Feeds

On-demand streamed music services compared

How Xbox Music stacks up against the competition

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Feature As Microsoft Xbox Music upon the masses this week, streaming over 30 million songs to groovetastic gamers and Windows PC users, we decided to see how it stacks up against the competition.

The market is awash with Spotify-style streaming services, which vary in catalogue numbers, mobile support, pricing and their respective feature lists. The latest must-have option is an offline mode, allowing listeners to build playlists and cache their tracks for enjoyment in times of no signal.

Some will let you access their track catalogues for nowt, though there's always a catch: gratis songs are either offered solely as short-duration samples, or impose advertising upon you.

And don't forget, download services like iTunes and Amazon MP3 may be a better bet if you're interested in buying tracks to keep, or you don't want to cough up month in, month out.

And there are some darn fine free internet radio stations, some without ads, such as the excellent, eclectic donation-funded Radio Paradise, out there. You lose the ability to choose songs, but then you'll get to hear material you'd otherwise miss.

As you can see from our table below, punters will generally fork out at least a fiver for a standard unlimited subscription, a price that tends to double for premium mobile support features.

Services such as Grooveshark and Last.fm offer fabulous value for money, although the latter is more focused on customised radio stations based on musical preference, rather than directly choosing individual tunes. The former is priced in Dollars as well, so there may be additional currency conversion charges, depending on which credit card you use to pay for it.

Pure stakes a claim for a spot on the value podium too, but as we discovered in our Spotify vs Pure Music head-to-head review, the quality of tunes offered on the digital radio mogul's platform leaves much to be desired.

The quality and codec used is an important factor when splashing out and considering many of these companies remain rather hazy on specifics, it's often best to simply have a listen first, as long as the service allows you to, of course. Most provide an option for up to 320kb/s, though.

Either way, with Xbox Music's vast catalogue, competitive freemium model and broad features, it certainly looks primed to make a huge noise in the market. However, unless you'll definitely make use of it on your mobile device(s), it may be tempting to save a few bob elsewhere. ®

On-demand streamed music services compared

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.