Besides industry giants Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music, there are a few more niche services on the music streaming market. One of them is Tidal, the platform focused on high-fidelity, lossless audio. The latest version of the streaming service's Android app gains a new ability that's been part of Spotify for ages: You can finally organize playlists in folders.
During its first 2021 event yesterday, Apple announced "the next chapter of podcasting" with its Apple Podcasts Subscriptions. It's a new platform for podcasters that allows them to monetize their shows using subscription fees — conveniently only available to consumers through the Apple Podcasts app. Apple positions the new monetization method as separate premium products in addition to existing free or ad-supported podcasts, and there are already tons of studios and independent podcasters lining up to become part of the service.
The move is just part of a larger trend in the podcasting world, mostly kicked off by Spotify. The music streaming service is picking up more and more exclusives, holding some of our favorite content hostage with its terrible app in the process.
Square, the company that makes those little portable payment machines you use when you're in a small restaurant or paying for a caricature, is buying Tidal, that music streaming service that's obsessed with audio quality. If it seems like an odd match, consider that musicians often need to get paid in non-traditional ways—that's how it's being pitched in the official announcement, anyway.
YouTube music still lacks a few features compared to other streaming services, especially its predecessor Google Play Music. It is slowly improving as things are added and bugs are fixed, though. One of the more annoying aspects of YouTube Music is how your library is handled, but Google is now testing a Library Tracks playlist that should go some way to ease the issue.
It's been more than two years since Amazon Music made its first appearance on Android TV, but at the time, the service was restricted to the Nvidia Shield TV. That is no longer the case, as the app is now available for all Google TV and Android TV sets, set-top boxes, consoles, and soundbars.
Those who listen to music on Spotify may have wanted to look at lyrics at one point or another. For many of them, Genius's "Behind the Lyrics" experience, which only gave some lyrics alongside a big dose of trivia for some songs, hasn't cut the mustard. But after years of demand, the streaming company has relented, confirming that it is testing a full lyrics experience in the U.S.
Targeted advertising is often incredibly spot-on, leading some people to believe that social networks and advertisers are using their phones' microphones to spy on them. While that's just a myth, Spotify appears to be exploring the possibilities offered from listening to its subscribers. The company filed a patent detailing how it could use microphones to determine people's "emotional state, gender, age, or accent," according to Music Business Worldwide.
This story was originally published and last updated .
I've been a loyal Spotify user since what feels like the year the service launched, and a premium subscriber since 2014. Spotify premium has tons of great extra features, and I absolutely think it's worth the money if you're considering a paid music streaming subscription. But as I've been spending a lot more time at home of late, I've started watching a lot more YouTube, and the various pre-roll and mid-roll ads were starting to grate on me. Of course, you can remove those ads—by signing up for YouTube Premium. But that would also give me access to YouTube Music, meaning I'd technically be paying for two music services.
While Google shunned kids from using its music streaming service when it sunset Play Music, Spotify only recently launched a dedicated app for children, Spotify Kids. The application only consists of hand-picked, child-friendly audio content and comes with a more playful UI. Now Spotify has announced that it's adding support for shared playlists, allowing parents to share their favorite music with their kids.
Google killed Play Music in October 2020, a service many people loved for one feature in particular: its online music file locker with uploaded songs that seamlessly integrated with Play Music's streaming catalog. You could also just add titles you own and listen to them without ever having to pay a dime. Luckily, there are a few alternatives that replicate some of Play Music's capabilities, including its successor YouTube Music.