When Beats acquired MOG in 2012, it was obvious that the streaming music service I loved was going away, as development on MOG’s mobile apps stagnated. Although I jumped ship before Beats announced work on a new streaming service in January 2013, the writing was already on the wall. When Beats Music launched earlier this year, MOG announced plans to shut down, leaving users with no easy way to transfer their artists and playlists to the new service.

Switching to another streaming music service is a tedious process. The companies that run these services don’t make it easy to move your artists, albums and playlists in and out, so adopting a new service means starting from scratch. When I switched from MOG to Rdio, I spent hours with my MOG collection in one window, and Rdio in another, manually re-adding everything. Trust me, you don’t want to get stuck doing that if Beats goes under, or changes into something that doesn’t suit your needs.

What do you do if you’re dying to subscribe to a streaming music service now? My colleague Matt Peckham has compared all the major streaming music services, but I recommend Spotify if you want a service that’s most likely to last the long haul, or Rdio if you want the best collection of apps and features. Otherwise, just wait and see how this Beats acquisition plays out (or doesn’t).

TIME Music

Silent Album Games Spotify to the Tune of $20,000

Thanks to fans who streamed its completely silent album Sleepify on Spotify while they slept, indie band Vulfpeck has funded a free-admission tour. Royalties from the album, which Spotify has now asked Vulfpeck to remove, earned the band $20,000.

A couple months ago, an indie band called Vulfpeck released an album on Spotify with nothing but 30-second silent tracks, and encouraged fans to keep the album on loop while they slept.

The idea was to drum up enough royalties to fund a free tour, and it worked. Over the last couple months, Vulfpeck earned roughly $20,000 from its Sleepify album, according to Vice. Vulfpeck will use that money for its tour budget, based around the areas where Sleepify was played the most.

But now, the party’s over. Spotify has asked Vulfpeck to remove the album, though the rest of Vulfpeck’s catalog remains available. (The band has even posted a new, three-track album, called Official Statement, which contains an explanation of what happened, a dreamy track called “Parted Sea,” and one more 30-second silent track, dubbed “#Reflect.”)

Through it all, Spotify has put on a good face. Speaking to Billboard in March, Spotify spokesman Graham James called Sleepify “a clever stunt,” but said it “seems derivative of John Cage’s work.” Hopefully that means Spotify will play nice and pay out the $20,000 in royalties so Vulfpeck can keep making actual music.

[The Verge]

TIME Streaming Music

The Biggest Problem with Spotify Is Being Fixed Now

Spotify

"Your Music" collection finally makes streaming a viable replacement for iTunes.

For the longest time, I’ve stayed away from Spotify for one major reason: The inability to organize a collection of favorite music made it a nonstarter for me.

Starting today, that’s changing. As part of a significant redesign, Spotify is adding a “Your Music” section to its apps and website. At last, you can sort your favorite tracks by artist, album or song. It works just like iTunes–and like every other on-demand streaming music service that has offered this feature for ages. Spotify had been testing a similar “Collections” feature for months, but never rolled it out under the old design.

The fact that Spotify has grown to 24 million active users without a proper music collection feature is not lost on me. Much of that may be due to Spotify’s business model, which offers a free, ad-supported version to lure in users. If you’re only using the free version of Spotify–and therefore not trying to replace your MP3 collection with it–the inability to cultivate a streaming record collection may not be a big deal.

But I suspect that many people don’t care about sorting through an album or artist view anyway. We live in the age of the playlist, which is indeed the main way that Spotify users have organized and cataloged their music up until now. I like a good playlist as much as anyone, but growing up on tapes and CDs has conditioned me to think in terms of the entire album, not just a few favorite songs. While Spotify has always allowed you to “star” favorite albums, doing so only added them to a massive, unorganized list of tracks.

Spotify has good reason to add a “Your Music” collection now. In December, the company expanded its free service, so you can listen to playlists or individual artists on shuffle mode from a smartphone, or listen to any track on-demand from a tablet. Having full access to your collection on a smartphone might nudge more users toward paying for a $10 per month subscription, which also removes advertisements, provides greater sound quality and supports offline listening.

Spotify is rolling out the redesign and “Your Music” feature to iOS, its website and its desktop apps starting today, and support on other platforms is coming “soon.”

TIME apps

New Tricks for Google Play Music: Easier Uploads and a Mini Player

Google

Finally, a way to add new music without the extra software.

A couple of new experimental features have popped up in Google Play Music, making it easier to manage and listen to music through the browser.

If you’re using Chrome, you can now upload songs by dragging files or folders into the browser. You can also keep your computer’s entire music collection in sync by adding folders through the Settings menu.

To enable drag-and-drop uploads, head to the labs section and enable “Google Play Music for Chrome.” You’ll then see an “Add music” button in the top-right corner.

Without this feature, Google requires you to use its Music Manager software for Windows, Mac or Linux. The software works well enough for syncing your main music library, but it doesn’t provide an easy way to upload individual songs from another folder or computer.

Enabling the labs feature also adds a mini music player, which you can open by clicking the arrow button in the bottom right corner. Unfortunately, this player only works while the main Google Play Music window is open, and there’s no way to make it stay visible over other windows.

Google Play Music lets you store up to 20,000 songs online. You can then stream those songs to any web browser and to Google’s official apps for Android and iOS. (Unofficial apps are also available for other platforms.) It’s a great service for accessing your music collection on phones and tablets without using up storage space, and these new features make it just a little easier to get started.

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