My Streaming Music Solution: All Access + Slacker Radio. What's yours?
I'm not a huge music buff. When people ask me what music I like, I typically answer with "anything but rap and country" - and that's pretty much true. I still listen to a lot of music, though - especially when I'm working, when I'm exercising, and when I'm in the car. I also love to AirPlay to my Apple TV during parties.
For the last few years, I've been using Slacker Radio almost exclusively on iOS and Android for all of these use cases. I had a Premium subscription, meaning I had unlimited skips, no ads, the option to cache stations on mobile devices, and the ability to play songs and albums on demand. Over the years I've flirted with other services like Rdio and Spotify, but never got into them. I kept returning to Slacker Radio almost exclusively because of the quality of their pre-built stations and my long-developed "Favorite Songs" station.
Last month, when Google announced Play Music All Access (still a terrible name), I figured I'd give it a try - partly because I already had a decent library from when I uploaded my iTunes library last year, and partly because I wanted to get in on the $8/month option when the price was still available. Today is the day I need to decide if I cancel my All Access trial subscription, and - spoiler - I've decided to keep it.
Unfortunately, I can't really give a good comparison to services like Rdio and Spotify, other than the fact I'm keeping All Access, but gave up on the others after a couple of days. Why? Well, a few things:
- A great Android app. I suppose it goes without saying, but the Play Music app on Android is the best music app I've found for the platform. I mostly use my phone for music in the car, so being able to remember my place in the last song I was in is a big deal. Slacker Radio - and other services I've tried - lose my spot, and often start up on an entirely different song. Also, the Slacker Radio app on Android is kind-of Amateur Hour:
- The price. I still want to keep a $4 subscription to Slacker Radio Plus for the ad removal/unlimited skip/mobile caching feature, so even the trivia $2 a month difference between All Access and Spotify is a great incentive to stick with All Access.
- A web app. I find the Play Music web app to be an incredibly convenient way to listen to my music, regardless of what device I'm on - including my iPad, in a pinch. The fact that the app is actually pretty great doesn't hurt.
- The seamless incorporation of the music I've already uploaded into my library. I love that I have my own music, plus the music I've chosen to add through the All Access subscription.
Of course, I'm still not 100% thrilled with All Access. Most notably, there's no native Google-made iOS app, which is a big gap for something that's billing itself as an alternative to services that already multi-platform. Also, I'm slightly reluctant to invest in a Google service that hasn't yet proven to be a key Google Service - but I suppose that's a risk with any service.
That's my personal streaming solution - I use Slacker Radio's built-in stations on my iPad when I'm working out or at work, and I use All Access when I'm in the car or want to listen to a specific song/album. I still need to rebuild my "favorites" list (and other playlists) from Slacker Radio, and I still want a native, well-designed iOS app for All Access, at which point my Slacker Radio subscription may become unnecessary - but we'll see.
So - what's your streaming music solution? Did anyone else try out All Access and decide to keep it? Or are most people sticking with Rdio and Spotify? And am I still the only Slacker Radio fanboy in existence?