By Mike Snider, USA TODAY
Beats Music, which launches Tuesday, will be looking to break into an already-expansive category of music services. Here's a look at some of the largest, each with its own attributes:
Spotify(Android, iOS, Windows Phone,www.spotify.com). The major player in on-demand streaming music, Spotify has more than 24 million global listeners, six million-plus of whom pay $10 monthly. Its free desktop version and recently-added mobile offering - both of which includes ads - can be a powerful gateway drug. And, for now, the service is the lone platform that has on-demand streaming and downloading of Led Zeppelin's library.
Pandora(Android, iOS, Windows Phone and many devices,www.pandora.com). Its sizeable audience - more than 76.2 million active monthly users - makes Pandora the leader in Internet radio. The free service lets you listen to stations such as "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart radio" and "Bruno Mars radio" that include music from them and similar acts. Pay a $3.99 monthly charge for Pandora One to eliminate ads and get more song skips. Pandora claims to more smartly rely on fewer songs - millions of tracks from more than 100,000 artists - to deliver a better listening experience. And a new alarm clock feature lets you wake up to your favorite station.
Rhapsody(Android, iOS and Windows Phones and other devices,www.rhapsody.com). The longest surviving subscription service with a library of 20 million-plus tracks, Rhapsody's $9.99 monthly fee (you can try free for 30 days) provides features paralleling that of Spotify. Download tracks, albums and playlists and listen to the recently-added radio service - stations include Pop, Rock, Rude-Boy Radio and TGIF Blues. Rhapsody, an independent spinoff from Real Networks and MTV, acquired Napster about two years ago and now has 1 million-plus subscribers. The question is whether its legacy can help it hold off extinction at the hands of Spotify and other free services.
Google Play Music All Access(Android and iOS devices,play.google.com). Beyond Google's music store is the All Access service that couples streaming radio and playlists with downloads for offline use. Its library is smaller than some competitors, but as with iTunes you can store music (up to 20,000 songs) in the cloud to listen to on your computer and across various devices including iPhones. A recent check found all the recent releases - and some of the same gaps such as no Beatles, Zep, AC/DC or Garth Brooks. But All Access has a feature no other service has, the staying power of Google behind it.
iTunes Radio(iOS devices and on Macintosh and Windows computers,www.itunes.com). New this fall, iTunes added a streaming radio service with more than 250 stations created by DJs or devoted to genres such as Roots Reggae, Pop Gold, R&B or built around artists such as The Beatles and Bob Dylan. Those who opt for the iTunes Match cloud-storing service ($25 annual fee) don't have to listen to ads. iTunes boasts a catalog of about 27 million songs and has a devoted user base of about 67 million, according to The NPD Group. Like Pandora, that Beatles station may toss in some Wings tunes or Joe Cocker singingWith A Little Help From My Friends).
Music Unlimited(Android, iOS, Mac and Windows PCs,www.sonyentertainmentnetwork.com). If you're a PlayStation person, Music Unlimited's library of 20 million-plus songs plays nice with your game systems, sharing channels, playlists and albums for streaming and downloading across devices and computers. There's a 30-day trial before you pay $5 monthly to listen on your computer and game system or $10 monthly to add mobile devices including smartphones. And you can listen to your music while playing PS4 games.
Rdio(Android, iOS, Windows Phones,www.rdio.com). Founded by Skype creator Janus Friis, Rdio provides on-demand listening and personalized radio stations from a catalog of more than 20 million songs. And like Spotify, Rdio has a free option with advertising and a premium $10 monthly service. You can also connect songs you find on Shazam to your Rdio account.
(Android, iOS and Windows Phones,www.xbox.com/music). Users can get free streaming on the service for six months - after that it's limited to 10 hours per month - and an Xbox Music Pass allows for downloading of music for offline listening. Your collections carry across your Xbox game console and other devices.