Stream On! Music Streaming Services for Whole Home Music Systems
How we listen to music has been constantly evolving since the invention of the Gramophone in 1887, but the last few decades have seen some truly huge shifts in how we enjoy music. The internet brought us a free-for-all land of pirated music that largely soured the music world on digital media. iTunes eventually provided the alternative model that allowed people to easily purchase music digitally and paved the way for digital music to become the mainstream distribution model.
While they weren’t the first streaming services, Pandora and Spotify both paved the way for the idea that you don’t have to own your music library, you can have access to most of the music available in the world as long as you don’t mind paying a low monthly fee. Streaming services have also revolutionized the way whole-home audio systems work. Read on to see what streaming services we see our clients using the most.
Pandora may be the first streaming service to have seen real commercial success, and for good reason. Pandora uses algorithms and a complex method for sorting songs to help listeners easily access music that they like. The biggest upside to Pandora is that once you add a few songs or artists you like, it does the rest. If you want to press a button and let the music come to you, Pandora may be a great option for you. Pandora has one of the smaller music libraries of the big services, but it uses it to deliver a great experience for those who don’t want to choose each song themselves.
Spotify and Pandora both offer a free model that is ad supported, or a paid version that provides an ad free experience. Other than that, they differ greatly in experience. Spotify is ideal for someone that wants access to a huge music library and wants to actively select the music they hear. Spotify offers playlists and music stations similar to Pandora, but it takes a little more work to enjoy Spotify as you would Pandora.
For whole home music the biggest downside to Spotify is Spotify Connect, a feature designed to let you use your device as a remote, instead of the actual source of the music. For smarter systems like Savant, Elan and Control4 this becomes less convenient, and simply adds another layer of complication.
Tidal is pretty new to the streaming game and is already available on almost all whole home music systems. Tidal functions much like Spotify but is easier to navigate from a music system since it doesn’t require the use of an interface like Spotify Connect. Tidal’s biggest claim to fame is the quality of the audio they offer. Tidal streams simply sound better, and Tidal offers “Tidal Masters” tracks, hi-res recordings that will provide a great experience on even the nicest sound systems.
There are plenty of other services out there, including the rapidly growing Apple Music and Amazon Music services, but Pandora, Spotify and Tidal have proven most popular among our clients. They provide great services and work with most distributed audio systems, such as Savant and Control4. If you love streaming music in your car but aren’t enjoying it the same way in your home, please reach out to your local BRAVAS office today to learn how we can help you live, work and play better in your home.