Alternatives for Groove

Last week Microsoft announced that Groove Music streaming service, and the ability to buy music from the store in Windows 10 will end on December 31st. Users will be able to Download their content or port to Spotty until January 31st, at which point all the Groove streaming service features and store features for music will be killed. The groove app will still be there for playing your local music, and music you stored on OneDrive , but unfortunately, the extra OneDrive storage given for being a groove subscriber is also going away.

Microsoft is offering porting to Spotify and may have some as yet unspecified deeper integration to come. For now, that’s an offer inn the groove app to port your content to Spotify and a 60 day trial offer from Spotify, for anyone who’s never tried Spotify before. I imagine, given how long Spotify has been around, that this is a very small pool of users. So should you go to Spotify, or someone else.  This is my attempt at comparing the main options.

I haven’t used the services I’m listing much – I’ve been a groove user (and Xbox music user before that) but I have used Pandora and Spotify in the past. However, I’d need to try these to give a more qualified comparison. So this is a high level stat-for-stat look.

Pricing

NameTrialFree planIndividual PlanFamily PlanOther Plans
GrooveNo$9.99NoNo
Spotify30 days, or 60 days via Groove offer.Ad funded$9.99$14.99Student $4.99
Deezer30 daysAd funded$9.99$14.99No
Tidal30 daysNo$9.99 or $8.49 as prepaid 6 month plan)$14.99Student $4.99, Military plans at $5.99, Lossless audio plans at 2X cost.
Pandora30 daysRadio only, ad funded, limited skips$9.99No$4.99 radio no ads, unlimited skips.
Amazon30 daysNo*$9.99 (or $7.99)$14.99Echo plan $3.99. Also Prime music is free with Prime subscription.
Google30 daysRadio and podcast only$9.99$14.99No
Apple3 MonthNo$9.99$14.99Student $4.99

Features

NameCloud StoragePlay local contentDownload for offlineOther features
GrooveYesYesYesBuy music from Microsoft Store, Music discovery, play videos
SpotifyNoNoYes
DeezerNoNoYesLyrics, Hi def available via Hi-Fi devices,
TidalNoNoYesLossless streams
PandoraNoNoYesRadio service with very well honed algorithm
Amazon$24.99 / YearYesYesAlexa integration
GoogleYesNoYesYouTube ad free
Apple$24.99 / YearYesYesBeats 1 radio, apple product integration

Apps

NameDesktopWindows 10 MobileXbox OneAndroidiOSWebRoku
GrooveUWPUWPUWPYesYesYesNo
SpotifyStoreUWPUWPYesYesYesYes
DeezerUWPUWPUWPYes, YesYesYes
TidalUnofficial UWP / Official DesktopUWPUWPYesYesYesNo
PandoraUWPUWPUWPYesYesYesYes
AmazonDesktopNoNoYesYesYesYes
GoogleDesktop / Unofficial UWPUnofficial UWPNoYesYesYesUnofficial
AppleStoreNoNoYesYesNoNo

Stats

NameCatalog SizeGlobal AvailabilityLink
Groove50M23 Countrieshttp://www.microsoft.com/en-us/groove
Spotify30M56 Countrieshttps://www.spotify.com
Deezer43M182 Countrieshttp://www.deezer.com/
Tidal46M52 Countrieshttp://tidal.com
Pandora1.5MUS Onlyhttps://www.pandora.com/
Amazon40MUS, UK, Germany, Australiahttps://music.amazon.com/home
Google40M117 Countrieshttps://play.google.com/music/
Apple40M110 Countrieshttps://www.apple.com/music/

My View

My initial view is that Microsoft is partnering with the wrong service in Spotify, just due to the gap in songs. There will be a lot of users who find that their music isn’t available, and indeed, that was a reason why I use Groove in preference to Spotify.  I can totally understand Microsoft not wanting to partner with Amazon, Google or Apple on music and Spotify is the obvious choice, but perhaps Deezer and Tidal with larger catalogs (and in Deezer’s case, global availability and UWP apps) might have been better.

If you are a Windows 10 Mobile user or Xbox user and want integration in those devices, you would certainly also want to check out Deezer,  Tidal and Pandora, which all have apps for Windows 10 Mobile. The Deezer app in particular is well rated, as is the unofficial Tidal app. Spotify does of course have an app on Windows 10 Mobile, but that app isn’t well loved and feels dated.

If this doesn’t matter to you Amazon and Google and Apple do have some advantages over the pure streaming services – playing local music (amazon and Apple) and cloud storage. Especially if you are already a Amazon prime member, the cheaper price for individual plans on amazon would be appealing, and $25/year isn’t a ton of money for the cloud storage. If you don’t care about local playback, Google includes offline storage for free. Apple has both of these and is putting iTunes in the Windows store so yeah, a good option.

I’m waffling now – I’m sure these are all good options. I’ll be checking out Deezer, Spotify and Amazon music.