S T R E A M I N G . M E T A L

Maximum Metal saw the conflict and difficulty with purchasing heavy metal and hard rock in the 00s and compiled a resourceful feature called "Buying Metal". As those specialty stores and mail order outlets discontinued, our ongoing "Buying Metal" feature was pulled and archieved in 2014. Now, in 2016, we are launching a new feature called "Streaming Metal", another resourceful list that will compile all of the options available to music fans to stream metal legally either for free or as a paid subscriber. This list will also incorporate some staff user reviews and general information about each service. Any suggestions or improvements are always welcome at [Maximum Metal].

Cost - $9.99 for an individual plan or $14.99 a month for family sharing up to six people. The first three months are free. If you don't have a paid subscription you can still utilize the service to stream music you have purchased, ripped to iTunes or uploaded to your device. An option to purchase iTunes Match for $24.99 a year will allow you to listen to any music you've uploaded to iCloud. Skips are limited with the free (non-trial) service and unlimited with a paid subscription.

Content - Like other giant streaming services Apple Music claims to have over 30 million songs. The content is offered via several preferences including artists, albums, suggestions and following via Connect. The service also includes Beats 1 Radio and streaming of your own iTunes library.

Features - Apple Music can be streamed across multiple devices like iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, Apple Watch, Mac, PC and now a beta version through Android.
Cost - Free.

Content - Bandcamp is a homegrown service that allows artists to upload their creation for listeners to sample and then purchase. There's no content amount published publically since Bandcamp is a private company.

Features - Listeners can browse genres and artists for free and typically can play songs up to three times in full before being prompted to purchase the album to support the artist. Artists set their own purchase prices and receive more money from sales than most streaming services. Most songs are available for free streaming at low quality - 128 KBPS. If the listener buys the song then they can play an unlimited amount at a higher 320 KBPS either streaming or downloading for offline use. The app works with iOS and Android devices.
Cost - Free. Up to 8 checkouts per month.

Content - Hoopla is a digital media service that is offered for free to library card holders at participating libraries. The service offers free downloads and streams of audiobooks, videos, ebooks, comics and music.

Writer Review - This service is offered for free by my county's library system. Each calendar month I can check out 8 selections from a combination of video, music and audio books. The music catalog compares favorably to Spotify, Apple Music and Rhapsody with a seemingly never ending amount of albums and songs to choose from plus nearly every new release each Friday. You can choose to simply stream the media via devices like iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Chromebook, Chromecast, PC and MAC or you can choose to download the content directly to those devices for offline use. The checkout time varies depending on your library. From the content I've chosen it looks like generally 30 days on audiobooks, 2 weeks on music and 72 hours on movies. Check with your library to see if they offer Hoopla or email info@hoopladigital.com. --Eric Compton
Cost - Free. Up to 10 checkouts at a time with no monthly limit (varies on library).

Content - Overdrive boasts to have a catalog of over 2 million ebooks, audiobooks and videos. The service is offered by over 30,000 libraries in 40 or more counties.

Writer Review - Content can be streamed or in some cases downloaded across multiple devices including Android, iOS, Windows 8 phones and tablets, Chromebook and PC. You can sync your library across multiple devices so bookmarks will stay intact. The audiobooks can be transferred to your device for offline use and in some cases can even be burned to disc. The ebooks will download into the app which functions much like the Kindle app with a bookshelf, font adjustments, page color and sizing. The inventory of music, books and videos seemingly never ends and new releases are in abundance each Friday. --Eric Compton
Cost - Free with ads and limited skipping. $4.99 per month ad-free and unlimited skipping.

Content - Over one million songs from more than 100,000 artists.

Features - This internet radio channel won't allow you to search for specific songs or artists, but you can create stations based around those selections. The channel can stream over multiple devices and comes nearly industry standard with most audio/video receivers, bluray players, game consoles and cable providers. The app can be downloaded for iOS and Android.
Cost - $99 per year or $10.99 per month. The first 30 days of the annual subscription are free and you can cancel at any time. If you are a student and have an .edu email address you will pay half the regular cost at $49 per year.

Content - The service boasts to offer more than a million songs and the content is offered via spotlights, new releases per genre, playlists, what's popular, recommendations and an artist/song search engine.

Writer Review - Amazon Prime is essentially what you are paying for but that includes Prime Music. You will receive a whole lot of perks with your Prime membership like unlimited photo storage in Amazon's Cloud Drive, one new book for free each month in the Kindle library and a Netflix styled streaming video service called Prime Video. Prime Music will stream on just about any device. Some of the more common ones are PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Fire Tablets and Android's gambit of phones and tablets. Other Amazon devices like Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Echo and the Fire phone will also run the apps. If push comes to shove you can even run it just by launching the Amazon website and logging into your account. You can authorize up to ten devices to run Prime Music's app. The app can be downloaded through the Google Play store as well as IOS's App Store. Unfortunately a subscriber can't stream Prime Music simultaneously on two different devices. The service allows unlimited downloads to your offline library. --Eric Compton
Cost - $9.99 per month individually or $14.99 as a family under a plan called Premier. The first 30 days are free. Optionally, an Unradio version is available for free for 14 days and then $4.99 per month thereafter. The Unradio version will allow up to 25 songs downloaded offline and ad-free unlimited skips on a Pandora styled radio channel of the artist of your choice. The multifaceted service offers a Kids mode to avoid mature content.

Content - Rhapsody offers 30 million plus songs through customizable playlists, connecting with other users' tastes, trending, artists, albums, new releases, moods, activities and a search engine.

Features - Multiple devices are supported including iOS and Android related apps. The service will stream to your living room via WiiU, Sonos, Denon, AirPlay and Google Chromecast. Subscribers can also stream using Windows software or by simply logging into Rhapsody's website.
Cost - $9.99 and free for first 30 days. SoundCloud can be utilized for free with ads. For artists two options exist at $7 and $15 to upload your own created music to listeners.

Content - Offers over 125 million tracks from Top 40 to underground.

Features - You can do offline listens of your likes and playlists as well as unlocking previews to allow full plays of songs ad-free. Artists can use SoundCloud for free to upload three hours of audio and then share those tracks to be heard. The service uses a Facebook styled "likes" function to grow followers. You can see play counts, likes and read comments based on your work. The app streams on both iOS and Android.
Cost - $9.99 per month. The first 30 days of the annual subscription are free and you can cancel at any time. If you are a student you will pay half the cost at $4.99 per month. Spotify is free for everyone to use and will allow listeners to search for artists and albums and play them back with ads and a shuffled music order (including similar artists mixed in). Skips are limited with free and unlimited with a paid subscription.

Content - Over 30 million songs are offered.

Writer Review - Streams on the same devices as Prime and is even being integrated into car dash apps, video game systems and Chromecast. Another similarity here is only being able to use the service on one device at a time but price breaks does help for multiple accounts. Spotify now has a feature notifying you which device is using the account currently before taking over someone else's stream. This feature also gives you the ability of redirecting your stream to another device. Spotify runs similar to iTunes with a little learning curve. Everything is available through the powerful search engine. You can create public or private playlists that link to online music or even files stored locally on your device. Everything on Spotify can be downloaded to your device's storage to avoid data usage with the only limit being the amount of free space available. --Troy Cole
Cost - $19.99 gets you a monthly subscription with HiFi sound quality (FLAC lossless). Tidal Premium compares to other streaming services at $9.99 per month at 320KBS streams.

Content - Over 25 million songs, 75,000 high definition videos and exclusive content written by industry professionals.

Features - Along with online streaming the service allows offline playing of downloaded songs. Tidal allows subscribers to have three different offline libraries across three devices. The unique aspect of Tidal's marketing is the ability to access content across forty different companies including Polk Audio, Mirage, Squeeze Box as well as more mainstream devices like iOS and Android. The service will also run on PC and Mac using Tidal software.
Cost - $9.99 per month and the first month is free. The cost will not only give you access to YouTube member only media, including their own original programming, but also YouTube Music, YouTube Gaming and Google Play Music.

Content - Over 30 million songs are offered along with Ad-free videos, original made-for-YouTube shows and Google Play's library of an additional 22 million songs. Subscribers do not have access to rentals, pay-per-views, paid channels or any content that requires purchase.

Features - Paid subscribers can save videos or playlists to watch offline. The YouTube Music app will allow users to set a storage limit of songs for playback offline. The service allows background play which allows users to keep playing video in the background uninterrupted even when other apps open or a mobile device screen is turned off. YouTube Red can stream across multiple devices including Chromecast, Android, iOS, Roku, Xbox One, WiiU, Playstation 4 and Apple TV.

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