In today's media-driven world, music streaming has become a hot market-and Pandora is one of the leading names in that market.
A subsidiary of Pandora Media, Inc., Pandora was founded in January 2000 by Tim Westergren, Will Glaser, and Jon Kraft. Its current CEO is Brian P. McAndrews. While its headquarters are in Oakland, California, the business streams music for people all over the United States as well as in New Zealand and Australia. More than 1,300 employees strong, Pandora has 26 office locations and (as of 2012) brings in about $274 million in revenue.
If you've used Pandora at all, you may have heard of an effort called the Music Genome Project.
Doesn't ring a bell?
The project is basically the effort of music analysts to study every facet of every genre of music-all in the effort to anticipate what song you, the user, would want to hear next. These analysts examine more than 400 musical traits of each and every song. Considered "musicologists," they typically have a four-year degree in music theory, composition, or performance.
With this extensive background, the people on the Music Genome Project use their expertise to not only master your personal listening preferences but also introduce you to music you'd probably love. In this vein, Pandora is an excellent resource for streaming music you already like and discovering new tunes.
So what can you expect with Pandora?
For starters, their basic version is ad-supported-a.k.a. free to users. To sign up, you enter your email address, gender, zip code, and birth year and create a password to sign in. After that, you can browse stations that are based on songs, artists, genres, and occasions. While listening, you can click the familiar thumbs up or down, and Pandora will keep track of your likes and dislikes and base their suggestions off of those.
One of the big names in the music streaming industry, Spotify was founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek and co founder Martin Lorentzon. It didn't launch, however, until October 2008-and back then it was called Spotify AB.
While Spotify is quite popular today among United States users, it actually launched in Sweden first. Two years after the launch, it had acquired about 10 million users, and two years after that (2012), that number doubled to 20 million. As of 2014, the company boasts 50 million active users.
Talk about rapid growth!
When Spotify first launched, it wasn't the most accessible streaming service around. People could only use it if they received an invitation to create an account, and even then they were required to pay for the account. Nothing was free. After a few months, however, the people at Spotify wanted to develop a free version-which led to the options users enjoy today. About 12.5 million people pay for a subscription to use Spotify while the rest enjoy free (ad-supported) streaming.
What makes Spotify unique?
Unlike some competitors, Spotify doesn't just feed you preselected songs. It lets you hand-select songs you're in the mood for. What's more, you can download songs from Spotify and listen to them offline on your device. Spotify syncs with a variety of platforms too, including the Web, Android, iOS, and Windows.
Signing up for Spotify is much more accessible now that the company is older. To do so, you just create a username and password and then enter your email address, date of birth, and gender. You'll also need to download Spotify on your device in order to play songs. With over 30 million tracks to offer, you'll hardly run out of options.
Despite its current popularity in the US, Spotify didn't become available there until 2011. More than 1,200 employees strong, it now reaches more than 50 languages and operates in 60 different countries. Its worldwide headquarters are in Stockholm, Sweden, and London, UK, and its US headquarters are in New York, New York.
Thanks to technology behemoth Apple, a new Internet radio station is available. Apple’s latest creation is Beats 1, which brings nonstop music to your computer or portable electronic device. With Beats 1 you can stream a wide variety of music and listen to it where you want, when you want to your heart’s content.
Beats 1 comes with an attractive, low monthly price and the ability to put multiple people on one account. That way, you and your family members or friends can enjoy on-demand music as you please.
Apple Music's Beats 1 is the new baby of iTunes and Beats Music combined.
iHeartRadio is an Internet radio platform. Since its creation in 2008, the service has expanded its offerings to include music recommendations, customizable stations, podcasts, and a radio network with content from more than 800 iHeartMedia stations across the United States. In 2014, iHeartRadio introduced the iHeartRadio Music Awards, which continue to attract hosts of popular artists. In 2015, artists Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, and Sam Smith won the “Innovator,” “Artist of the Year,” and “Best New Artist” awards, respectively. iHeartRadio regularly hosts concerts in Los Angeles and New York City, with ticket contests featured across the 800 stations.
Since its founding in 1998, Google as a corporation has helped changed the way we research, shop, get directions, find entertainment, and even interact. Created not even two decades ago by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the company has since become so much more than the search engine it originally was. It has developed functions such as Google Maps, Google Books, Google Docs, and of course the popular Gmail.
But amidst all of these innovations, Google also stepped into the music industry and, in May 2011, announced that it would create Google Play Music, a way for consumers to buy and download songs.
Launched in November of that year, Google Play Music was available at first by invitation only to US residents during the months it was being developed. Over time Google slowly added more features to it, including a music store and the ability to share music through social media or even publish your own songs. They also beefed up their library by adding labels like Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group.
But that was just the beginning of Google's role as a music provider.
Two years later, in May 2013, they announced that they would be adding All Access to their repertoire, a music streaming service that would include Google Play's library and become available via a paid subscription. Today All Access is available in 58 countries, and it offers pretty attractive benefits to anyone willing to sign up.
Whether or not you're already an avid customer of Google, with a Gmail account or frequent visits to Google News, All Access is worth looking into.
A leader in the music streaming industry, Rhapsody got its start in 1999 when founder Tim Bratton teamed up with J. P. Lester, Sylvain Rebaud, Alexandre Brouaux, Nick Sincaglia, and Dave Lampton to create an engine that could stream music online. They used this engine in two different radio services called TuneTo.com and Aladdin, both of which were eventually bought out.
In 2001 Aladdin became what we now call Rhapsody.
Rhapsody was officially launched in December of that year and became the first streaming service to offer unlimited, on-demand listening for a flat rate. They continued to build up their catalog with different music labels as well.
Until 2010 RealNetworks was the parent company of Rhapsody until Rhapsody became its own independent business. Within a year of becoming independent, they gained about 100,000 new subscribers. In October 2011 they began to pursue taking control of the famous Napster, a company that many people used to stream music with until other competitors emerged.
With headquarters in Seattle, Washington, Rhapsody (and now Napster) also has offices in San Francisco, California; New York, New York; and, oddly enough, Frankfurt, Germany.
Interested in streaming with them? Getting started with Rhapsody is simple.
Before you create an account, you'd need to decide between two types of accounts:
Once you decide which account you prefer, you sign up by providing your email address, creating a password, and agreeing to their terms of service (such as your billing date and other logistics). If you do choose Rhapsody, here are the pros and cons you'll run into.
The summer of 1994 saw the creation of a company that has largely changed the way we shop, read, give gifts, and even view media. Amazon.com, founded by Jeff Bezos, started out as a mere resource for buying books. Based out of Seattle, Washington, the website filled orders for people in 50 states and 45 countries-all in its first 30 days of doing business! And today, it is run by more than 97,000 employees.
Needless to say, Amazon became popular fast. And it has only grown tremendously since then.
Over the years, Amazon has continued to cover more ground and in September 2007 began including music services, such as buying and downloading tracks. Music streaming, however, didn't become an Amazon service until June 2014.
In other words, Amazon streaming is very new but still very convenient for certain consumers.
If you have an Amazon Prime account, or if you're thinking of getting one, listen up. Prime Music, as they call it, is now available for all Amazon Prime members in the United States-at no additional cost to your membership!