I just learned about these two new-ish online streaming music services. This post will be a comparison of the two, in much the style of my old e-music vs rhapsody post.
First a word about my experience with Rhapsody. The verdict is: I tried it for a few months, and then cancelled. Ultimately not being about to play on my iPod(the iPod Classic, that is - actually this was before it was branded Classic), was the deal breaker.
The landscape has changed, on-demand streaming is the new model - it's just a matter of time. Why streaming? Well, downloading music and managing your own music library introduces several problems:
- the overhand of managing the library
- the overhead of syncing the music to and between different devices(mobile devices, home media center)
- finite disk space - although harddrives are pretty cheap nowadays, the space on mobile phones are still very limited, this makes syncing even more problematic because now you need to decide on what subset of your library you want to put on your phone
On-demand streaming services promise to deliver huge music collections to you anywhere you go for a flat monthly subscription fee. You are always just a search and click away from listening to music you've never heard before - music discovery is going to blossom like never before.
Anyways, enough philosophizing. What is the bottom line? Both of the services cost $9.99 a month with unlimited streaming and downloading. MOG also has a $4.99 PC-only plan.
I made a list of several lesser known artists whom I love, and used them as the benchmark for testing the breath of the two services' music library. Here are the results:
The table tallies the number of albums that were listed under each artist on each of the music services. The result in terms of total albums was a tie: 86 to 86. However, MOG faired better in the number of artists with at least one album: 16 to 13.
Thumbplay's iPhone app is more polished, but MOG's was just released a couple of days ago, and they are actively working on it.
The race is tight so far, but how does each service stand out and how do they differ? Short answer: MOG is focus on the web experience while Thumbplay is more focused on the desktop experience. MOG has a web-based UI, and social features such as sharable playlists, and blog posts. Thumbplay has a native UI, which should integrate better with the Apple Remote, but seems to lag behind in social features. I personally like the social features in MOG, and am thinking about doing a music listening blog within it.
Both services do not seem to limit the number of computers or devices you use with it, however, both of them allow you to stream to only one of them at a time.
As of now, MOG is my favorite. However, it's still early days. There are big players waiting to get into the game(Apple, Spotify), and it's anyone's game.