Australian Streaming Music Services Compared (2013 Edition)

Google's Australian launch of its Play Music All Access Streaming service means that there's a new round of competition about to begin for subscription music streaming. What's on offer, how much does it cost and which platforms does it support? We've rounded up all the options available in Australia.

Picture: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

While there are now a dozen services active in the Australian market, their similarities are greater than their differences. Generally you pay a fixed monthly fee, which means you can stream as much music as you like to your computer from a fixed catalogue of several million songs. In many cases, for a higher premium fee, you can also access those streams on mobile devices (and on some services, download tracks so you don't need an active connection). Your access to all that music expires if you stop paying the subscription.

A handful of services (Spotify, Grooveshark and Pandora) offer a totally free service, which is supported with ads. The remainder offer free trials of varying lengths.

In the table below, we've listed each of the options available, along with the minimum price you'll pay. We've also listed the number of songs available when specified (though bear in mind a high number is meaningless if artists you like aren't featured).

Most services allow instant cancellation after a month; JB Hi-Fi has a three month minimum on its basic service. JB Hi-Fi, Zune Music Pass and Samsung Music Pass all offer discounts for longer sign-ups. Rara.com offers special prices for the first three months; we've quoted the full price but reflected that deal in our calculation of the minimum cost of signing up for the service.

Provider Songs Basic/month Premium/month
Deezer 25 million+ $6.99 $11.99
Google Play Music All Access "Millions" - $11.99
Grooveshark 15 million+ - $US9
JB Hi-Fi NOW 16 million+ $6.88 $10.00
MOG 16 million+ $6.99 $11.99
Pandora "Millions" - $3.99
Rara 17 million+ $7.99 $12.99
Rdio 20 million+ $8.90 $12.90
Samsung Music Hub 3 million+ $9.99 $12.99
Sony Music Unlimited "Millions" $4.99 $12.99
Spotify 20 million+ $6.99 $11.99
Xbox Music "Millions" $11.99 -

Here are some notes on each provider:

Deezer

Deezer offers a free version, but it restricts you to two hours a month after the first year. The free trial of the paid version runs for 15 days. Mobile platforms supported: Android, iOS, BlackBerry

Google Play Music All Access

Google is offering introductory pricing of $9.99 a month through until August 31, 2013. Mobile platforms supported: Android.

Grooveshark

One of the few options with a free version. Mobile platforms suppoted: Android, iOS. Note that while Grooveshark technically runs on iOS, you need a jailbroken device for a native app, which is off-putting, frankly.

JB Hi-Fi NOW

JB Hi-Fi's trial runs for 10 days. There are discounts for three-month and 12-month subscriptions. Mobile platforms supported: Android, iOS, Windows Phone

MOG

MOG is run by Telstra, which means data downloaded via BigPond or NextG doesn't count against usage limits. The free trial runs for 14 days. Mobile platforms supported: Android, iOS (and Telstra's T-Hub).

Pandora

Pandora is a more a radio service than a full-blown choose-what-you-want option, but as it enjoys a large audience (and the basic service is free), it's worth mentioning. Mobile platforms supported: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry.

Rara

Rara.com offers introductory pricing of $0.99 a month (for basic) or $2.99 (for premium), which runs for the first three months. Mobile platforms supported: Android, iOS.

Rdio

Mobile platforms supported: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry.

Samsung Music Hub

Samsung's basic detail lets you connect a single phone; with a premium account you can connect up to four Samsung devices (tablets, TVs or phones). Mobile platforms supported: Android.

Sony Music Unlimited

Sony Music Unlimited works on PS3 and some Bravia TVs. Mobile platforms supported: Android, iOS.

Spotify

Spotify is arguably the best-known brand in this space, largely due to its free ad-supported option. Mobile platforms supported: Android, iOS, Windows Phone

Xbox Music

As you'd expect with a Microsoft music service, Xbox Music runs on Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox. It offers a free 30-day trial.


If you don't want to pay anything, Spotify is still arguably the service to beat. If you want to pay, the field is broader, and your own hardware preferences may play a role. Have your own thoughts on one of these services? We'd love to hear them in the comments.


Comments

    Just to clarify, Google's "About Music" page says that they have 18 million+ songs (source: https://play.google.com/about/music/ in the features chart "Buy new music on Google Play (18 m+ songs)")

      They don't necessarily have the rights to stream every song they have a license to sell though. If they did, presumably they'd say they could stream 18 million songs too.

        Ah yes, good point. I always forget that there's a difference between the two (given that most songs I can stream, I can buy too)

    I have a yearly sub for Pandora. I love it. Gets me listening to music I wouldn't have otherwise listened to.

      So true.. the whole experience with Pandora is about discovering music, really.

    Deezer is available on Blackberry 7 and 10. MOG is also available on Sonos and Logitech SMART/Squeeze devices.

    I always feel like XBox Music gets a bad rap as a streaming service.

    It's free (on win8, xbox, phone) for streaming, which isn't mentioned.

    It also runs on every platform through the browser when paid for (which also isn't mentioned).

      Xbox Music is being vastly underrepresented here.

      Like @itroll_2s said there's free streaming on Windows 8 / RT. They have a catalogue of 30 million+ tracks and like Google Play, Grooveshark and Pandora only offer one plan (which I see is in the "basic" column whereas the aforementioned are thrown in the "premium" column).

      Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_Music

        The bad rap for Xbox Music is entirely purposeful by the media it seems...it has to be otherwise it's features and library facts wouldn't be missed by so-called "journalists". There are over 30million tracks - more than the other services. It also has a web-player that works on Mac, PC and Linux browsers (music.xbox.com) and you can download an unlimited amount of music locally from the service on Windows PCs and Windows Phones. The premium service is also free for 12 months with any Windows 8 PC/tablet.

    I would like to see a comparison of the audio quality of each service as well if that's possible.

    Currently I am have a MOG subscription and i find it to be mostly superior to Spotify which i was previously using mostly in terms of the mobile app since I have found that the download speed for MOG (320Kbps) to take around 2-10 mins for an album of around 11-12 songs whereas Spotify used to take me, well, i don't actually know how long since sometimes i would be waiting a day or two for between one and three songs after which I cancelled the downloads.

    one downfall of MOG is that it has nowhere near the playlist functionality of Spotify but I find the radio feature to be much better.

    I also have a Pandora subscription and pandora is just great if you want to listen to a lot of music in one genre or a random assortment of similar music based on one or more artists, it's great.

      I Agree with this. I have been using MOG for the past 8 or 9 months. I am mostly happy with the service abd the free streaming means i can stream at full rate without worrying about data.

      Also agree that the downfall its its playlist and also i think the Spotify app is a bit better.

      Last edited 18/07/13 6:18 pm

      Second, and given that it seems to be unmetered on BOOST, as well as all Telstra and Bigpond consumer MBB plans, makes this a steal. I listen to at work all day without using my quota.

    Spotify is also available for Windows Phone 8.

    I love my Spotify for my desktop or media centre and Pandora for my mobile

    Whoa about Nokia Music???? Its available on WP8, Windows 8 and the web, has no ads nor and subscription requirements.

    Another totally free option is torch music, I don't think they even have a paid option. And since they work off youtube, you can make video playlists.

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