What is Samsung Music Hub and how does it compare to Spotify, Lastfm, iTunes and others?

Samsung has launched a music streaming and locker service called Music Hub, and is hoping to take on many of today's biggest and most-popular music streaming services. But what is the new music service all about? How does it compare to the likes of Spotify, iTunes and others? And should you be looking to switch to the new service that was, until a couple of weeks ago, called mSpot?

Music Hub vs Spotify

Like Spotify, the Samsung Music Hub costs £9.99 a month and gives you the ability to stream music via any browser as well as on the Samsung Galaxy S III.

At the moment the Samsung Music Hub is available only on the S3, but Samsung has promised it will come to other Samsung smartphones, it's Smart TV range, other Samsung devices (like fridges), and other mobile operating systems, including iOS, in the future.

That pales in comparison to what Spotify is offering today, though. It is available on all the major mobile platforms, via a desktop app on the PC and Mac, as well as the Sonos music system, however Spotify isn't available via the browser - a major shortcoming compared to the competition, some would say.

Get beyond the devices and Music Hub beats Spotify on the scan and match cloud locker service as well as a bigger catalogue. Spotify fights back with the dedicated apps from the likes of Sounddrop and Rolling Stone Recommends, and a greater focus on social - with Facebook integration.

Both offer album radio stations, letting you explore music, although Samsung claims its recommendations service is much better - it would, wouldn't it?

Music Hub also offers lyric support, something that isn't available on the Spotify mobile, but is via its TuneWiki Apps.

For those looking to try the service, you can get Spotify free with limited access to the service to try it out before you buy. At the moment you can't do that with the Samsung Music Hub.

Music Hub vs iTunes

The first thing to note is that iTunes still doesn't offer a music subscription service that allows you to play a set fee for unlimited access to Apple's massive music collection. Apple does offer a scan and match cloud locker service called iTunes Match that costs £21.99 a year to have your music available on any other iOS device, be it your iPod touch or iPad.

As with Samsung Music Hub you have to go through the process of letting the software scan your music collection before it gives you access on other devices. If the track already exists in the cloud both services don't bother uploading it, but will just give you access to a copy of it.

Samsung's cloud locker comes with 100GB of storage while Apple's iTunes Match lets you store up to 25,000 songs. Both will be more than enough and based on a rough calculation should give you around 60 days on continuous music.

Aside from the cloud locker service, Apple's music catalogue is bigger. However its Genius recommendation service, while analysing both your music and the music you can buy, will only allow you to play your music without buying more tracks.

iTunes doesn't work in a web browser, nor does it offer a radio service.

Music Hub vs Lastfm

If you live in the UK, US, or Germany then Lastfm offers a very viable alternative to the Samsung Music Hub. Lastfm's music scrobbling service that tracks what you listen to, is one of the best in the business and with a subscription fee of just £3 a month for access on the iPhone, Android, or Sonos devices, it is hard to argue with.

However, Lastfm doesn't really let you pick out individual tracks to listen to, nor create your own playlists, nor does it have a locker service attached to it instead giving you links to play in services like Spotify, Deezer, or on YouTube.

Music Hub vs Rdio

Like Spotify, Rdio offers a cheaper way to get into the music service compared to Samsung's Music Hub. Rdio's cheapest offering costs £4.99 but that doesn't include mobile access - you will have to pay £9.99 for that.

You can get Rdio on your browser, PC and Mac, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry, Roku, and Sonos, but Symbian and Palm users miss out (they are dying platforms anyway). Like Spotify, Rdio has a very strong focus on social sharing of music. Rdio doesn't have a music locker service, nor as big a catalogue.

Music Hub vs 7digital

We know what you are thinking, if the Samsung Music Hub uses the 7digital catalogue why not just use its service? That works with music purchases and the cloud service, but 7digital doesn't offer the unlimited all-you-can-eat streaming service - meaning you have to buy all your music, like iTunes. In this respect 7digital fares around the same as Apple's iTunes.

Music Hub vs Others

There are plenty of music streaming services for Samsung Music Hub to compete with; it really has become a very crowded industry. That includes Deezer, WE7, and Nokia's Music offering for the Lumia devices. In the US it will have to battle with Amazon Music, Google Music, and Pandora, and all offer different strengths and weaknesses too.

Conclusion

Samsung's approach with the Music Hub is to create a music streaming locker service that takes on everyone in the industry. People will be hard pushed to find a service that it doesn't have the power to replace.

At the moment the only reason not to recommend it over services like Spotify or Lastfm or which ever music service you currently use is that it is only available on the browser or on the Samsung Galaxy S III.

Given time, such as when the iOS version comes out, it's on your Samsung Smart TV, and your Sonos system, and your fridge, this will be the one to beat.

Apple, Spotify, Pandora and others, a word of warning: the fight is coming and you had better get ready.

Which service do you use, and are you tempted by the Samsung Music Hub?



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