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Music Streaming services

With more and more preferring streaming to downloading music from the likes of Amazon and iTunes, music streaming has never been so popular. It seems every day a new service pops up and currently Sonos integrates with 25 streaming services!

We've summarised the most popular streaming choices to help you find the best one(s) to suit you. Here we have focused purely on integration and use with Sonos and ignored uses outside of Sonos.

Napster £10 per month  

A personal favorite of ours, Napster arguably started the whole music streaming craze back in 1999 when I was in short trousers an it was an illegal activity to download from its file sharing site. Times have since changed and Napster is now a serious streaming service with a lot to offer music lovers in search of old favorites or new music.
As such it has makes a big play of music discovery, with a 'Featured' playlists, featuring created content from Napster’s music experts. As well as ‘popular charts’ and preset playlists, spanning many genres and sub genres. Techno Tribal anyone?
The streaming bitrate of 192kbps lets it down a little, but only those with a very good ear (and system) will hear the difference between Napster and Spotify.

Spotify £10 per month   

Without doubt the most popular streaming service available, with over 40 million active users and growing, it looks like it’ll be most popular for while too.
It leads the way in terms of content (over 20 million tracks available and around 20,000 added daily) often offering exclusive releases, music recommendations and the ability to share playlists with other Spotify users.
For use with Sonos require Premium subscription to Spotify, which gives access to their music library in 320kbps playback, although this is the best quality MP3 stream available it can’t quite match Qobuz, but overall sound quality is very good.
Every new Sonos system has a hassle-free 30 day trial of Napster built into it so it is certainly worth a try.

Qobuz £20 per month

Qobuz aims to bring audiophile quality to the world of streaming with 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC-quality playback. The sound quality is CD quality, and when paired with good speakers and a good amplifier, you can really hear the difference, it is head and shoulders above the rest.
While the 14 million track library may sound vast, it is not as comprehensive as others, missing certain albums compared with the rest.
This is for pure music enthusiasts who know what they are looking for, it makes virtually no attempt at music recommendation!
It is sound quality that really counts here or if you are a classical music lover, it is the closest to hi-fi quality streaming as you will get!

Google Play Music £10 per month   

Recently integrated with Sonos Google Play Music is set to become the default streaming serice for Sonos owners. Offering a big library, and good sound quality at 320kbps, smart recommendations and (drum roll please…) the ability to access your own music library of up to 20,000 tracks in the cloud. No more PC on to listen to your own music, bye bye NAS drive.
Google will scan your music folder, find its own versions of the tracks in the cloud and then give you access to all your music across.
It is also possible to stream direct from the Google Play app to a Sonos device, the first music app to enable this feature.

Deezer £10 per month   

Created in Paris, France, Deezer is a very popular service with those hailing from outside the UK. It's available in 182 countries, more than three times the number of countries in which you'll find Spotify.
With over 30 million tracks it has, by quite some margin, the most comprehensive library of any music streaming service. Sound quality is great too. With 320kbps playback Jean Michel Jarre will have never sounded so good!

Rdio £10 per month   

Rdio streams at up to 192kbps has a strong catalogue of over 20million tracks you more than pretty likely to find what you are after and it has great social features like the ability to see what friends are playing. Have a favourite artist who has impeccable music tastes, you can see what those artists are listening to as well.

Verdict

As far as music streaming through Sonos goes, there isn't really a bad choice to make. Our personal preference is Napster, forgoing those few kbps in favour of the music discovery experience. A neat feature of Napster that seems to be overlooked by some of the others, is the ability to share the same account between all family members. Why spend upwards of £20 per month with Spotify, when Napster can handle more than one device streaming simultaneously. Spotify and Google Play Music are extremely popular with Sonos users, and for good reason, their integration is superb and with 320kbps, it’s almost as good as it gets. If however you are after the best sounding streaming music available, look no further than Qobuz, the 16bit FLAC streams are sensational. However at £20 per month it is not just the stream quality that stands head and shoulders above the rest.

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