At the start of this review, I was simultaneously excited and frustrated. Now I'm just plain excited. For a bit of context, I have been bouncing between cloud music services since Lala was still a thing. I had one simple desire: I wanted to pay a monthly fee for unfettered access to a large library of content, but still wanted to be able to bring my own. I know that $10/month is not going to get me every song in existence, but if I can pay for most music, and then supply the rest, I'll be happy.
On the eve of I/O, Google managed to finalize deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment to bring a music subscription service to both YouTube and Google Play, according to a report by The Verge that is now being corroborated by The Wall Street Journal. If everything goes smoothly, a preview or launch of the new service tomorrow isn't out of the question. The Journal similarly says the streaming solution could launch "as soon as this week." That would give Google a substantial leg up over Apple, which is still in the process of negotiating contracts for its own music streaming solution.
Spotify's bringing it down to the flo'. Nah, not really, but kind of. The crew behind the venerable music service has released an app update on Google Play, and among bug fixes and a playlist-sorting enhancement, a unique feature is listed in the changelog: "This app looks great in trousers."
The most significant change is playlist and track sorting. The app also now remembers what you were listening to when you last logged out.
Well, this is exciting. We knew it was only a matter of time before El Goog decided to get into the music streaming biz, and according to the Wall Street Journal, the company is currently in talks with several record labels to fire up a Spotify-esque service.
If true, the service is said to become part of Google Music, which only makes sense. Currently, Music allows users upload their own music libraries and stream them from any web browser or Android device, and the addition of a streaming service would likely give users access to unlimited music outside of that collection for a monthly fee.
As if there weren't enough contenders out there for music subscription service, Slacker Radio has updated its business model. You can still get the standard ad-supported radio station features that were always available. However the company has added a Spotify-like buffet option for $10/month. Pony up the dough and you can remove all ads and listen to as many tracks as you want.
The combination is pretty powerful, as one of the biggest complaints over Spotify is its discovery problems.
Today, Spotify's Android app received an update that should please audiophiles the world over (where available): if you're using the mobile app on Ice Cream Sandwich or above, you can now access an equalizer from the Settings menu. The features is actually called "Audio Effects" in 4.0, but on Jelly Bean it's been changed to the more readily-recognizable "Equalizer" moniker.
Also new is the ability to share music via NFC.
The Spotify Android app typically lags behind not only its counterpart on other platforms, but even its own desktop app. One of the nicest features that the streaming service offers on the desktop is its Radio services. Using your own selections as a starting point, Spotify will put together automated playlists based on your taste. You know, like Pandora. As of today's update, the Radio functions are not only available on mobile but are even accessible even if you don't have Spotify Premium.
The "freemium" music streaming service Spotify has had great success on the desktop and on iOS, but its Android offering has always been rather lacking, with an extremely dated-looking application that did no justice to the greatness of the service itself. Back in April, Spotify made its first motions towards bringing the app up to speed with a public beta of a rather pretty Holo-themed application for Android 4.0, and now that beta has borne fruit.
If you're one of the many who jumped on the Spotify bandwagon when it finally showed up in the U.S., then you'll be happy to know that the Spotify folks have been working on a new build that will bring a whole new interface and full support for ICS devices.
- Totally new app with full support for Android 4.0
- Top-to-bottom redesign
- All-new slide-out navigation
- Even more social - check out friends’ profile pages and playlists on the go
- Artist imagery in high resolution
- Related artist view - available for the first time on mobile
- 'Extreme' sound quality setting for 320kbps listening
- So much faster!
SoundTracking made its jump from iOS onto the Android Market today boasting a new, Android exclusive (for now), feature. As the name indicates, this app allows you to keep track of songs you're listening to and post them to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare for your friends to see and comment on. Included with your post will be a snippet of the song, a photo, and your geo-location.