As both an artist and a music fan, I want to be on top of the whole streaming thing and find out which one I personally like best and why.
Here's a quick list of the services I've tried:
1. Napster (aka. Rhapsody in the US)
5. Yandex Music
6. Google Play Music
Artist Perspective: The royalties received from Napster/Rhapsody are decent.
Artist Perspective: Free-trial royalties are awful. But paid-tier is pretty decent.
Fan Perspective: It's pretty good. I like the web player, I've never tried the software or mobile app. But it's straight-forward and provides a social aspect similar to Spotify.
Artist Perspective: The royalties I've seen from Deezer are pretty low. I'm assuming these are from free-tier subscribers, but I haven't seen much above that.
Fan Perspective: It's really good. It's in Russian (web player), but the mobile app is in English. I'm assuming that is if your phone settings are set to English. The app is really good, and just like Groove, you can upload your mp3 library to Yandex Disk, and it integrates with Yandex Music. Nice.
Artist Perspective: The royalties are pretty low, but you have to put this into perspective. This is a Russian streaming service, and royalties from any of the services there are lower from what I've seen. That being said, I like Yandex and I think they are doing good things. I want them to succeed, and it is a great service for promoting your music in Russian language countries.
Fan Perspective: Pretty good webplayer. Never used the mobile app. Nothing really outstandingly different from the rest, but it's pretty nice.
Google Play Music
Artist Perspective: Royalties from Google are higher than places like Deezer and Spotify. That's good in my book.
Fan Perspective: The social aspect of Spotify is pretty cool, and no other service matches it. The only ones that come close are Rdio (which doesn't exist anymore) and Deezer. I like the ability to share custom playlists, and the software is good.
Artist Perspective: For the "market leader" their royalties are pretty sad, even for paid tier. Come on. Aside from paltry royalties, the artist tools are nice and far better than any other service, so that's a major plus.
Fan Perspective: Soundcloud to me is like what Purevolume should have become. It seems like the natural progression of things like MP3.com, and perhaps Reverbnation. But discovering music on there is a nightmare. It is absolutely not comparable to "true" streaming services like all the ones above. I think the only good thing now is that artists and companies can host their music/podcasts with a nice, easily embeddable and playable widget.
Artist Perspective: Soundcloud likes to make it sound like you are getting a ton of good stuff for paying $9/mo as an artist. Unlimited downloads, in-depth stats. Maybe if you were Blink-182 the unlimited downloads would be good. The only thing good I think is the stats. But even then, you can just pay for one month, check out your stats, and then be done with it. Add in how they removed groups, and I'm becoming less and less interested in Soundcloud.
Fan Perspective: I've found some great, unavailable gems on YouTube. YouTube is probably one of the best, if not the best, for actual music discovery. But as a streaming music service? No thank you.
Artist Perspective: I think it's best to realize that people use YouTube primarily for discovery. Sure, lots of people use it for listening too, but it's not really built for straight-up music listening like Spotify is, for example. The stats are extremely useful as well. I just wouldn't be too worried about royalties. If you want decent royalties for music videos specifically, I'd recommend opening a VEVO account, as they pay far more per video stream than YouTube.
Winner (Fan Perspective): Spotify
Why Spotify? The software is good, playlist sharing is excellent, a ton of people use the service, and discovery is pretty decent too. The social aspect is cool too.
Runner Up (Fan Perspective): Groove
It is the runner up because of the lack of good discovery options, like not listing "similar artists" for example, as well as the social aspect (though that's not a huge thing for me). I'd say that Groove, however, is far superior in terms of its integration with OneDrive. So this one overall was a tough call.
Winner (Artist Perspective): Groove
Groove wins here simply because of the royalty rate. I've had far more streams on Spotify than on Groove, but I've nonetheless received far more payout from Groove than Spotify.
Runner Up (Artist Perspective): Spotify
Even though royalties are pretty sad, Spotify probably hosts the largest subscriber base out of all the services. This is important as an artist, because you should probably be where the most people are. Plus Spotify provides artists with nice stats, the ability to customize your artist page, and more.