Music is a very integral part of our lives; it expresses the unspeakable and sends a message only understood by emotions through a beautiful mix of different tones and rhythms. Music is a wonderful thing, really. Imagine a life where there is no form of music, not even the most basic of rhythms – life would be eerily empty. There would be no constant droning of machinery, there will be no soothing tones from the birds; it’s like half a life that has disappeared.
Music serves as a lot of different things in our lives. It seeks to entertain us by the various different genres and singers; it helps us to speak out messages and things we can never ever put into words, and it keeps us company during the loneliest times. It is an incredibly beautiful thing, really. And now, thanks to smartphones and the Internet, we can enjoy great music wherever and whenever we want.
The Power of Smartphone Apps
You see, with the coming of iPods and other MP3 players, many people can carry their entire music collection around with them. When smartphones came about, the music player and phone became a single unified device – we never needed to carry around several different devices ever again!
In the past most music we listen to had to be purchased either digitally or from physical copies in stores (and then ripped and transferred over to your smartphone or music player); but today there is a strong rise in the popularity of streaming apps. Netflix is one great example; a company that does its business by streaming movies and TV shows to subscribers.
Fortunately, the same can be said for music as well; subscribers to music streaming services will be able to listen to a ton of music by paying a basic fee monthly or annually. These also come in the form of apps that you can download on your smartphone or use on your computer. But Music apps on smartphones aren’t all about music streaming; there are also some music playing apps that play music better than their stock counterparts that are already pre-installed in the smartphones.
What list of music apps would be complete without including Spotify in the list? Spotify is one of the best and most affordable music streaming service in the world. The service began in 2006 Sweden and has since expanded largely across the globe in many different countries and regions. The Spotify app on smartphones, be it either on Android or iOS, features a very simplistic design that is very user-friendly – enabling users to get to their music easily.
Spotify has several features in its app that make it not only functional, but fun to use. Users can listen to new music with their Discovery Weekly playlists that curate music suitable to your tastes to you; or you can even go for a run and use the Running feature that plays music to match your current pace. Spotify is available for subscription at only RM14.90 per month, or RM22.40 for your family (of up to 5 persons) – or you can just listen free with the occasional advertisement.
Google Play Music
Google Play Music has been around for quite a while as well, and many will notice the app already sitting pre-installed in their Android smartphones. Google Play Music offers music streaming to their subscribers that they can listen to without ads and also download for offline listening from over 30 million songs. 
Google Play Music also allows people to digitally purchase songs, which are stored in the cloud so that you can either stream or download to your device (even without subscription). Besides acting as a gateway to purchasing and subscribing to music streaming however, Google Play Music also lets its users upload their own library of songs (up to 50,000!) to store in the cloud for streaming and backup. The downside? The Google Play Music service is only available in the USA.
Apple Music
Apple Music service is built from the very know-how of Apple’s iTunes store, iTunes Radio, and Beats Music, which they had acquired. Like the other music streaming services, Apple Music offers subscribers over 30 million songs which they can stream.
Through the app, subscribers can discover new music through the “For You” category, which builds playlists based on your listening habits; there are also songs and albums that are released on Apple Music first. The user interface of the Apple Music app is also incredibly intuitive and user friendly. If you’re interested, you can give Apple Music a three months’ free trial; or you can get an individual membership at USD 3.99 per month, or for your family of up to 6 persons at only USD 5.99 per month, it definitely has slightly better value compared to others like Spotify. Check out iPhone 6 price. 
TuneIn Radio
TuneIn Radio is a service that’s free to download on either your Android or iOS smartphones. Like its name suggests, TuneIn Radio is basically an Internet radio app that lets you listen to over 100,000 live radio stations from around the world. Users can navigate through the application that is simple to use to browse for the station of their choice; be it a station that plays only a particular genre of music, or a station that places a lot of focus on talk shows. Best of all? High quality content that’s free!
Soundcloud isn’t just a music service as much as it is a community of people who are passionate about music – or sound, in particular. Like its name suggests, Soundcloud is where people upload their works of music or sound up into the cloud, where it is then streamed for listening through the Soundcloud website or app. You will find a lot of different types of music here from really great indie bands with professional top-notch recordings, to budding musicians who are growing in the hall of Internet fame. If you are one of those great hidden talents, you might want to start uploading your own recordings on here – straight from the app on your smartphone itself!
YouTube Music
If listening to music isn’t enough for you and you want to get some awesome visuals in, then you’ll want to check out YouTube Music. YouTube Music is basically a YouTube that is specifically catered towards music enthusiasts and to those who like to watch music videos. YouTube Music, like the original YouTube itself, will give you access to all forms of music content, either from the famous artists and studios, and also new budding artists and indie music bands. The surprisingly loud and decent quality Vivo Y53 will do well for watching and listening to Youtube. Check it out now.
Tidal music streaming service is quite different from the various other music streaming services out there; but not in terms of how they provide the product and carry out business – they’re exactly the same in that sense. How Tidal differs from the rest is the fact that its target audience is the audiophiles who want to listen to only high fidelity music (hi-fi). It’s for those who has got all of the high end audio equipment like top-of-the-line Sennheiser headphones and hi-fi speakers from PMC. Tidal promises to bring music with quality that is CD-quality, meaning that listeners can enjoy the very same quality as they would when they buy a music CD.
The high quality audio definitely comes with a price, however – subscription to Tidal starts at RM14.90 for Tidal Premium which gives you standard sound quality; and RM29.80 will get you the Tidal HiFi, which streams lossless high fidelity music. Both subscriptions also get you access to high definition music videos.
Some of these music services aren’t fully available to many in the Southeast Asian region, but hopefully in the future they will. If you have doubts about wanting to subscribe to these streaming services (for the paid ones), it’s best you give them a try before deciding – most of them offer a month worth of free trial at the very least. Personally, I find these streaming services to be very convenient and affordable way to listen to music, especially in most markets in Southeast Asia where piracy is rampant.