Spotify v. Pure Music
On-line tunesmiths sounded out
Pure Music calls upon digital retailer 7Digital’s resource of over 17 million songs – a close match for Spotify. And if you really must have 21 by Adele, you can stream it here. Some of the acts aren’t available to stream beyond a 60 second preview – including Domino Records, home to the Arctic Monkeys – but you can buy them in full. Pure says it has all major labels and some indies on board at the moment. I hope Pure sorts out the others soon, because I kept finding a lot that couldn’t be streamed.
With streaming audio over the internet, you’re not likely to get top notch quality. Spotify has the edge as it normally uses Ogg Vorbis at 160kbps or for Premium users 320kbps. Pure Music tracks are MP3 streamed at only 128kbps. Given that it’s mostly aimed at tabletop radios, this explains the bitrate. It’s adequate for those; less so for headphone sessions. Purchased tracks are 320kbps. Pure is said to be working on higher quality streaming.
Spotify is evolving into a true multiplatform service but only Premium customers can access it on anything other than a computer. Currently you can login and listen on Sonos, Logitech Squeezeboxes, Onkyo AV receivers (such as the TX-NR609 reviewed last year), Philips Streamium hi-fis, Boxee, newer WD TV Live boxes and Virgin Media’s TiVo, which makes effective use of an HDTV screen.
Pure Music runs on its desktop and mobile apps, so you don’t have to have a Pure radio. Pure radios are inevitably the only device choices at present, although there are nine different product lines.
Both services have equally large catalogues. There are differences in the line-ups but you probably won’t be short of choice. Just on price, Pure Music is better. Spotify’s free option isn’t as good as it once was and for a monthly £4.99 you can do more with Pure than Spotify Unlimited.
However, if you don’t mind coughing up twice as much you get a superior offering with Spotify Premium – higher sound quality and access on a big range of networkable AV products. To play Pure Music out loud without a Pure radio you could plug a computer, tablet or mobile into a hi-fi. Streaming to multiple devices is a big tick in Pure’s favour but its current lack of off-line playback is a letdown, as are its unresolved licensing issues. Still, if the Spotify prerequisite of a Facebook account is a turn off, Pure Music may well appeal. ®