Updated on September 4, 2016
Updated on September 4, 2016
In my pre-travel-is-free days, my flight routine used to include lots of pensive journaling as I looked out onto a cloud landscape and listened to my favorite iPod playlist. Those were the days when I actually used to own music…
Over the last five years, the frequency with which I purchase music has gone down to almost zero. (With the exception of my twin sister’s brand new album of course.) I don’t even pirate music anymore. I haven’t had a functioning iPod in years.
This is of course because the plethora of music streaming options now available make it so easy to listen to music without owning it.
But music streaming isn’t as impressive once you leave the US. When we first started traveling nomadically, there was a bit of a learning curve in finding which music services worked and where.
In this post, I’ll try to list the actual number of countries (using a pretty liberal definition of “country” in some cases) for each platform, and order the list from least globally available to most. By the end, you’ll see which service we used as our ultimate default.
Pandora is only available in three countries, Us, Australia, and New Zealand.
As soon as we started traveling, my Pandora use fell to practically zero because of its very minimal global availability.
Iheartradio is available in the same 3 countries: US, Australia, and New Zealand.
I’ve actually never used iHeartRadio, even in the US.
Maybe this is unusual, but I’m almost as likely to search for a specific song on Youtube as I am a music service. And when I do find a song on Youtube, it’s most likely going to be a Vevo video. Vevo is to Youtube what MTV was to television. Ok maybe that’s an over-simplification, but know that Vevo is the video streaming service created by / used by the two biggest record labels in the world. Vevo is basically how big name musicians do Youtube.
According to Vevo’s wikipedia article, Vevo is available in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UAE, United Kingdom, United States, and Turkey.
Take this country-count very loosely. There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer to where Amazon Music can and can’t be streamed, so I’ve linked to the few bits of information I was able to find out about Amazon Music availability.
This article is the best I can find relating to Amazon music purchases abroad (via the Kindle Fire). Wikipedia also has this to add:
Amazon.com sells music only to US customers while Amazon.co.uk sells music only to UK customers.
After the United States, Amazon MP3 was launched in the United Kingdom on December 3, 2008, in Germany on April 1, 2009, and in France on June 10, 2009. The German edition has been available in Austria and Switzerland since December 3, 2009. The Amazon MP3 store was launched in Japan on November 10, 2010. The Spanish and Italian editions were launched on October 4, 2012.
Amazon launched Amazon Cloud Player as an extension to Amazon MP3 store in the United States on March 29, 2011.
But what about music streaming? Does streaming ability mirror purchasing ability? If anyone has some insight into this, please feel free to chime in.
Looks like I’ll be able to use this service in Macedonia, but not Albania. To be honest though, I don’t use Google Play Music at all. But for those of you who do, the global availability is decent:
Spotify was restrictive enough that in the last few years of traveling, I kind of forgot it existed. We spent a lot of time in Egypt and Ukraine last year for example, and it’s available in neither. When I pulled up the list of countries that allow Spotify streaming however, I was surprised how extensive it was, especially compared to the other options on this list. For a moment I thought I’d be lucky enough to listen to Spotify on our upcoming trip to Albania and Macedonia.
No luck. As the music streaming service I’m most likely to use in the States, I’m always pleased when I can continue using it abroad.
Ah yes. So that’s why we used Soundcloud almost exclusively for our music-listening needs throughout our nomadic years. Soundcloud is pretty much only banned from one country, that being Turkey.
This list gives you an idea of which streaming services you’ll be able to use in which countries, but to be honest, a good VPN will probably allow you to access most of these streaming services regardless of where you are. I’m pretty sure my Tunnel Bear VPN allowed me to listen to Soundcloud in Turkey last year for instance.
Also, if you pay for the premium version of any of these services and therefore download the songs onto your device, then you’re probably also spared from any restriction-hassles.
If you’re cheap like me, however, and avoid paying for services like these, then I’d guess you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time on Soundcloud. Combine that with a shady website like anything2mp3.com and you’re set.