by Mairead O’Mahony
Streaming services have transformed the way we consume music and even audiophiles with a stubborn fondness for physical formats have to admit that it’s hard to fully resist the allure of online platforms when it comes to getting your music fix, especially now that the quality of streaming is getting better and better. For the purpose of this article, I am going to discuss and compare 2 popular streaming music services, Amazon Music and Deezer and the pros/cons of both.
Amazon Music has a catalogue of 100 million tracks while Deezer streaming service has a catalogue of over 90 million tracks to choose from. Until recently, I have always been using Amazon Music as I have an Alexa and it was convenient to sign up to Amazon Music as the Alexa skill was already linked to my Amazon account. However, recently, I started looking at the option of signing up to another music streaming service as I rely on the app a lot when travelling. I found the app for Amazon Music to be very sluggish. Once I launched the app, the VoiceOver volume was so low that you couldn’t hear it and the only way to resolve this issue was to locate the Alexa button, ask her to play a song and then the VoiceOver volume would come back to normal. Even then, navigating the Amazon Music app was extremely sluggish.
I then tried Spotify and while the app was accessible, and sounded good on the Alexa, I wasn’t happy with the audio streaming quality especially when connected to my Apple AirPods Pro, Bose headphones or sound bar. Like Amazon Music, I linked the Spotify skill to my Alexa and I could ask Alexa to play anything I wanted. Next, I decided to sign up to the free 1 month trial of Deezer Premium as I wanted to experience the service without adds and the high quality audio option. While it is more expensive than Amazon Music at €11.99 per month, you can avail of a 25% dis-count if you pay for 12 months up front and the cost comes in less than Amazon Music at around €9 per month. Also, if you do sign up for a free/paid Deezer account, ensure you sign up via the Deezer Website rather than through an iOS device as if you do start paying for the service, you will be charged more from an iOS device. You can also sign up for a family plan with up to 6 user accounts which all have the premium benefits for €18.99 per month.
With Deezer, I love the fact that you can transfer over up to 500 songs from other music streaming services such as Amazon and Spotify so this was a bonus as I wouldn’t need to rebuild my music collection. I very easily transferred over my music and playlists from Amazon Music. The Deezer app is a joy to use and not at all sluggish. As music is in com-pressed high-quality audio or uncompressed format on Deezer, depending on the streaming quality option you choose, the quality of it blew me away as it was so much louder, clearer and up close that I had to lower the volume on my Bose headphones, Apple AirPods Pro and sound bar. The process of creating/editing play lists and searching for songs/artists on Deezer is very accessible. Deezer Music also has a podcast section but I haven’t really looked at this yet as I have another app I use for listening to podcasts. Amazon Music and Deezer both have the option to download your favourites so that you can listen to them offline if you are out somewhere and you don’t have an internet connection to stream them.
Do bear in mind that downloading tracks for offline listening will use up a lot of space on your device especially if you opt for the higher quality streaming options. Once you have the Deezer app installed, to avoid a very high internet bill, the first thing I would do is go into the settings of the app, audio and select the different streaming audio quality I want de-pending on whether I am using my mobile data or Wi-Fi as the higher the audio streaming quality the more bandwidth it will use. The different audio streaming qualities available are Basic which streams at 64 kbps, Standard at 128kbps, High Quality at 320 kbps and High Fidelity at 1411 kbps (FLAC), which requires a high speed connection. If you are in a position where you don’t have enough internet allowance to use the higher quality streaming options, I would recommend you would choose the standard quality streaming option as the audio quality of the basic option would be very poor as it streams at 64 kbps. I have mobile data set to High Quality and Wi-Fi set to High Fidelity as my Wi-Fi has a very good internet allowance with high speed.
The main disadvantage of Deezer Music is that it doesn’t work great with Alexa and doesn’t work at all on the Google Nest as the Deezer skill isn’t supported in Ireland. With Alexa, once you have installed the Deezer skill and linked it with your account, you can ask Alexa to play a particular song by an artist or music by a particular artist but not an album by a particular artist as sometimes it does work and other times it just plays the title song from that album or something random. Unlike Amazon Music, when you play a particular song on Deezer especially if it is new out you can’t say Alexa, add this song to my music or favourites as unfortunately, the Deezer skill doesn’t have the support for that feature.
While the lack of Alexa and Google support for Deezer is disappointing, I will be sticking with Deezer Music as I mainly use the app while travelling and the app is much more responsive and has a more user friendly interface than the Amazon Music app. Also, once you start listening to uncompressed high quality music, it is very hard to go back to listening to music in com-pressed format. The cost also works out less than Amazon Music if I pay for 12 months in advance. If you rely heavily on Alexa support, I recommend you use Amazon Music or Spotify.