The streaming music scene seems like it's ruled by a few heavyweights, with Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio slugging it out for your hearts, minds, and eardrums. But that's only part of the picture. Just as several lower-profile video streaming services vie with the likes of Netflix and Hulu, music streaming services you've probably never heard of are looking for ways to make their mark with features the established players don't offer.
Which subscription music service will emerge as the next Spotify or Pandora? We've spotted five interesting alternatives that bring their own unique twist to music stream.
Like Pandora, Jango lets you create personalized radio stations based on an artist or song you want to hear. Simply type an artist or song into the search box, and Jango starts playing music that fits the bill. The service offers apps for Android and iOS as well as a decent Web interface providing lyrics, information about the artist, and even the ability to watch the music video when available.
Jango's a free service, which means ads. And unlike some of it's rivals, there's no way to buy your way out of them. That said, Jango takes a slightly different approach than Pandora or Slacker Radio do with ads: Instead of serving them up after a certain number of songs, Jango offers one video and/or audio ad per day. (Artist promotions are strewn throughout Jango, though.) The ads aren't particularly off-putting, though I wish there was an option to get rid of them by buying a premium subscription.
What's good about Jango: Sound quality can be a subjective thing, but I appreciated what I heard on Jango. Music streams fast, and Jango offers unlimited skips, something that frequent streaming listeners often cite as one of the most annoying parts of streaming radio.
What could be better: Jango's music catalog is fairly robust, but it's a bit smaller than what you'll get from more widely known services.
Boasting a library of more than 20 million songs, StationDigital offers curated stations; users can also create a station of their own based on a particular song or artist. The service offers apps for Android and iOS; it says Windows Phone and BlackBerry apps are coming soon. Listening via a browser treats you to karaoke-style lyrics that follow along with the currently playing song.
You'll experience ads if you listen for free, but StationDigital also lets you pay up for a premium subscription — $4 per month, or $36 for the year — that removes ads while offering higher-quality audio and fewer listening interruptions during the day. Premium subscribers also get access to a desktop application for listening to StationDigital without a web browser. Both the cost of the subscription and what it gets you are comparable to what's available from out subscription services.
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