Streaming music services generally have a lot in common. Most offer similar catalogs and features, a monthly fee of around $10, and good connectivity across devices.
Apple Music offers curated playlists, solid app design, and high-res streaming. It works especially well on Apple products and integrates nicely with Alexa.
One of the most popular music streaming platforms in the world today, Spotify is a top choice for its extensive library, best-in-class recommendation algorithms, and curated playlists. It’s available on smartphones, tablets, desktops, and smart TV apps and can be played ad-free with its premium plan. Spotify also offers many other great features, including collaborative playlists, group session options, and ad-free podcasts.
While it doesn’t offer lossless audio, Spotify’s high bitrates (up to 320kbps) still come very close and are very good for casual listening. And, if you’re an avid listener, Spotify can track your listening habits and recommend new music.
iHeartRadio is a solid option if you want a mix of terrestrial radio, curated artist channels, and podcasts. Its music catalog is smaller than the others, but it has various genres and moods to explore. It’s also a great choice for listening to live concerts.
iHeartRadio is the biggest all-in-one music streaming platform. It has a large library of songs, curated playlists, and channels for a variety of activities, podcasts, and genres and is available on most devices. It offers a free tier and a paid plan. However, you should remember that if you want a discount on the paid music platform, it is as realistic to get it as the usual promo codes for many people, such as discounts on pizza, a paperhelp promo code, or when ordering on the well-known Farfetch.
Its iHeartRadio app lets users stream live broadcast radio stations across the U.S., as well as personalized Artist Radio stations and ad-free custom music streams. It also has a huge selection of podcasts, music playlists for every mood or activity, and streaming of thousands of concerts. It is also available on many connected devices and virtual assistants.
Like Spotify, Amazon Music has a massive music and video library, ad-free listening, and the option to listen offline. However, it has a slightly dated UI and offers fewer social tools than the competition. Amazon Music Unlimited is available at $8.99 a month or can be purchased as part of an Amazon Prime subscription for less. It also offers a growing library of spatial audio tracks mastered in Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio.
With so many options for music streaming, choosing the right one depends on your priorities. Some services specialize in particular genres or audio quality, while others offer a variety of features and integrations. Some, like Tidal and Idagio, claim to remunerate artists more fairly than the competition (though it’s not clear that this is actually true).
Amazon Music has a huge library, plenty of expertly curated playlists and personalized streaming stations, and supports multiple devices and apps. It also has an X-Ray for detailed track information, a download feature, and offline listening. It also works well with Alexa.
Its free access level is limited to a shuffle-based experience and six skips an hour, and its catalog doesn’t include high-bitrate or spatial audio tracks. But its Unlimited subscription level offers them all, along with a wide range of other features, such as ad-free listening and an ad-free podcast library.
One of the oldest streaming services around, Deezer has a clean UI with easy-to-understand EQ controls and the option to stream HiFi FLAC tracks on desktop or mobile. It’s also the first service to offer 360 Reality Audio tracks, giving you a sense of being in the middle of a concert. Its music discovery is on par with rivals, using a trove of user listening data to track your genres and provide recommendations. And its Flow playlist automatically mixes new and old songs to create a seamless listening experience.
Its premium tier gives you access to 90 million tracks, and like Tidal and Apple Music, it lets you upgrade to lossless CD quality for an extra $10 per month. It’s also available on a range of devices, including smartphones, TVs, and wireless speakers from Sonos, Amazon, Bose, and Cambridge Audio.
Qobuz is the world’s only lossless music streaming service. It offers a subscription plan and a digital download store called Sublime that both offer studio-quality FLAC 24-bit lossless music streaming and high-resolution music downloads. Its selection is expansive, and they also focus on quality editorial like Panoramas (articles about a particular artist or label) and a wide variety of playlists and genres.
Unlike Spotify, which only delivers 320 kilobits, Qobuz’s high-resolution streaming provides CD-quality sound. It’s a great option for music enthusiasts, and the service also takes advantage of the extra metadata that some copyright holders provide for individual tracks. This includes composers, producers, engineers, and the original record labels for each track. However, the Qobuz user interface can feel cluttered and unintuitive compared to Spotify and Apple Music. Even organizing a playlist isn’t as easy as it is on other services.
Tidal is a high-fidelity music streaming service that’s ideal for audiophiles. Its premium plans give you access to lossless CD-quality audio and a library of over 70 million songs. It also offers a number of innovative sound formats like Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio. Tidal offers a 30-day free trial for new users.
If you’re a fan of hip hop, the platform has an impressively fleshed-out section dedicated to the genre with playlists like 101, Respect the Classics, Guest Verses, Beats and Rhymes, and Evolution. It also boasts a rich collection of video content, including concerts, interviews, and short films.
YouTube Music is another good option for a variety of music genres, but it lacks a dedicated desktop app and only has an ad-supported tier that tops out at a rough 128 kbps bitrate. It does, however, pay artists better than most other streaming services.
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