Today, every self-respecting Internet giant (and not only) considers it its duty to have a streaming music service on its list of products that allows users to listen to music. The Russian company Yandex is no exception and offers its users the Yandex.Music service.
The main charm of such services is that now the user does not need to download gigabytes of music in advance, spending many hours and days searching for it – everything is at hand at the first click.
The service can be used on different platforms and operating systems, including a browser version for a computer, as well as applications for Android and iOS. But given that we have a blog about Android, we will consider this particular version.
The application weighs 16 and a half megabytes, which is quite a bit by today's standards.
After installing and opening the application, you will be prompted to log in. By the way, if any application from 'Yandex' is already installed on your smartphone, for example, 'Money' or 'Taxi', then your account data will automatically be pulled into the application and it will be enough just to click 'Login'. If there is no account, then it can be created immediately or logged in using social networks.
After entering the application, you can get a fit of paranoia – the application will study your account and intensively remember what you love.
Looking ahead, I can say that in my case, the application remembered not at all what I was listening or listening to. Moreover, it is not even clear where it came from. Well, okay, there is artificial intelligence, he knows better.
On the start page, you can immediately take a test on the topic of who you are from the Guns N 'Roses group. It is clear that the test is timed either to an event or to marketing activity, but still interesting.
At the bottom of the screen there is a list of tabs, by the way, it's cool that the tabs were guessed to be placed exactly at the bottom, and not at the top – it's much more convenient to switch between them.
The first tab is 'Main'.
the main thing
Here is a list of thematic collections, entitled as 'Mood and Genres', the principle of ranking which I did not quite understand. Styles, eras, years, genres, moods – all mixed up, without any visible system. The very same design in the form of tiles is pleasant and convenient (hello WinPhone).
We click on the tiles we like and … we get to the next level of tiles, where we are invited to indicate more detailed preferences.
Finally we reach the tracks.
Here you can share them, add them to a playlist, and also listen in a row or mix. You can also download and like them :).
And at the bottom of the list you will be offered a couple of similar playlists. Conveniently.
However, what catches the eye almost immediately is the often small number of tracks in the final selection. It can be either 50 or 10 tracks, which, you see, is quite a bit if you want to include music of a certain category and do, for example, sports. Personally, I find it inconvenient to keep opening the app to launch the next collection.
Everything is simple here. Playlists and selections based on songs you've previously listened to will appear here. A cursory examination of this section suggested that everything is offered in a row, mainly new items or hits, since the range of genres and years is very large.
An example is Lara Fabian, which I never listen to at all. The same goes for the pop genre, with which we have a cool relationship. But Yandex.Music thinks differently.
Next up is one of my favorite streaming service points, the impressions of which will largely be impressions of the service as a whole – 'Radio'.
Unlike thematic selections, in the case of 'Radio' you are asked to choose either a genre, or a mood, an occupation or an era.
When you select an item, a list opens already in the form of circles, not tiles. Variety, hurray. But only in appearance, since the list of radio stations does not boggle the imagination, and because of this there are serious questions to it. For example, it is impossible to choose a radio station with foreign and domestic pop music mixed together, as well as to indicate your preferences in this regard in the settings. Or or.
When listening to the radio in the free version, there is a limitation on scrolling through tracks by the number and time. At a certain point, the program will tell you that to skip the song further, you need to either wait an hour or subscribe to a paid subscription.
In addition to scrolling through the Radio, a subscription will give you some more opportunities and bonuses, including unlimited music search, no advertising (which is sometimes very annoying in the free version, since the same is played). But, and that's not all. By subscribing, you will receive many pleasant bonuses in other Yandex services, for example, a 10% discount on Yandex.Taxi rides with the Comfort type and above, as well as an additional 10GB in Yandex.Disk.
For new users, there is an advertising offer in the form of three months of free use.
But back to Radio. Both in the paid and in the free version, the tracks here can only be flipped forward. Returning to the previous track will not work.
Another thing I noticed is a rather small selection of songs in radio stations. After three days, I began to notice that the same compositions began to be repeated. And it doesn't matter if you marked this song as disliked or not – pretty soon it will appear in the playlist again.
The next section is 'My Music'.
Here you can find your playlists, tracks, albums and artists that you liked, as well as tracks from the device.
You can listen to them all mixed at once.
On the same screen, you can go to the application settings to choose which networks the music will be downloaded over, turn on the dark design, manage the quality, downloaded files and where to download these files.
In the same place, in the 'My Music' tab, you can go to your account settings and, for example, find out when the next subscription will be charged, if you have issued it. You can immediately log out of your account to log into another.
It is a pity that most of the points throw you into the browser version, and do not make settings right in the application.
Well, the last tab is 'Search'.
Here, I think, explanations are superfluous. We are looking for genres, performers, tracks. It's simple.
Now let's talk a little about the playback screen of the current song. It is laconic and straightforward.
In addition to the standard playback control buttons, there are 'like' and 'dislike' icons on the left and right to indicate your preferences and teach the application to create more relevant playlists for you. As practice has shown, some compositions do not depend on these marks at all. The app offers them to listen to over and over again. Moreover, this statement is true for both radio and playlists from the 'Main' section. A strange system. Either tracks in rotation for money, or imperfect algorithms.
And under the biggest button, between the shuffle and list repeat icons, there is an inconspicuous 'HQ' icon, which means the inclusion of high quality, which is associated with increased traffic consumption.
In the context menu under the album cover, you can, for example, go to the album, the artist, find similar tracks, download the lyrics or download it (both from the selections and from the 'Radio' playlist). Well, of course, you can add a song to your playlist or share a link to a track with your friends.
Downloaded tracks are saved as a file, which is understood only by the 'Yandex Music' application, so you won't be able to use the downloaded music in another player.
Yes, perhaps there is a converter with which you can transcode files into formats that are understandable for other applications, but I do not know about such formats, alas.
A few words about the browser version
In this version, the service is a regular web page where you can listen to music. Yes, Yandex programmers still did not have enough energy for an application for a computer.
One of the things that attracts attention is the absolutely uninformative designation of sections.
They could have been more interesting. The eye does not cling to these signatures, and they are lost against the general background.
As in the application, you can log in with your account, and then you will receive all your playlists that you created on your phone. There will be no ads, and the radio will allow you to flip through tracks without restrictions.
Now let's talk about such an important parameter as sound.
At first glance, the sound quality is at an acceptable level and does not cause any discomfort – at least I did not frown when listening. This, of course, applies to listening with the High Quality Mode enabled. When high quality is disabled, listening becomes uninteresting. The sound definitely lacks transparency, depth, dynamic range. He is deaf and dirty. On the other hand, it would be naive to expect otherwise from the free version.
As for the sound with the 'high quality' mode turned on, except as 'normal', I can't find other epithets.
That seems to be good, but at the same time there is a feeling that something is missing. This is especially noticeable when listening to familiar and favorite songs. You realize with surprise that some of the tools have been lost. The depth has disappeared somewhere – it is not enough. The most interesting thing is that in the application itself I could not find even a word about the quality of both modes, expressed in any units. I was curious to figure out what bitrate Yandex calls high quality.
The file system of the smartphone will help us to understand this issue. We are looking for the 'Programs' folder, and in it we are looking for our files. No, we will not engage in witchcraft. Instead, let's pay attention to the path to the folder with the downloaded files – 'aac', and in it '192'. I wonder if this is an accident? ?
By the way, this figure corresponds very well to the listening experience. So, according to 'Yandex', high quality is 192 kbps in 'aac' format. Business …
In fact, there is nothing wrong with that, and, as practice shows, the vast majority of users of this quality will be quite enough, and they will not experience discomfort when listening to music. However, for some who have previously listened to their favorite music in higher quality, this can be an unpleasant moment. But, I repeat once again, if you have no ear for music, then these differences are likely to remain at the level of vague sensations.
Let's try to summarize what we get by downloading the Music app from Yandex.
The pluses can be written:
- Intuitive menu with easy navigation and simple controls
- Nice, unobtrusive app design
- Simplicity. It is very difficult to explain this point, but the word 'simplicity' is best suited. It turned out to be very easy to use the application
- A large volume of the music library of domestic performers
- Unusual finds such as entertaining tests on the home page
As for the cons, there is also something to say here:
- Indistinct implementation of the composition rating system – tracks marked with dislikes still appear in playlists
- Small number of tracks in selections
- A small library of foreign music of non-mass genres
- Randomly mixed collections, not divided into groups
- On the playback screen, the track / album cover cannot be expanded to full screen and saved separately as a picture
- Appetite for the app – power consumption was higher than similar apps from other companies (Spotify, Google Music, Youtube Music)
- And most importantly, the sound quality. Still, 192 kbps for 'high' quality is very little.
As a result, for 169 rubles a month we get a normal application with acceptable music quality for a mass user. It is difficult to judge whether it is a lot or a little. From the point of view of world practice, this is, of course, very little. The topic of the profitability of streaming music services was perfectly disclosed by Vladimir Nimin in his material “While the music is playing”, I recommend reading. If we start from the Russian realities and the habits of not paying for content acquired over the years, it turns out that not everyone is ready to agree with such a sum of monthly payments for music of average quality.