Finding the Right Stream [Tall Drink of Nerd] Aug08

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Finding the Right Stream [Tall Drink of Nerd]

When Spotify came to the U.S. scene a few months back, every one started jumping up and down about this genius, streaming music device that would change their dull and dreary lives. I gave Spotify a wary once over, but added my name to their list for an oh-so-special invitation and waited for my golden ticket to audio wonderland; while listening to MOG on my Droid.

You see, this Spotify craze wasn’t that super exciting to me. Sure, it’s from England and has that dreamy accent, but it’s old news. I’ve been in love with streaming music for over 6 months. Way back in the early days, of November 2010, I upgraded from my old fashioned Sanyo 3810 flip phone to a Droid Incredible. It was one smart phone. After lugging both phone and iPod to the gym for 10 days, I decided to leave the iPod at home and try the Incredible’s free music app, Double Twist. It sucked. The app seemed to choose random songs to upload from my library to the phone. I had no control over what was selected and then, no motivation to go those 5 extra minutes on the treadmill after a soothing rendition of “Meditation for Sleep” came through my headphones.

So, I started researching streaming music apps for HTC Droids. There were a ton of free trials available, after a Google search of the top-rated apps, I gave these three a whirl.

First I tried Pandora. Pandora is an old friend of mine. The online radio station has been with me through several ill-fated office type jobs, soothing, in the background while a variety of bosses drove me insane. The Pandora app for Incredible is free, even after the trial. That sounded like a great price-point. Here comes the but; while you can customize the radio stations you want to listen to, it’s still radio. You can’t choose specific albums or songs as they come to mind. Pandora was quickly uninstalled.

Next came MOG.  After the 2 week free trial, I fell in love with MOG. I signed up and paid them $9.99 a month for the primo plan (they have a $4.99 a month plan for just computer access) What I loved about MOG was: New Releases are available immediately, you can listen to an entire album, they also have a Pandora style radio program, the search function allows you to find that one particular song that is stuck in your head and the actual song pops up so you can hear it for real. They have both obscure and obvious music. I can listen to My Chemical Romance, Nina Simone, Bad Company or Imelda May.

I always wanted to be really into music, but haven’t ever had the capital to invest in a lot of CDs. Folks like Ernessa make me envious, with an encyclopedic knowledge of old and new artists. This is where the streaming folks are genius. I’m not stealing, the artist gets paid and I can sew my audio wild-oats. The downsides are; the quality of the sound isn’t spectacular, the MOG app doesn’t quit unless you sign out over and over and over, about 10-12 times. The app is still buggy, which is a lot more common with Droid apps than iPhone apps. (You’ve won this round iPhone!)

Around this time, I got my Spotify invite. Oh joy! So I decided to set my beloved MOG on the bench and light up my life with another free trial. Then I discovered, Spotify doesn’t have an app for the Incredible. They’re writing apps for Droids, but not for me.

Onto the next candidate in our streaming pool, Rhapsody. I loaded Rhapsody on the Incredible, signed in for my 30 day(!) free trial and started browsing. Like MOG, they have new releases, a bunch of artists and a radio function. Unlike MOG, they have radio stations already set up with names like “Ban the Bland” and, the one I use while doing cardio, “High Voltage”. This morning I worked out to “Hell Bent for Leather” by Judas Priest and then smoothly transitioned to “Voodoo Child” with Jimi Hendrix. I kicked that stepmill’s ass!

Rhapsody is a bit more expensive ($14.99/mo for 3 devices), but the sound quality is ever so much better, cleaner and smoother. They have a larger artist pool than MOG. Plus MOG, only allows use on one device at a time. Rhapsody lets both my husband and myself listen, on the same account, on our separate smarty-pants phones and jam out at the same, exact time.

So I’m enrapt with Rhapsody. For now. Let me know if any of you got invited to Spotify. What’s your opinion on the new British invasion? Any other streaming services I’m missing out on?