Understanding Online Music Services

There are many different ways you can listen to music online. You can purchase music through services like iTunes. You can listen to customized streaming radio stations like Pandora or iTunes Radio. You can subscribe to an online music service like Spotify or the new Apple Music. You can also listen to Internet radio stations like the new Beats 1 station from Apple.

Comments: 8 Responses to “Understanding Online Music Services”

    Gary Warda
    9 years ago

    Thanks! For clearing that up for me, all the choices get confusing especially when I have a library of over 500 CD's

    9 years ago

    So many options and you have made it easy to understand. Thanks

    9 years ago

    Very helpful! As always, Gary, you're the best!

    9 years ago


    Does Apple offer music that supersedes the quality of CD & Vinyl?

    I presume most portable playback devices are not geared to demand bigger high res. audio files.

    If Apple is not doing high resolution audio, is there another Music Service that offers a means of upgrading my existing iTunes collection to high resolution music files that would still be part of the Apple Eco System?

    Thank you.

      9 years ago

      Currently, music you buy from Apple is at 256kbps AAC format. Streaming music will be lower, as it needs to stream over the Internet in real time.
      Whether this is "high res" depends on what you think high res is. CDs are tech from the 80s, so before compression. That's why they could only contain about 72 minutes of music whereas the same CD can hold many hours of mp3/AAC music. Vinyl is hard to compare because that is analog and not digital and it adds noise since vinyl records can't be read by a physical device without some sort of imperfections.
      I've done the test where you take good headphones and play music at different qualities randomly and try to see if your ears can hear the difference. 256kpbs is way above my threshold so I'll never miss out by using it.
      The streaming service Tidal has a premium membership where you can hear songs at a much higher resolution. I wouldn't be able to tell, but maybe you can. That's a streaming service. It looks like the industry is moving toward streaming and away from purchasing so you may have to switch if you want that sort of quality.
      I, and others, can go on and on about this. It is a huge subject. I'd search for some audio experts and read their stuff if you want to know more.

    John Batchelor
    9 years ago

    Thanks Gary well explained

    9 years ago

    Good explaination. There is debate out there about streaming. The streamee benifits from the low cost of the service; the streamer benifits from profits; the ? is whether there is a monetary benifit to the authors? Without the sale of CDs/vinyl/tape, is there enough capital generated by streaming services to warrant the composing musician a livelihood in the industry? If not: no authors, no music. Might this happen?
    (Prof. retired 30+ years, Berklee College of Music)

      9 years ago

      This is a huge subject. I could write pages about it. Many have. Lots of ways to look at it.
      I don't think a change in economics will eliminate all of the artists. But it will shake things up. It has been for 10+ years now. Some artists will do better. Others will have trouble.

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