Spotify vs Google “All Access”

Last week, I posted about pitting spotify (premium) against the newly announced “Google All Access”, and today I am going to post an update.

To be fair, I have only been using it for 4 or so days now, but the one thing that drove me nuts about using my collection in Play was that it would skip, stutter and freeze periodically.  And by periodically, I mean at least once an hour. I figured that Google would have addressed that by now, with their play to go large and challenge Spotify.

But the skips, pauses, stutters, and even long freezes (up to a minute at a time) are still plaguing the service.  I have submitted feedback, but naturally no response (I expect none, as Google is notorious for their lack of direct support).

I am not sure how much this is caused by it running in a tab on my Chrome browser, versus Spotify’s dedicated application. This is all on my PC (HP Elitebook 8640p, core i5, with 16 G ram, and my work network). But Spotify either does a better job of routing packets to me, or queuing up a buffer to avoid the follies of internet packet delivery.

It is a shame, as I was grooving on the All Access radio stations. Their matching algorithms aren’t as good as Pandora, but they aren’t bad. And having my 18K files in their storage means that even the artists that don’t do streaming will be mixed in with my radio selections. (I could do that with Spotify, but I would need to dedicate 120G of disk locally for it, a big negative).

So, I am back to Spotify, and enjoying their service, and performance.  I will continue to try the Google service, on my Nexus 7. Maybe with an Android native app it will be better?

Google’s “All Access” vs. Spotify Round 1

I have written in the past about the music “locker” services. I have been a user of Amazon, Google’s Play, and Apple’s iTunes Match.

But I have actually gone to using Spotify pretty much across the board. They have a great library, very deep, and lots of great genre’s to experiment with and explore. Since my work laptop has limited free space, I have pretty much resigned myself to streaming.

I joined spotify when they came to the US, and I liked it.  I didn’t like the ads and the really bad recommendations they made (I am pretty sure I only listen to a top 40 song by accident), but the streaming was solid, and they had a lot of music on tap.  THe recently got “Metallica” in their inventory. Of course, I pay the $9.95 a month to get the premium service. Syncing files to my iPhone, and their application on my PC and Mac work quite well, with very few glitches.

Apple’s iTunes Match was a distant second. Not on my mac, but on my PC, the iTunes application pretty much sucks donkey balls. Slow, resource heavy, and when I was streaming music, there was lots of stuttering and dead spaces. Groan.  Of course, I have all my music in the Google Play service. But their streaming, while better than Apple was still third rate compared to Spotify.

Now Google has launched their “All Access” streaming service for about the same price as Spotify premium. I signed up today, and will exercise it for the full 30 days before deciding whether to drop it or Spotify.

So far, it has been pretty good, and it does mix in items from my collection that are not licensed for streaming (Led Zeppelin, and Paul Gilbert are two I note.) But a downside is that it runs in the browser.  I may be a luddite, but I prefer it to be a sticky application (like spotify), and not something that will cut off if I have to quit Chrome (which happens with too much regularity).

I will report back a few times to share how the test goes.