Music streaming apps provide access to millions of tracks at the tap of a screen, making it easy for people to discover new music or catch up on their favorite albums. However, when searching for the best music apps it’s important to know some are better than others, depending on the experience you desire. That's why this post will feature the best music streaming services compared.
Whether you want to compare Amazon Music vs. Spotify or Amazon Music vs. Apple Music, this comprehensive music service guide will cover 10 of the most popular music platforms. We'll cover the costs, pros and cons, and a brief overview of each music streaming service, providing you with enough information to decide the best music streaming service for you.
Best For: Apple Music is best for people who already have an extensive iTunes library or are committed to Apple's products and brand.
Price: Individuals are charged $10 per month, with a $5 discounted rate for students. New members can access a 3-month free trial.
Pros: With over 60 million songs, you can select your favorite tracks from Apple Music’s extensive library. Additionally, human curators create bespoke playlists for people looking to discover new music. Occasionally, Apple Music provides exclusive early releases from famous artists.
Apple Music is the only music streaming service that will stream from a HomePod device (Apple's smart speaker) without connecting your phone. It also boasts a unique feature that allows subscribers to search for songs using lyrics, which is great when you can't remember a song title.
Cons: Not ideal for Windows computer users and non-compatible for direct streaming with Google Home smart speakers.
Best For: When we look at the leading music streaming services compared, Spotify works best for people who want to listen to lots of music across various devices. Their free tier is perfect for people on a budget who don't mind listening to ads.
Price: If you don't mind ads, you can use Spotify for free. Alternatively, Spotify Premium costs $10 per month for individuals or $15 for up to six family members. Students get free access to Hulu and a $5 discounted rate.
Pros: Spotify gives users access to over 60 million tracks and creates bespoke playlists based on users' listening habits. It's great for discovering new music, and it works on most smartphones, speakers, and computers, including the PS4 and PS5 game consoles.
Cons: If you're looking to use Spotify for free, their on-demand song section is limited to a small selection.
Amazon Music Unlimited / Prime Music
Best For: Members of Amazon Prime.
Price: Amazon Music Unlimited costs $10 per month for non-Prime members and $8 per month for Prime members. Amazon Echo owners can enjoy a three-month free trial and a discounted rate of $4 per month. Prime Music is included with the Amazon Prime subscription.
Pros: Amazon Music Unlimited provides access to thousands of personalized stations, hand-curated playlists, and over 60 million songs. If you have an Echo or Alexa device, you can use voice commands to activate this music streaming service.
Cons: Prime music only offers around 2 million songs, which is a lot less than other popular music streaming services.
Best For: People who love high-quality audio and want to listen online.
Price: Tidal has several pricing tiers starting from $10 per month for standard quality audio. High-resolution audio costs $20 per month. Veterans, students, and families are all eligible for discounted membership.
Pros: Tidal provides excellent quality audio, especially as part of its top-tier service. Music video lovers can access over 250,000 on-demand videos and 60 million songs. The service includes access to multiple music platforms.
Cons: When we look at the top music streaming services compared, $20 is particularly expensive for a monthly subscription fee. Additionally, the high-quality audio can burn through mobile data plans reasonably quickly due to some of the tracks' file sizes. Also, although Tidal offers millions of tracks, not all of them are available in high-resolution.
Best For: If you already spend a lot of time watching music videos on YouTube, this service is ideal.
Price: YouTube Music is free if you're prepared to watch ads. Their ad-free premium subscription costs $10 per month or $15 a month for families. Anyone can access a free three-month trial, and student discounts are available. If you use a Google-powered smart speaker, you'll be able to access free ad-supported playlists without subscribing to YouTube music.
Pros: YouTube music users can upload 100,000 audio files to stream for free from the cloud. Therefore, this is the best option for users with an extensive collection of tracks that cannot be found on music streaming services.
YouTube Music gives users access to a significant library of personalized playlists, music videos, songs, and premium users to download videos and music for offline use.
Cons: When streaming from the free tier of YouTube Music, the music stops if you lock your phone screen or change apps unless you're listening to one of your own uploads.
Best For: Laidback listeners who don't mind what song will play next when they stream. Additionally, this service streams a lot of live performances so that subscribers can get exclusive access to certain concerts and shows.
Price: If you just want to stream LiveXLive's radio, it's free with ads or $4 per month without. If you wish to access their full library of on-demand music, it costs $10 per month.
Pros: LiveXLive provides access to a wide variety of radio stations, as well as many popular music genres.
Cons: LiveXLive is designed for people who listen to stations rather than stream tracks on demand.
Best For: If you love classical music, Primephonic is the best music streaming service for you.
Price: Primephonic has two different price tiers based upon audio-quality. Users pay $10 per month for lower-quality files or $15 per month for high-quality files. Anyone can access a free 14-Day trial.
Pros: Primephonic is updated regularly with the latest classical albums and has a variety of playlists curated by well-known artists. Classical-music lovers can access obscure artists and labels, providing a range of options when searching for new music.
Cons: Primephonic has no desktop app, so you'll need to stream from your browser if you listen from a computer. Also, as this music service focuses on classical music, it's not ideal for people looking to stream multiple genres.
Best For: If you're looking for a hands-off listening experience and tailored music recommendations, Pandora is a great option.
Price: Pandora's streaming radio is free with ads or $5 per month without. Subscribers can access ad-free streaming radio for $10 per month, with family plans available for $15 per month. All paid plans have free trial periods, and there are discounts available for students and veterans.
Pros: Pandora is easy to use and can be streamed from most major platforms, including smartphones, iOS, smart speakers, and web browsers.
Cons: The best audio quality on Pandora's streaming service isn't as good as most music streaming competitors.
Best For: Hi-resolution music lovers will appreciate this service.
Price: Deezer has a free service for people who don't mind listening to ads. Premium subscribers can enjoy unlimited music for just $9.99 per month, whereas high-quality music-lovers can access hi-res tracks for $15 per month.
Pros: Deezer offers subscribers 360 Reality Audio tracks. This is a super-immersive audio format designed specifically for streaming music. They also offer vast device support, an extensive catalog, a user-friendly interface, and some fantastic non-music content.
Cons: Deezer doesn't offer its HiFi option on mobile devices and has a limited number of podcasts available. Also, the 360 Reality Audio feature requires a separate app download.
Cloud Cover Music
Best For: Cloud Cover Music is ideal for U.S. and Canadian businesses who want to stream music legally with low-cost licensing and setup. The company provides enterprise features and tools that meet the demands of chains with thousands of stores, as well as single location businesses.
Price: Cloud Cover Music provides a 14-Day free trial and three scalable pricing plans:
Music Plan - $16.95/mo/location (annual) or $18.95/mo/location (monthly)
Manage Plan - $21.50/mo/location (annual) or $23.95/mo/location (monthly)
Messaging Plan - $26.95/mo/location (annual) or $29.95/mo/location (monthly)
Pros: The company covers licensing fees with ASCAP, BMI, SOCAN, and GMR. Music can be scheduled to specific times and dates of the week, and customers can create their own mixes by combining stations. Songs can easily be removed if they don't fit in with your company's branding. Plus they offer a free trial, including music plans to match your business objectives.
Cloud Cover Music’s in-house curators have created targeted stations that help to engage with predetermined demographics. Playing appropriate music has been proven to boost morale and improve sales.
Cons: Cloud Cover Music is designed for commercial use by businesses. Therefore, it's not ideal for individuals looking for a day-to-day streaming service.