This is how Google Play Music compares to other SA streaming services

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The music streaming industry generates some big numbers, to the tune of $6.9 billion in revenue last year, with Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube contributing as much as 33% of total recorded music revenues in the first half of 2015.

So with that, it is no wonder that Google is expanding its own music streaming service into South Africa. From today, you can sign up to Google Play Music, and enjoy all that it has to offer.

But how does it stack up with the other streaming services out there? Luckily for you, we did the leg work to compare Google’s Play Music service with four other streaming services that are available in the country.

Google Play Music


Being the newest player in the field, it has some catching up to do in terms of listenership – but it might take a slice from the others, since it comes in at the lowest price.

The monthly subscription allows for streaming on Android, iOS, and the web, and you can add up to 50 000 songs from your computer and stream them anywhere for free.

It also allows you to downloads songs and play them offline. Not sure what to listen to? That isn’t a problem, as the service will recommend artists based on your tastes.

Price: R49.99 a month when you sign up before 26 January 2016

Trial: Yes, 30 days

Amount of songs: 35 million

Apple Music

Apple Music

Apple’s music streaming service is only a couple of months old (in South Africa at least), but it has been making a rather big push in the market.

The service has two subscription offerings: one for personal use, and one that provides for family sharing. At the higher price point, it allows you to share a subscription with family members.

Besides the millions of songs already on the service, it integrates your currently library into the mix, giving you a greater variety. It will also recommend songs and artists based on what you listen to and what you like.

In addition, the cost of the subscription will cover the streaming of Beat1, an exclusive 24/7 radio station the latest music, interviews and culture.

Price: R59.99 a month

Trial: Yes, three months

Amount of songs: 30 million



Billed as one of the few music streaming services that actually provide high definition streaming audio, Tidal was started by hip hop mogul Jay Z earlier this year – and quickly signed up a bunch of artists to endorse it.

Tidal is unique in the sense that it tries to provide a features and content exclusive to its service, which includes music videos, editorials written by industry veterans, and the facility to buy concert tickets.

The service hasn’t been without its problems however, as it recently appointed its third CEO since launching eight months ago.

Price: $10 a month (approx. R130)

Trial: Yes, seven days

Amount of songs: 40 million



Besides having the usual fanfare of tracks that you can listen to, Deezer rivals Tidal by also providing high definition audio. In addition, it allows you to create your own playlists – you know, to create that special mood.

The service makes use of what it calls Flow, which is actually just a fancy term for its algorithm that learns what you are listening to and what you love. The more you tell Flow what you like and dislike, the better its recommendations will become.

Do you have a favourite song but don’t really know the words? Well, don’t worry as Deezer is also there to help. Through the mobile app, a good helping of the songs (very near all of them) have the lyrics included and can be displayed on the screen – so now you can sing along without fear.

Price: R60 a month

Trial: Yes, 30 days

Amount of songs: 35 million

Simfy Africa

simfy africa

If local music is your thing, then you should really take a look at Simfy Africa. It is one of the few streaming service with an international parent company that launched a local offering.

It definitely has a greater variety of African and South African music available for streaming when compared to the other services, and it is available for offline and online streaming.

Besides curating your own songs into a playlist, the service also provides you with a radio-like station, similar to Pandora, that will play songs according to your tastes.

Being local, there is also the benefit that you can pay for your subscription through MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and with your Edcon card.

Price: R60 a month

Trial: Yes, 14 days

Amount of songs: 27 million

There really is no wrong answer when it comes to streaming audio through your preferred provider. It really comes down to what you are looking for, how much you are willing to pay, and if audio quality matters to you.

[Image – CC by 2.0/Lourenço Fabrino]



Charlie Fripp

Charlie Fripp

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.