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.
|Google Play Music All Access||"Millions"||-||$11.99|
|JB Hi-Fi NOW||16 million+||$6.88||$10.00|
|Samsung Music Hub||3 million+||$9.99||$12.99|
|Sony Music Unlimited||"Millions"||$4.99||$12.99|
Here are some notes on each provider:
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 is offering introductory pricing of $9.99 a month through until August 31, 2013. Mobile platforms supported: Android.
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's trial runs for 10 days. There are discounts for three-month and 12-month subscriptions. Mobile platforms supported: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
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 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.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.
Mobile platforms supported: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry.
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 works on PS3 and some Bravia TVs. Mobile platforms supported: Android, iOS.
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
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.