Best Music Streaming Service 2024

January 2, 2024

The great debate - which music streaming services is the winner for 2024?

2023 was a big year for the music streaming industry. We have seen a massive jump in the range of tracks - with all of the biggest names in music streaming hitting the 100 million tracks.

We got more lossless, spatial audio and MQA listening quality, giving music lovers (with the right headphones/music setup) a listening experience like no other.

Prices have fluctuated and, in some cases, caused outrage for subscribers, and in other cases, a minor increase felt okay.

2024 has seen Deezer remove its Free Tier in many EU countries; TIDAL lowers its prices to be the same as other streaming services. Spotify is increasing its pricing but offering more audiobooks. Both Spotify and Amazon Music have released AI playlist creation options, but with Amazon Music, you can use it with any subscription - Spotify is limited to Premium subs.

So, without further ado, here is the FreeYourMusic music streaming cream of the crop for 2024!

Spotify: The King of Playlists

Is there anything like a Spotify playlist? If there is one feature they do that is head and shoulders above the rest, it is their personalization and curation of playlists.

You get multiple daily mix options, each catering to what you have been listening to in the previous days, but you also have weekly mixes, new releases, Discover Weekly, Radio, and more - like Top Mixes.


Even more interesting is that Spotify also offers mood-based playlists for listeners. So, for example, if you are on a run of listening to uptempo tracks in the morning, you will see more suggestions for playlists that have similar tracks.

The Spotify UI is also one of the shining features - it is easy to use, and they put all of their playlists, mixes, and suggestions somewhere that it is easy to find them.

A couple of other places Spotify does really well are its extensive range of device compatibility and its ability to work with any home system. So you can play your playlists with Alexa, Siri, or a quick Hey Google.

And, unlike other major music streaming platforms, Spotify has an ad-supported free version. Although there are limited features, it is an excellent option for people who want great music without a price tag. Spotify went into 2024 and announced that they would be increasing their prices.

The price increase is to cover the addition of audiobooks to their offering. This is great for some, but it is just too much for others.

There are also fresh rumors about the release of Spotify HiFi - which means they could become a contender for the best audio quality.

Even though Spotify remains the biggest music streaming company on the market, not everyone loves them. Check out alternatives to Spotify - and pick your perfect match.


All that said, let's hear it for the champion of the playlists - Spotify.

Apple Music: The Apple Ecosystem Symphony

It should be no surprise to people who have watched the Steve Jobs movie that Apple is outstanding when it comes to having a tight ecosystem with things designed to work in complete harmony with each other. While many people will always firmly be in camp Android, there is no denying the seamless integration.

Apple is proud of its deep integration, which is a feature on its website that you’ll find under Continuity. As they put it, it's like they were all made for each other because they were.

Outside of hardware, Apple is conscious of ensuring its software works across the board, too. And while that doesn't always work, like Apple Music Voice Plan, for example - the now discontinued Apple Music plan that had all of the integration—people just didn't love it.


All that said, it is a beautiful ecosystem that works - and works well.

Apple as a brand is a monster, and since it works across multiple forms of entertainment, it stands to reason that it has content that no one else has. And those exclusives have not only been lucrative for the Artists—here's looking at you, T-Swift—but they have also been incredible for the platform. With armies of fans switching to Apple Music to hear those tracks for the first time, fans in their millions boosted the subscriber base substantially.

Apple Music has some exciting options, too, like Apple Music Classical.

But the perfect pairing? Apple Music has gone all out on pushing its Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos and recently announced that the library now includes Rhianna's biggest hits. And, of course, what is the ideal product combination to enjoy this on? A set of AirPods, Beats, and any other Apple hardware (iPad / iPhone / iMac / Macbook).

It is good to remember, though, that a wired headset is better for getting the best of any of the audio from Apple. And if we're talking about the listening experience, it's worth checking Apple Car Play to make your ride more comfortable

All of this is great, but it is not a seamless experience if you don't have a Windows PC, an Amazon home hub, and other products that aren't in the Apple device family. The biggest con, aside from needing to have all of your Apple devices to get the best experience, is that Apple can feel clunky.
For example, one of the biggest oversights for many is the lack of Sleep Timer in the actual Apple Music app - even with Apple products.


Put your hands together, and let's hear it for the marketing machine with a neat ecosystem - Apple Music.

TIDAL: Audiophile's Paradise

Sometimes, hearing is believing, and in the case of Tidal's Master Quality Authenticated tracks, you are in for an enjoyable time. Only some tracks have MQA, but even FLAC is enough of a quality difference for Tidal to take the top spot when it comes to listening quality. That isn't to say that Spotify or Apple Music don't have excellent quality - it just isn't in the same.


The main drawbacks are that the subscription is expensive, and unless you know the songs you want to listen to are MQA and you have the hardware to tell the difference, it might not be worth it.

It's not just the superb quality; Tidal has a deeply artist-first approach, so if you're looking for a streaming service that pays fairly, Tidal is a much better option than Apple Music or Spotify.

You can see a full breakdown of the streaming service's royalties to artists here: Royalties Calculator.

How do you make the most of the MQA listening experience?
Firstly, the MQA is studio quality and signed off by the recording engineers and the artists. Which means there isn't a higher quality possible.

The Tidal app has the core decoder for the first unfolding of the MQA file, which is higher than the CD quality. Then, if you are using the proper hardware, the rest of the unfolding of the MQA will happen.

To make the most of the high-quality audio, here are the steps to take:
On the desktop app, go to Streaming and look for HiFi/Master - tap the circle. It is the same process if you use the mobile app, too. A digital-to-analog converter will be your friend here; you can get a cheaper DAC, which will give you the same quality.

Why a DAC?
It guarantees the best possible audio quality without the guesswork because the DAC unfolds that last MQA render.

While Bluetooth is great and will give you good quality, it doesn't have the right tech for MQA or lossless. You'll need to be plugged into whatever is playing your music, and even the 'old' Apple headphones with a wire will work. But as an audiophile, those likely aren't enough.

While there was some controversy around MQA, you'll want to do the same to get the most out of FLAC anyway.

The headphone fit also matters to get the right experience here. The best thing to do is grab a free trial, your best headphones, and check out some of the MQA playlists.


Is all of that fuss worth it? Absolutely, yes, for people who want an unparalleled listening experience.

Let's give a studio quality cheer for Tidal, striving to offer the best audio quality on the market.

Deezer: Global Music Discovery

Although relatively new, Deezer added a Discovery feature, making it one of the most straightforward music streaming services for navigating and finding new music. Flow is a super cool AI-integrated system that helps create endless playlists.

Flow works with moods and genres, and once you have set it up, you'll get automated mixes to match what you are looking for. To get the best from Flow, you'll need to take some time to make sure you are favoriting your top tracks. The more information you give the AI, the more curated the playlist will be. It is just as essential to skip tracks you don't like, too - this will be taken into account and make for better curation.


Not only that, but Deezer made considerable improvements to their in-app discovery with the improvements they made to the mix feature. Since Deezer has always promised users that it would be best in class with its music discovery, they are using a combination of editorial experts, advanced algorithms, and AI.

SongCatcher is another of their music discovery features; if you have a tune stuck in your head or watching a movie and need to know the song name immediately, you can tap on SongCatcher. It can be added to your favorites. You can add SongCatcher to your widgets to make it even faster, so song identification is just a tap away.


Another feature that Deezer is very proud of and highly effective in music discovery is the 'mix inspired by.' However, their press release states that it is one of their lesser-known features for musical exploration.

Mix inspired by is easy to access, and all users can quickly find it on the app's homepage. This is one of the fastest and most effective ways to listen to songs and artists that you have likely never listened to - or even heard of. Tap the Mixes inspired by to hear a playlist based on your tastes.

Big cheer for Deezer going above and beyond to give you new music that you'll love!

YouTube: Visual and Auditory Extravaganza

Who is the champion of music videos? YouTube! YouTube has managed to bridge the gap between its video and music offerings and give a full entertainment suite. YouTube has always been the go-to place for people to watch newly released music videos from their favorite artists.

But over the years, it evolved into interviews, BTS videos, and a way to gain more insight into your favorite artists. With its wide range of genres and plenty of playlist curators, you're hard-pressed to find another platform that offers that variety.

YouTube is estimated to have over 800 million videos, so when it comes to choice, it far surpasses all other streaming platforms - but not all of them are music.

One of the biggest downfalls of YouTube is that you might be surprised by an advert halfway through a song or back-to-back ads at the start - so if you want to go ad-free, you're going to need to pay for a subscription. And, if you're going to pay for a subscription, you might as well get the bundle with YouTube and YouTube Music.

Playlist building is easy enough, but you can find plenty of pre-made playlists with mixes of all the best music videos. Oh, and it integrates with all other Google products and is accessible across iOS devices and Android.

When people ask, 'Have you seen the new music video for Doja Cat?' They will often send you a YouTube link, or you'll go to YouTube to find it. When we think of music videos, we think of YouTube - they are one and the same.


A big round of applause for the music video masters YouTube.

YouTube Music: Blurring the Lines

YouTube and YouTube Music aren't the same, but they are so closely linked that there are multiple crossovers, which certainly blur the lines of the music streaming world. The great playlists you find on YouTube are usually on YouTube Music as audio-only.

A lesser-known but significant perk to having a YouTube Music account is that all those unknown, undiscovered artists and musicians hide there. While you can find all of the biggest artists in the world on all of the other streaming platforms, YouTube and now YouTube Music has become home to aspiring artists sharing their journey, low-budget but ultra-creative music videos, and music.

Another bonus is that you can enjoy a seamless transition from watching a podcast video on YouTube to opening it on the YTM app and carrying on without any interruption.

However, like some of the other streaming services, there are some cons. Users report that their shuffle options aren't as robust as they'd like and that the audio quality isn't as high as some of the other services. However, the personalization and playlist-building capabilities are top-notch.


But the massive library of things you won't get anywhere else means that YouTube Music is a niche listeners paradise. The fastest way to introduce your ears to something new is to type unsigned artists or underground artists in the YTM search bar and scroll. And if you are excited to know what music is ranking the highest on YouTube Music in 2023, check our post about top 10 most viewed playlists on YouTube Music.

Three cheers for the titan of mixing video and audio - YouTube Music!

Amazon Music: The E-Commerce Giant's Melody

Amazon was once a marketplace dedicated to selling books - and from its humble beginnings, it is now an entertainment monster. Amazon Music has joined the rest of the heavy hitters in the music streaming industry and hit 100 million tracks, but it also offers some exciting features.

The integration with Alexa is one of the best features for those who want to make the most of having a voice assistant, but that isn't their only shining star. Their multiple tiers mean you can choose from a wider-than-average set of subscription options.


Not to mention that people who want more from their subscriptions can do so when they have Amazon Prime. Their Unlimited subscription is growing in popularity for the same reason music lovers love Tidal. The Amazon Music FLAC catalog is growing.

In terms of quality for value, Amazon Music is doing its best with Song 360 and Dolby Atmos, making it even more enjoyable for people searching for the best quality and value.

The cons are few, but they can be significant; people generally don't love the clunky UI, and it doesn't have the social aspects that Spotify is so good at.

Congratulations to the behemoth that is Amazon Music for making a big splash in the music streaming industry and offering up more bang for your buck!

What is the best music streaming service in 2024?

Each music streaming service offers something different. While most libraries are roughly equal, the price points and features vary widely.

There are some conversations to be had about who offers the best audio quality, but with FLAC, Sony 360, Dolby Atmos, MQA, and Spatial Audio in play - the best quality will come down to your listening setup. A DAC with some high-quality headphones will offer superior listening, but you will want to upgrade or opt for FLAC wherever possible. Tidal HiFi offers ACC, ALAC, FLAC, and MQA.

When it comes to price, here is the price for all of the cheapest plans (not including student or free):

Spotify: Premium Individual $10.99 pm, with three free months & 15 hours of audiobooks for selected countries.
Amazon Music: Amazon Music Unlimited is $9.99 pm for Prime Members, $10.99 pm without Prime, and 1 or 3 months free based on random promotions (Spatial Audio).
TIDAL HiFi: TIDAL dropped its premium-cost HiFi Plus ($19.99) and bundled all of the best subscriptions into Tidal HiFi—the cheapest plan is $10.99, bringing it into line with the other services.
Apple Music: Individual $10.99 pm, one month free or six months with an Apple device (Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos). Features Apple Music Sing and Apple Music Classical app.
YouTube Music: Music Premium Individual, $10.99 pm; the most remarkable feature is switching between music videos and audio with a single button.
Deezer: It costs $11.99 but has seen steep rises in the EU (and they removed their Free tier). The best features are the discovery options. The annual 25% discount makes it a better value.

Tech and music critics agree that Spotify is the best all-rounder, but Apple Music, Tidal, and Deezer win for sound quality. If you like pure music focus, then Apple Music and TIDAL are great options, while Deezer has some fun additions, such as SongCatcher. The mobile UI for TIDAL and Apple Music are both clean, but Apple Music is only in light mode, which isn’t a vibe for some.

For those who love the visual element included in their listening, YouTube Music in the YouTube bundle is the best option.

And while YouTube has a lot of undiscovered artists, Deezer tries to help you find them through their platform.

Whatever your next music streaming service is, don't let the fear of losing your playlist stop you from trying it out. The FreeYourMusic app transfers your playlists between services - even if you're only using a trial, you get your first 100 transfers for free. Now, go forth and try a new platform and bring your favorite songs with you.

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