Monday, August 18, 2014

Spotify Vs Deezer - Which One Will Win My Ears?

I am HUGE music fan. I have been one all my life. I own approximately 750 CDs and last time I checked I had over 5000 mp3s. You get the drift. I used to buy a lot of music instead of streaming it as services like Songza weren't really available until a few years ago. Since Spotify and Pandora were not able to operate in Canada due to copyright constraints, I first started streaming through Last.FM and I made the switch to Deezer's Premium+ Plan ($4.99 per month) a few months back. If you are interested in trying Deezer now is the time to do it. You can either choose to join with their free "discovery" mode (ads are present) or to get the Premium+ plan at 50% off which is quite a bargain compared to their competitors' prices. Another advantage of choosing the premium plan is that you get access to higher quality audio and unlimited streaming on your web browser and mobile.


If you haven't streamed music before I recommend that you give it a try as it will enable you to listen to countless hours of ear pleasing beats while allowing you to discover new artists and sounds you would have otherwise never been exposed to. Most streaming services these days also allow you to create your own radio stations based on a specific song or artist and to even sort music by your current mood or by the activity you are engaging in. As you can see the options are endless.

In this post I will review two of the services which became recently available in Canada: Deezer and Spotify. As I mentioned earlier, I joined Deezer as soon as it became available in Canada as I was eager to find a service that would allow me to stream music both online and through my smartphone. Deezer's interface is very user friendly and it's dashboard is strictly operated through their website and Android/iPhone apps. I wish they would release a native Mac OS client but so far they have not. I listen to a lot of Spanish music and I was glad to see that Deezer could find even the most obscure songs I'd be searching for. I also enjoyed a function known as "flow" in which Deezer will just play music based on your previous choices and favourite artists. Flow is a nice feature when you are unsure of what to play or when you'd like to discover something new.

Deezer's Flow Feature
Another thing I like about Deezer's interface is that it is quite intuitive - it is very easy to heart a song or to share it with another Deezer friend or through social media sites. 

Deezer's Dashboard
Deezer also offers offline mode in case you will be travelling or unable to reach an internet connection. It is easy to discover new music on Deezer as they have professional music curators who create playlists and they also feature users' playlists on their landing page. 

Overall, I was satisfied with my Deezer membership until I checked my inbox one day to find an invite from Spotify to join their pre-launch in Canada. I immediately stopped what I was doing and used my invite code. Please note that if you have a Spotify account with a U.S. address and you'd like to use their services in Canada you may need to contact +SpotifyCares in order to get them to switch your primary country. Alternatively you could just delete your old account and start from scratch. I chose the former option in order to preserve my playlists, followers, etc. I contacted SpotifyCares via Twitter and I got help extremely quickly - bonus points for them! 

The first thing that impressed me about Spotify was the fact that it prompted me right away to download a native Mac OS software. This is a feature I had been wanting from Deezer but it never became available. Not only did Spotify have a mac version, it is also very sleek and user-friendly (for the most part - you'll see why).

Spotify's Mac Software

Something I enjoy about my Spotify experience is that a lot of my friends are already using their service (I think only two or three were on Deezer). Spotify integrates seamlessly with Facebook (only if you want it to - which I did being the social media addict I am) and it allows you to see what your friends have been listening to and to therefore discover new music you may like. I also like how instead of "faveing" an artist like you do in Deezer (kind of impersonal), you actually "follow" artists on Spotify so that you can keep up with their posts and new releases as they happen. 


Spotify's software also has the ability to add "apps" - in other words you can incorporate services like your Last.FM scrobbling account right on the navigation bar. My personal favourite app is called PartiQ through which you can collaboratively create a playlist while being at or hosting a party. I recently did this at one of my events and my guests seemed to really enjoy the ability to add a few songs to the party's playlist. 

Spotify can also keep up with my love for 90's music, synth-pop and Spanish hits. Overall, I am very satisfied with Spotify except for a few things. In a recent release they substituted their "starred tracks" feature with a "+" sign. The "+" sign is a button which allows you to add songs to your library. The starred tracks were basically your favourite tracks on Spotify. This seems a bit redundant (since both features achieve the same result) but the newer "+" feature seems a lot less intuitive for new users. It also seems that on the Android app the starred tracks playlist is available but I cannot seem to find a way to access the songs I "plused" - hopefully that's a feature they are working on - UPDATE: I have now found that "plused" songs can be found under "My Music" in the Android app.  

Notice the + sign at the bottom left?
It would also be great to be able to airplay Spotify to my remote speakers directly through their client (see update below) - I am using Airfoil as a workaround at the moment. My last concern about Spotify versus Deezer is the price. Deezer is currently offering new users a $4.99 monthly package whereas Spotify is still charging $9.99 per month for their upgraded plan without ads. I personally hope they will offer a student discount in Canada like they do in the U.S. and that they'll have some sort of introductory price offer for new Canadian users in order to gain momentum and new accounts.

UPDATE: Here's how to stream from Spotify using Airplay


Overall, my decision has been to cancel my Deezer Premium+ plan for now and give Spotify's 30-day trial a go. My decision may change in the future depending on price and new features. Which streaming service do you prefer and why?

Leave a comment below if you are in Canada and would like an invite to Spotify's pre-launch. I may be able to give you one. 

Thanks for stopping by and happy listening!~



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