We already know that the Softonic editors don’t wind up the gramophone after a hard day in the office, so how do they listen to their music? Especially when you’re out and about, it’s hard to strike the balance between quality, variety and ease.
Niamh Lynch, editor: I have pretty mainstream tastes, so a premium subscription to Spotify does me fine. I listen on my iPhone, which is broken, so right now I can only access my offline playlists. I’ve also got a few random albums and mixes downloaded elsewhere available via the iOS Music app, and I listen to them in times of dire necessity, although they’re mainly children’s music and Christmas carols, which isn’t necessarily what you want on a Monday morning.
Lewis Leong, editor: I listen to music on my Android phone using an app called Poweramp. I prefer this app to Google Music because it’s highly customizable and plays FLAC files. Streaming apps like Spotify don’t sound very good, so I prefer to listen to my own music collection. Poweramp includes an easy-to-use equalizer and tone controls to compensate for crappy headphones. There are a ton of themes for Poweramp so you can make it look how you want. It also includes more advanced features like lyrics, ratings, tags, and gesture controls. If you want an audio player that can do it all, give Poweramp a try.
Chris Park, editor: Since I mainly listen to Korean music, I have to buy music through online stores. Streaming music services don’t include the music I like, so I purchase albums digitally and upload them to Google Play Music. This allows me to listen to music on my Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and desktop all synced together. The 20,000 song limit is one of the best features, because I still haven’t run out of space.
Lewis thinks Poweramp is a powerful, but underrated, music app
Suzie Blaszkiewicz, junior editor: My headphone jack is broken, and that’s why I don’t listen to music on my iPhone 4. On top of that, my 16GB phone has almost no free space for music because of all the apps I have installed. If I’m feeling a little obnoxious and want to listen to music using my iPhone’s loud speakers, I usually stream through SoundCloud over Spotify because I don’t have the premium version (pointless if I can’t use headphones), so it’s plagued with commercials and no freedom. I use my trusty 8GB iPod nano during my commute to work and my morning runs.
Jon Riggall, news editor: I use iTunes synced with my Mac. Since I DJ, I buy MP3s, and iTunes is a great way to organize them. I also use the Soundcloud and Mixcloud apps as there is lots of music shared on their I like to use. Recently I’ve been buying more and more music from Bandcamp, and the iOS app is great, with all your purchases available to stream, suggested artists and an excellent weekly radio show ‘BC Weekly’.
James Thornton, editor: For me, you can’t beat Spotify in terms of the amount of features and the catalog of music it has. In my opinion it’s well worth upgrading to premium to enjoy all music wherever you want without ads. Offline listening is a huge bonus for me, as is the Radio feature within the app as it’s the only way I get to discover new (and old) music given that I don’t listen to FM music radio these days.
If you make your own music, SoundCloud can be a great option
Matt Mullarkey-Toner, editor: I listen to all my music on iTunes. I have a pretty big music collection and iTunes makes it easy to access gigabyte upon gigabyte of it. Streaming services like Spotify or Pandora are pretty cool and I listen to them on my PC, but I find that they to use up too much data on my mobile.
Tom Clarke, editor-in-chief: Until recently, I used an iPod Classic to listen to music on the go. But as my iPod gets older and more decrepit, I’ve switched to my phone and I’m quite pleased with the results. I use Spotify quite a lot. I’ve got a premium account and I find the audio quality just about acceptable over 3G (after all, I grew up with cassettes). A big problem with Spotify is that there are a lot of artists and labels that aren’t included in its catalog and I need my Drag City. I also use TuneIn Radio to listen to BBC radio stations, but more for news coverage than music.
Listening to the editors talking about their choices for music on the go, it shows an interesting reflection of what seems to be the status quo about streaming music: it’s good, but it’s not quite good enough if you’re picky about your tunes. Spotify fills the role, but people in the know think the catalog is limited, the quality’s off, and there are questions around how fair it is to artists. For resident audiophiles Jon, Chris, Lewis and Tom, it’s just not good enough.