Been meaning to write this for a while but I'm lazy. Anyway, a few months ago I decided to take the plunge and subscribe to a music streaming service. Only question was: which one? So, I signed up for a 1-month trial to Pandora, Google Play Music, Spotify, rdio, Rhapsody, and MOG. My goal was simply to find which one I liked best, with sound quality being the highest priority.
I know a lot of people love Pandora for how easy it is to get started and get to discovering new music. I love it for the same reason, and have used it quite a bit in the past. So Pandora was a front-runner from the start. I expected the paid version would be just as good, but with better sound quality, being that it's 192kbps. If you do the free version, Pandora is 64kbps on the web, or 128kbps on home devices (Squeezebox, etc.).
I'm not going to go into great detail on the rest here, because, again, I'm lazy. If you have questions about a specific service, feel free to ask. But for now I'll get straight to the results: MOG wins. The rest of the services were not bad, and some had some features I really liked, but I feel the reason so many people use Pandora is the fact that it is so simple to get to the music quickly, and most of the competition was not as easy.
Speaking of features I liked, I did really like the ability to add your own tracks to Spotify, but based on the ease-of-use factor, I could really see Spotify or any of the other services becoming something I would end up paying for but not really using much. I do wish I could add my own tracks to MOG, but it's a feature I can live without, since their library is so encompassing.
The real kicker is that everything MOG has is 320kbps, whether you do the free version or the paid version. If you have the MOG mobile app (which you must be a subscriber for) it will adjust the bitrate based on the bandwidth of your mobile device, but there is a setting you can switch on to force 320kbps all the time, if you are confident in your connection and want to ensure the highest sound quality. That to me was a huge feather in MOG's cap.
MOG does have a radio service similar to Pandora to help you find new music. You can turn this on or off at will, so you can have MOG suggest stuff for you or you can simply build your playlist manually. When using the radio feature, you can adjust a slider to hear more music from your selected artist or more from similar artists. Or you can set it to hear nothing but music from your selected artist or nothing but similar artists, if you want to do that.
It's a pretty great feature, although I will say it is definitely not as "smart" as Pandora's radio feature. It will sometimes come up with some really horrible suggestions. One day I was listening to Daft Punk and it queued up Back Street Boys next. So yeah. Hopefully they will improve that part. Usually it's pretty good though.
But, sound quality is king, and the fact that everything MOG has is 320kbps simply cannot be beat. Of course that wouldn't matter if they didn't have the artists I wanted to listen to, but they have a truly huge library. There are very few artists I cannot find in MOG. Tool is a notable artist that is excluded, but they are excluded from damn near everything, the bastards. And they may sign them still. MOG recently signed RHCP. All in all, however, I've been pleasantly surprised by the amount of artists/albums I am able to find in MOG, whether they're really big names like Muse or really obscure like Pigface. MOG has 'em.
There is a MOG app for Squeezebox devices, and of course iOS and Android apps. I use the Android app on my phone, which I use to connect to my car stereo when driving (wired connection). That's where I get the most use out of MOG. Much better than FM or satellite radio. I actually cannot stand satellite radio but that's for another thread.
Anyway, just thought I'd share that if anyone is considering subscribing to a streaming service. I don't know of any other service that offers a radio feature similar to Pandora's and 320kbps streaming. And since MOG doesn't seem to be as recognizable a brand as Pandora or Spotify, thought I'd talk it up a bit, since I feel it deserves it. Now that I have a MOG subscription, I rarely feel the need to buy an album any more. It's not HD, of course, but for everyday non-critical listening, it's a great service. It's quite nice to be talking to a friend or someone about an artist I might be interested in, search for and find them in MOG, and start listening to them right away at 320kbps, like I'm doing with Liquid Tension Experiment as I type this.