Experiences with Music Streaming Services on Sonos

Over the last few months like many in Australia I have had the opportunity to try several music streaming services. A monthly payment of up to $15 secures access to literally many millions of music tracks including all new releases. As it happens a Christmas 2011 present of a Sonos wireless music system proved to be a perfect fit for streaming music. A Sonos slogan is ‘stream every song on earth’.

My Sonos came with free beta access to the Songl music service which I started using in February 2012. Although still in beta the free trial just ended in the first weeks of August. Songl was a very good introduction but I found its selection of music, especially for a person in their 60s like myself, to be limited. I won’t be paying $12.99/month from September.

2012-08-19 SNAG-00In the first quarter of 2012 I signed up for Rdio, the first major international streaming service available in Australia. Like most services with two tiers of subscription I needed the more expensive version to use with Sonos. Rdio is $12.90 per month. The music selection is extensive and it has the Pandora-like radio station model for playing music related to a named favourite artist. Except I find the Rdio artist stations very poor. Artist and album selection though are excellent. It is the interworking with Sonos that is critical for me.

When they arrived I also signed for trials for other services: JB HiFi Now $99/year ($8.25/month), Spotify $11.99/month, and MOG $11.99/month. I subsequently abandoned JB HiFi Now (poor music selection) but took up subscriptions for Spotify and MOG. So now I have three services that work well on my Sonos as well the my own 27 GB of ripped music collection on my central home file server. (Sonos plays all the world’s Internet radio as well using the built-in TuneIn app and podcasts with Stitcher.)

Off course all these music streaming services are accessible on iOS, Android, Windows and OSX with offline syncing on the mobile phones, so you can listen to music outside the house wherever there is 3G or Wi-Fi. It is the Sonos interface to MOG, Rdio and Spotify that is important to me. For comparison I show the top-level interface and an artist search, Enya of course. For each service Sonos provides a box for artist/album/track search.

MOG

Rdio

Spotify

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For me MOG is winning hands down. At the top level MOG has more features like Editors picks, and top tracks/radio/albums lists. After an artist search MOG also is way ahead. A couple of popular albums, artist-only radio (for me the best feature of all), top tracks and related artists are all great, unmatched features. Also MOG is included in my Telstra bill and is unmetered via my Bigpond internet service.

I am now paying $36.88/month and it is time to rationalise, so from next week it is bye bye Rdio and Spotify. I’m sticking with MOG for the foreseeable future. The new music streaming era is for me. I now thank my lucky stars that I have spent less than $30 in total on buying AAC/MP3 music over the years so moving to streaming is a no brainer for me.