Apple’s big music announcement

There were some interesting things in this week’s WWDC keynote, including multi-tasking on the iPad, open-sourcing Swift, and transit directions in Apple Maps. But the Apple Music announcement probably got the most attention in the general-interest press.

The announcement prompted a few interesting articles, including this one from the Washington Post on how it stacks up against other streaming services, and this one from Mashable comparing it to iTunes Match.

I’m currently using Slacker Radio for most of my streaming, which isn’t mentioned in the Washington Post article. I have their lower-end $4/month subscription, which is similar to Pandora’s $5/month plan and includes ad-free streaming, with unlimited track skips, but no ability to listen to full albums or otherwise select precisely what tracks you want to listen to.

I’m not sure why Slacker doesn’t get more attention. Their $4/month subscription compares well to Pandora’s $5/month subscription, and their $10/month subscription compares well to Spotify’s paid service. They have some interesting “curated” playlists, plus content from ESPN and ABC News, if you’re into that sort of thing.

The other service I’m using is Google Play’s service that scans and uploads your music library, then allows you to stream it through the Google Play app. It’s similar to iTunes Match, but free, and has a higher limit on the total number of songs you can upload (50k vs. 25k). There are a few downsides to Google’s service, though. First, the program that scans your music library and uploads it doesn’t have much intelligence built into it. In addition to all my songs, it’s also uploaded a bunch of my audiobooks, and occasionally decides to stick a chapter or two into an auto-generated playlist. Second, I’ve found that the Google Play iOS app isn’t quite as nice about bandwidth usage (and battery usage) as Slacker is, so I’m careful about using it when I’m not on wi-fi.

I’m also occasionally using Amazon’s streaming music service that’s free with an Amazon Prime subscription. Their service, honestly, isn’t that compelling, but it’s free, and it allows me to stream full albums, so it comes in handy once in a while. Their selection isn’t as good as Slacker or Spotify, but there is some good stuff on there.

I don’t think I’m likely to sign up for Apple Music, given that I’m already getting enough music through Slacker, Google, and Amazon Prime, but it’s interesting to see what they’re doing.

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