Comparing Zune Music With We7, Spotify & Others

The arrival of Microsoft, the 800-pound gorilla, in the online music streaming category with the Zune Pass, may well kick start a cycle that will cause some providers to change their business models or risk disappearing altogether.

We look at some of the existing competitors and weighed up how they compared with the newcomer.

We7 exists in three versions; one free and two paid-for. Premium and Premium+ gives you access to tracks on your PC, on your PC and your mobile for £4.99 and £9.99 respectively.

There's no discounted yearly subscription and both an iPhone and Android versions are available. You do not own any of the music streamed and that stopping the subscription will end up the service.

Napster is a hybrid system where you can keep up to 5 MP3 songs per month. Its cheapest offer only costs £5 per month and allows you to choose from more than 10 million songs.

It is available for the iPhone iOS platform, not for Android and offers offline listening by default since it essentially follows a download-and-consume rather than a streaming one.

Another interesting model is that of Nokia with its Ovi Music Unlimited model. Basically, buy a phone and get the music for free for as long as you own the phone; the cheapest model is the Nokia 5130 available directly from Nokia for only £139.

The music though can only be downloaded and played on your registered PC and mobile – it cannot be burnt to CD or copied elsewhere like on another mobile.

Spotify, arguably the most popular service provider, offers four different types of products. The two paid-for models are similar to that of We7 at £9.99 and £4.99 with the more expensive allowing mobile streaming. The two other versions, Spotify Free and Spotify Open are free to explore but come with a number of restrictions.

Choosing the best options depend on a number of factors; Android users can only use Spotify and We7. Those sticking with Nokia will have to go with Ovi Music Unlimited while those on Windows Phone 7 have no other choice than Zune Music.

Update (15/7/13): We7 is now Blinkbox.