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How to choose the best music streaming service for you

Estimates suggest that more than 100 million people now pay to stream music, and Spotify only has another 70 million non-paying customers.

If you're one of those 170 million people, how did you choose the music streaming service you currently use? What factors did you consider before signing up? For most people, the research probably stopped at "price."

However, there is much more to consider than just cost, especially most music streaming services charge the same amount. Spending the time to make sure you're using the best service for your needs can pay off:you'll enjoy the service more and be less likely to cancel your subscription.

But how do you know if you're using the right music streaming service?

The music

The most important part of any streaming music service is the music itself. That's why you're paying for the service in the first place.

It's easy to think that the largest providers in the industry are quite similar. After all, if they have millions of songs in their libraries, how different can they be? Actually, nothing could be further from the truth..

Music catalog

Make sure the music library matches your own musical tastes. For example, Spotify is well known for making it easier for smaller bands and upcoming artists to discover. 5 Ways To Discover New Music Without Getting Overwhelmed 5 Ways To Discover New Music Without Getting Overwhelmed How do you discover new music? These five easy tools will help you find new songs and new albums without feeling overwhelmed. Read More

Also, pay attention to what kind of music the service specializes in. Companies like Spotify and Google Play Music offer a wide selection of all genres, but there are many niche services available. 7 Websites to Discover New Music by Indie Artists 7 Websites to Discover New Music by Indie Artists If mainstream music doesn't appeal to you, you should check out indie artists online. Here are seven websites to help you discover new music from independent artists around the world. Read more too.

Lastly, pay attention to which bands and artists do not make their music available. For a long time, he couldn't find Prince's work on Spotify. You can now legally stream Prince's music. You can legally stream Prince's music again. In 2015, Prince removed his music from most streaming services. However, once Prince has passed, its status has deemed streaming services worthy of Prince's music once again. Read More , from Spotify in a bid to lure users to Tidal, and country star Garth Brooks isn't going to license his Ropin' the Wind album to anyone.


As the battle for users heats up, some services are beginning to offer "exclusive artists." New albums are pre-released on a particular service, sometimes months before the public release and release on other platforms.

The most famous example of this so far is Kanye West. The life of Paul . West released the album on Tidal and encouraged his fans to download the app so they could listen to the music. The campaign worked. Tidal was the most downloaded app on the US App Store in the months after it was released. It took six weeks for the album to arrive on Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music. That album has yet to be released as a physical CD.

Since West's album, more artists have signed similar contracts. Drake's Viewpoints , Frank Ocean's Blondes , and the rapper's chance Coloring book were all Apple Music exclusives, while Beyonce put it on Lemonade in tide.


Some people won't be able to tell the difference between a high-fidelity track and a 128Kbps song they downloaded from Napster in 2001. If you're listening through normal headphones, it'll be next to impossible.

However, if you are an audiophile, are you an audiophile? These 10 questions reveal the truth Are you an audiophile? These 10 Questions Reveal the Truth You might think you're an audiophile, but in reality very few music lovers meet all the necessary requirements. Are you really an audiophile? Or are you just a great suitor? Read More Therefore, you must subscribe to a plan with high-quality audio.

Tidal is the best-known hi-fi music streaming service Tidal Ups the Ante to Attract Audiophiles Tidal Ups the Ante to Attract Audiophiles Not content with offering high-fidelity audio, Tidal is now adding what it calls "master-quality recordings." ". But will this be enough to entice people to subscribe to Tidal? Read More If you have a Sonos system, you can subscribe to Deezer Elite, which encodes music in FLAC (16-bit, 1,411 Kbps). You can also take a look at Qobuz and OraStream.

In contrast, setting Spotify's streaming quality to High (Edit> Preferences> Music Quality ) It only gives you 320 Kbps. While this will be more than enough for most people, true audiophiles will be disappointed.

Listen offline

Don't forget one of the most important considerations for many people:offline listening. If you like to listen to music while traveling or driving, you should be able to save music on your device in order to reduce data usage. It also means you can still listen if you're in an area with poor network coverage.

Some basic plans (like Spotify Free) don't offer offline listening. Some require an additional subscription beyond the standard price (such as Deezer) and some don't offer the feature at all.

Passive or interactive use

Streaming services can be divided into two categories:music on demand and personalized radio inspired by artificial intelligence. This Clever Trick Keeps Your Pandora Stations Fresh This Clever Trick Keeps Your Pandora Stations Fresh Pandora is a great music service, but sometimes your stations get a little rough. Here is an easy way to improve them without any effort. Read more.

Many people do not want to be micromanaging music all day every day. If you're working in a store or office, you can put something in the background and leave it. You don't want to worry about skipping tracks, reaching the end of a playlist, or managing queues. If you fall into that category, maybe you should consider Pandora or iHeartRadio instead of Spotify.

Also, be aware of the number of playlists available. For example, Spotify's age combined with its high user numbers means there are millions of user-generated playlists. 6 Amazing Ways to Find and Share Music Playlists 6 Amazing Ways to Find and Share Music Playlists Music streaming services are becoming more and more popular, and this means The ability to create and share playlists with family members and friends is easier than ever. Here's how to do it. Read More

Spotify also leads the way in getting music icons to make personal playlists. For each genre, you can find countless offers made by the biggest artists. It's a great way to stay on top of the latest sounds in your favorite field without spending too much time on music discovery.

The pilot

While music is still the most important consideration, there are plenty of other aspects of any music streaming service that you should research before signing up.

We are going to discuss some of the practical issues that you should think about.


You won't find much difference in price between the various services if you are a single user who wants access to the full package. The biggest players all charge around $10 per month for access. Some charge more for additional features and higher quality music.

Dig a little deeper, though, and you can find great deals and discounts.

For example, Spotify offers a family plan for $14.99 per month. It will give you and five members of your family access, each of whom will have their own Spotify account. Google Play Music offers an identical package at an identical price, as does Tidal and Apple Music. Larger providers also offer student discounts, some as much as 50 percent.

If you want to get away from the mainstream and subscribe to a specialized service, you will have a hard time finding similar discounts.

How can you listen?

Make sure you'll be able to listen to your music the way you prefer before you make a decision. These days, most services offer a web app along with Android and iOS versions. But there is more to think about.

For example, if you have a Sonos system (or are thinking of buying a smart speaker, buying the best system for you? How to choose the best system? How to choose the best system? Don't invest in a wireless speaker system without taking these considerations into account. A little thought can save you a world of money, time, and trouble! Read More), is there an integration for the service of your choice? If there isn't, you'll need to have a Play:5 or Sonos Connect to be able to manually connect your phone or computer.

Sonos Play:5 - The ultimate wireless smart speaker for streaming music. Work with Alexa. (Black) Sonos Play:5 - The ultimate wireless smart speaker for music streaming. Work with Alexa. (Black) Buy Now On Amazon $459.95

Perhaps Chromecast Audio is your speaker system of choice Sonos vs. Chromecast Audio:Which One Is Best For You? sonos vs. Chromecast Audio:Which is the best for you? A lot of people seem to think that Sonos and Chromecast Audio are the same thing, but we'd be wrong. While their core purpose might be the same, the differences between them are vast... Read More If so, can the smartphone app launch to the dongle? If it can't, it will be impossible to listen to your songs wirelessly.

Where can you listen?

Many services are location dependent. You won't be able to sign up for a plan if you live outside of a supported region, but what if you spend a lot of time traveling to an unsupported region?

This is more common than it seems. Spotify is not available in much of Eastern Europe, so someone who spends a lot of time going from west to east will frequently be cut off. Similarly, Google Play Music is available in Australia, but lacks support in much of Southeast Asia.

Surprisingly, there are not as many crossings between the countries as you might think. Apple Music is available in 54 countries where Spotify doesn't work, while Google Play Music works in South Africa and Russia, unlike Spotify.

User interface

We have all used poorly designed apps at some point in our lives. They may leave you pulling your hair out in frustration. If you use the app every day, dealing with serious inconvenience may be enough to cancel your subscription. Everything wrong with the new Spotify web player Everything wrong with the new Spotify web player makeover? Well, we say "upgrade", but this feels more like a downgrade. This is why. Read more.

No two people use a music service in the same way, so you need to decide which part of the user experience is most important to you. Do you want it to be aesthetically pleasing? Is function more important than form? Need easy access to a particular feature?

Some services stand out when others fall short, so the biggest advice we can give you is to do your research before committing to a particular music service.

Try before you buy

As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when you're considering which music streaming service is right for you. Don't get carried away by advertising and flashy graphics. Make a list of what's important to you and do a thorough research of your options.

Remember, almost all services offer a free trial. If you're on the fence, sign up for the trial and use the apps in the real world for the time being. It will soon become apparent which music streaming service is right for you.

What else is important to consider when choosing a music streaming service? Has this article inspired you to switch from one service to another? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.