Pandora, Spotify, and Grooveshark (oh my!) – Which Online Music Service is REALLY the Best for You?

Published on June 16, 2013

Online music streaming is at a high point.  Including the recent emergence of "iTunes Radio", Apples' new addition to the online music streaming community, users now have over a dozen options to choose from when selecting their music streaming provider - and its definitely a challenge to compare them.  Which service offers the best comprehensive coverage?  Is it worth paying for premium services?

There are plenty of sources out there for different lifestyles and needs.  For users with extensive already-existing music libraries in iTunes or Google, iTunes Radio and Google Play are good options as they have "library integration" features - meaning they combine new music with your current library when creating your online listening station.  Spotify and Rdio are good for  those with less extensive libraries, and their premium features offer offline listening capabilities that their counterparts do not.

Tech blog GigaOM created this great table (left) to help you compare your options based on price, function, streaming, playlist capabilities, and purchase song options.

Jason Finn, Geek | Chicago's "Chief Geek", personally uses Spotify Premium.  While iTunes Radio has syncing capabilities with your iTunes music and is cheaper ($25/year vs. $10/month for Spotify Premium), it does not support offline listening - a big deterrent for those who listen mostly on-the-go.  With Spotify, there are playlist download capabilities so you can listen to music without internet or 3G data usage. 

If you're the type of person who doesn't know what you want to listen to and you don't want to spend any money, this Geek, Alex, yours truly, recommends Songza, which creates music playlists based on your mood or location rather than on a genre or artist (like Pandora).

What's your favorite streaming service?  Do you use more than one, or are you a music streaming loyalist?