While writing these very words we’re listening to some pretty wicked trip-hop beats on one of the music streaming platforms. Truth to be told, there’s very little we can do without music. Come to think of it – is there anything in life that can’t have music in it?
Can you imagine a single event, that would sound better without sound? That’s what I thought!
Luckily, wherever human goes, he brings technology with him. Sharp. Therefore we - the human (race) are provided with music streaming services!
Well, we’ve made quite a list—8 platforms offering enough music to fill every moment of your life.
We are trying to compare music platforms according to the amount of music they have and how much it’ll hurt your wallet when you decide to buy yourself some of that access!
Spoiler alert: for us, the choice is between Spotify and Apple Music. And while Apple Music makes more sense for iPhone lovers, Spotify is currently the best music streaming service out there… However, if you’re into exploring new technology, new music, and so new streaming music services, you shouldn’t limit yourself to those two.
Remember, you can move all your music from Apple Music to Spotify or from Amazon Music to Spotify (or pretty much any music service) with FreeYourMusic. But before you do that, read the comparison below.
#1 Spotify—The most popular streaming service
Kinda obvious to start with the most popular of ’em all and the one we love the most too.
Spotify’s music library is over 70 million songs with over 20 000 songs added daily. Nice, considered the paywall of the premium membership is only 9.99$/ month high.
If you are a student, Spotify has a pretty sweet offer for you: you can listen to unlimited music for only $4.99 per month. It is also possible to buy a family plan in which up to six people can listen to music for $ 14.99 per month. Therefore, you and your friends or family can enjoy multiple accounts for a really low price. That’s great value for money!
But how much of it actually goes to the artists? Spoiler alert: not that much. Other streaming platforms pay more so if you want to support the artists you love, better choose another service.
Spotify gives you a variety of custom-made playlists for you to enjoy: from Discovery Weekly, through Daily Mixes, to Best Indie Songs in January. The variety of styles, artists is endless. And the sound quality is just enough to enjoy your listening experience.
But that’s not all. Spotify gets more and more popular in terms of podcasts and internet radio stations. Many popular podcasters are already there and this trend is not going to stop anytime soon. Therefore, Spotify is not only one of many streaming services for music but a great source of knowledge too.
However, don’t expect too many options for lyrics or videos. This is not your go-to app for this.
Best for: Podcast lovers, everyone who likes discovering new music.
Price: Starts at $4,99 for students. Free trial.
#2 Apple Music
Apple Music was launched in 2015 in over 100 countries. Now, it gives access to 90 Million songs and live radio station Apple Music 1, which broadcasts 24 hours a day.
How much is Apple Music? The cost of access to unlimited music on Apple Music is $9.99 per month in the United States. This is a regular price, however, Apple streaming service has prepared a student and a family plan. There is no freemium version of the app though. So you either pay for the subscription or you use Pandora/Spotify…
You can connect your Apple Music account with iCloud Music Library. It will give you access to your personal library of tracks across all your devices. As you can assume by now, Apple Music synchronizes perfectly between Apple devices so it’s a go-to platform for iPhone and Mac users.
Apple Music recommends you some nice playlists and all, but their live radio stations really stand out here.
It has an internet radio station called Apple Music 1 (previously Beats 1 Radio), which you can listen to in real-time and it’s hosted by DJs and their guests. You can launch the radio station in the Apple Music app just by clicking on the radio tab from the menu. That’s cool!
Best for: Apple lovers!
Price: Starts at $4.99 for students, no freemium version.
Tidal is no longer the only place to listen to Jay-Z but if you’re a fan, you’ve probably heard of this music streaming service. Or Kanye West. They seem to get along!
While originally a very expensive streaming service ($24.99 was a crazy price…), Tidal introduced a $9.99 a month plan that includes Lossless High Fidelity music! If you want HiFi sound quality, Tidal has the best offer out there (you can also check Amazon Music HD). On top of that, Tidal introduced a more fair payment system to artists. Every month a part of the fees (even 10%) from your HiFi Plus subscriptions will be directed to the artist you listen to the most. Great move, Tidal!
This music streaming platform offers 80M tracks and around 250k music videos for you to enjoy. They collaborate with experienced music journalists and experts to curate the best playlists for their users.
Want to purchase some merchandise from Tidal? No problem. You can do that too. Their services apparently go broader than just music streaming.
Tidal is building some great community around music. With their exclusive sessions, t-shirts, high-quality music and artists, they built a movement. And I can see why for youngsters it may be a thing. Especially if you don’t feel like a mainstream Spotify’er. Audio quality is also top of the tops if you go for Tidal.
Best for: Music passionates who want to be part of something beyond the app.
Price: Starts at $9.99.
#4 Amazon Music
Unlike Spotify, Amazon doesn’t offer a free, ad-supported plan within Amazon Music Unlimited. You can only get a free 30-day trial.
Amazon delivers (get it?) 75M music tracks and costs $9.99/month. However, as an Amazon Prime Subscriber, you pay $7.99 which is quite a sweet deal. If you’re an Amazon Echo user, you can enjoy a $3.99 version for your Echo device. However, if you’d like to use it on other devices too, you pay the regular price. That’s just too complicated compared to other music services, but ok Amazon.
Now get this: Amazon Music Unlimited users can choose from over 75 million tracks. Now that’s something!
Amazon Music Unlimited is split into three sections: ‘Browse’ (the streaming service), ‘My Music’ (your local and Cloud library), and ‘Store’. You’ll also get recommendations based on your listening habits and the songs you love.
Best for: Amazon Prime users, everyone who wants some exclusive access to premiers.
Price: Starts at $3.99 per month (for Amazon Echo device)
#5 Youtube Music
Youtube Music replaced Google Music Play in late 2020. Unfortunately, many people say that the new service falls behind its predecessor and lacks some of the important functionalities. Hopefully, we'll be seeing more and more features introduced soon. Youtube Music takes a lot from Spotify - they recently rolled out personalized playlists called "My Mix" and "Year in Review", the option to create collaborative playlists with your friends, and lyrics-based searches.
As for now, a great perk of Youtube Music is that you can upload up to 100,000 of your own songs. You can also download songs for offline listening. With the Explore Tab, Youtube Music will help you discover new music, depending on the genre or your mood. If you love to listen to remixes, covers, and alternative song versions, Youtube Music will be a great pick. You can really find some random gems there! Youtube Music also stands out due to the ability to switch between songs and music videos. If you're a music video or live performance fanatic, give it a go.
This one will cost ‘ya 9.99$ per month for premium subscription that goes with background listening, downloads and ad-free listening.
Best for: Everyone who loves YouTube and would like to integrate it more with their music.
Price: Starts at $9,99
With 1,5 million music tracks in its libraries, Pandora boasts most customization options and a 9.99$ per month subscription fee. While the number of tracks is really low in comparison to Apple Music or Spotify music services, they have all major artists that we all know and love. However, you’ll be missing some feats, remixes, and amateur music that other streaming services can boast of.
Is this something we *really* need in our lives? I don’t think so.
On the other hand, Pandora has an excellent free version and Discovery features. That’s basically the core of its existence. The Music Genome Project is the engine that drives Pandora. That means you get the ability to get new songs you’ll probably like based on a vast amount of variables, down to the unique cocktail of instruments, vocals, and pacing that make the song what it is. Sounds delicious?
If you're wondering how much data Pandora uses, check out this article.
Fun fact: it costs 12.99$/ month if you buy it through iTunes. Like anyone’s gonna do it…
Best for: Music lovers always pursuing new songs and playlists.
Price: Starts at $4,99 per month.
While Deezer may feel like a niched streaming service, it’s getting more and more popular and offers a great sound quality. It offers a freemium version with ads just like Spotify. Their subscription goes for $9.99 (no surprise here) and covers 90M of tracks.
The most recent news from Deezer is that they are expanding its flagship playlist brands like Rocket, Popstar and Certified into a concert series, or ‘playlist parties’ in different cities in different parts of the world.
Their music editors have hand-picked artists to perform at invite-only shows called ‘LIVE’. While we’ve seen similar events hosted by Amazon, Apple, and Spotify, we can’t wait to see how this goes.
The coolest part of Deezer services is Deezer Flow. Your personalized soundtrack that includes your favorite music with some fresh recommendations.
Deezer greatly diverse music catalog to the table than Spotify or Apple Music services achieve, and you can find a lot of albums you want but unavailable in your countries. Their technology is not as advanced, but we love to see how Deezer will grow in the next months.
Best for: Everyone who appreciates diversity in their playlist.
Price: Starts at $9.99 per month.
This one is more like a content streaming music service. It was made for musicians to share their music (unlike Jay-Z) for free for the greater good of the industry. They are mostly known for their free version.
Soon it turned out to be a great promotional tool for the artists and thus the beginning of streaming/sharing listening experience. It has 200 million tracks for 5$/month. Truth be told, Soundcloud makes it very easy to submit your songs and share it with your friends. Hence the highest number of tracks.
SoundCloud is full of niche music, remixes, feats, amateur music. If you’re into that, there’s no better streaming service than SoundCloud.
See how SoundCloud compares to Spotify. They're completely different!
Best for: People looking for access to new music, niche songs, and remix tracks.
What is the best music streaming service?
We can all agree that the best music platform has Tool’s tracks. But which is best? It is up to you, your music taste, and your openness to using something different than Spotify… And my honest advice here would be: test different music services before you stick to one. It doesn’t have to be always Apple Music vs Spotify.
If you choose to move your playlists from one service to another, FreeYourMusic will let you do that in a few clicks. No matter if you have 10 or 10,000 songs saved.
I hope we shed some light for you, though. Good luck with finding the best music platform for your taste!