Cheap, legal music options

Jade Izaguirre, Campus Carrier Assistant Entertainment Editor

You don’t have to pay per song  in order to enjoy music legally. With music subscription services, you only pay a flat monthly price to enjoy unlimited access to commercial-free music at home and on the go.   

Spotify.pngSpotify offers approximately 20 million songs, and is known mostly for its feature that lets you create your own station based on a single track, artist, or playlist.

While Spotify offers a free option to listen to music with the occasional commercial, it offers two different packages for unlimited commercial free music. The cheapest package, “Unlimited,” costs $4.99 a month and allows you to listen to unlimited commercial free music on your laptop and desktop. The second package, “Premium,” cost $9.99 a month and adds on to Unlimited with the feature of being able to listen to your music offline.

Spotify can be accessed via a web player, computer program and Blackberry, Android, Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad and iPhone touch. The Spotify app allows you to add songs to a playlist, sync them to your mobile device and listen to them offline. The apps do have their disadvantages though; synced songs can only be organized based on the time they are added. So if you’d prefer to browse your music alphabetically by artist, album or title, you’re out of luck. 

Spotify offers the option to connect your account to Facebook. If you do this, you have the option of following your friends and seeing what music they are listening to. If this isn’t appealing to you, or if you are a closet One Direction fan, you can easily hide what you’re listening to by turning on “private session.”

Spotify also features a discover mode for both paid and free accounts that allows users to explore music based on their past likes.



Rdio.pngRdio (ar-dee-oh), another music subscription service offering around 20 million songs, offers three  different paid packages as well as a free option. The first package “Web,” is $4.99 a month and gives you unlimited access to ad-free music streaming on a desktop. The second package, “Unlimited” ($9.99 a month), has all the advantages of the first package, but also allows you to sync your music to your mobile device, giving you offline access. As a Berry student, you can opt for a 50 percent student discount, reducing the cost to $4.99 a month for up to 4 years. The third package, “Unlimited Family” ($17.99 a month), allows you to combine two Unlimited accounts.  Third, fourth and fifth accounts can be added to family packages for half price.

Rdio is available in all the same formats as Spotify. The Rdio app allows you to browse your synced music offline on your “collection.”  There your music is organized alphabetically by artist and then by album. Music is only played continuously when songs are from the same album. Another feature of the app is the ability to change songs being played on your Rdio account on your desktop with your mobile device, and vice versa.

One disadvantage to Rdio is if you choose to connect your account to Facebook, privacy is very limited. While there is an option to choose who follows you, there is no private session option, like the one seen in Spotify.


Slacker.pngWith 10 times the number of songs found in Pandora’s library, Slacker is a music subscription service known for its hand-picked rather than algorithm based library.

Like Spotify and Rdio, Slacker has both free and paid versions. Its paid package includes “Radio plus” which is $3.99 a month. Radio plus includes ad-free listening, unlimited song skipping, access to ABC news station, access to ESPN radio, and the option to sync your customized station to your mobile for offline listening.

The second paid package is “Premium” ($9.99 a month). Premium offers all the features of Radio plus as well as the option to listen to any song or album on demand and create and sync playlists to your mobile.

Slacker is available in all of the same formats as Spotify and Rdio. While Slacker’s formats are just as diverse as Spotify and Rdio, its mobile apps are not all created equal. Some features, such as the ability to listen to customized stations offline and the ability to sync playlist to your mobile device, are not yet available on all smartphone platforms.

Unlike Spotify and Rdio, Slackers most basic features can be used without having to set up an account.   However, if you like thes idea of sharing your music collection with your friends, then you are in luck. Slacker also features the ability to set up an account using Facebook or Google Plus (for those of you who actually use Google Plus). For those who are more private about your music listening history, there is also the option to set up an account with just your email address.

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