Google Music vs Spotify – my first impressions

Having not blogged for a while, not through lack of wanting to, just far tooooo busy. I thought I’d take a few minutes to scribble down my thoughts on Google Music after I’d managed to convince Google to give me a Google Music Account (registration involved having a US VPN up and some tinkering with details) – I am in the UK and the Service is currently reserved for US people only, but not wanting to miss out I managed to sign up and trial the service.

I’m on the 1 month free trial and I’m able to view the whole catalog and offline songs to my android device. If I don’t cancel the trial I’ll get billed $7.99 a month in July.

I’ve been paying £10 a month for Spotify since 2009 and have always been very happy with the service, applications and quality.  Google music is a very different interface than what I’m used to on Spotify – I like the layout of Google with it’s tiled album covers. The navigation can feel a bit odd and isn’t all that intuitive. ‘My Library’ or ‘Playlists’ seem to be the same thing just viewed in different ways in 2 different pots – weird.

The music selection seems Ok, I think right now they have slightly different catalogs (regional record label licenses), but that’s partly due to Spotify being my UK account and I’m registered on Google Music as US.

I prefer the ‘explore’ option on Google Music to discover new music or browse (incl new releases) and with their album covers and tabs, it’s easier to navigate than Spotify who have limited items in the New Release section. Google are big on vivid album covers and bold clear menu options. But I prefer the layout, structure of drag & drop playlists in Spotify – especially in the App which I use on my home PC or I use on my Squeezeboxes.  Also, Spotify does have the plus side of Spotify Apps, which provide varied ways of viewing, discovering and organising music which is a plus.

As for for the Android Mobile Applications.
The tiles, albums covers and searching on Google Music is better. But visibility of playlists, adding to playlists and offline function of music is better on Spotify – it’s annoying when you can’t outright pick one better option and two good services have different parts from each you prefer.  I will continue to play with both services and see if I can find a preference, but either way they’re both better than Rdio.

Google Music Menu

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