Several years ago, streaming services were almost unheard of. When you wanted a song, you had to buy it. Now the options are endless and at the tip of your fingers. With so many available, it can be hard to choose. But we are here to help! Because there are so many options, we can’t cover them all. Today we will go through five of the top options in music streaming.
Spotify is a Swedish music streaming company that has been around since 2006. It has a gigantic library of songs and podcasts for you to enjoy. It also has many different playlists geared toward genres, artists, and activities. Spotify will use your favorite artists to help you discover new musicians and will create playlists based on your tastes. Many popular Bluetooth speakers are Spotify compatible and Spotify has apps for both iOS and Android as well as desktop apps for Macs and PCs. Spotify costs $10 a month for individuals and $16 a month for a group plan with up to six people. Spotify also has a partnership with Hulu, so if you are a Hulu user, you should consider this option.
If you already own a ton of music on iTunes, then Apple Music is the choice for you. Apple also boasts a huge library and can be accessed on both Apple and non-Apple products. That being said, it is much less user friendly on non-Apple products. It is also not compatible with Google Home. The big advantage here is that it syncs to your already existing iTunes library. Apple also sometimes has exclusive releases. The first three months are free. Then it is $10 a month for individuals or $15 a month for a group of up to six. Students can get a discounted rate of $5.
Google Play Music/YouTube Music
Launched in 2011, Google Play Music is best for people who already have downloaded many MP3s or want to upload music from old CDs. If you use many other Google products, like Google Home or an Android operating phone, you may want to consider Google Play. Aside from a 40 million song library, Google Play also lets you upload up to $50,000 of your own files. Currently it costs $10 a month for an individual and $15 a month for a family. However, Google Play is shutting down at the end of the year and merging with YouTube Music.
YouTube Music costs the same but ups the number of files you can upload to 100,000. It is good for people who watch many YouTube videos and includes many music videos to stream.
If you use Amazon Prime, you may want to consider Amazon Music. This service includes over 60 million songs, thousands of playlists, and personalized stations. Amazon Music also syncs well with Amazon products. You can easily ask Alexa to play a song. Prime music is already included with a Prime membership, however, for full-service to all the things previously described (Amazon Music Unlimited), it will cost Prime members an additional $8 a month and non-Prime members an additional $10 a month. For true audiophiles, Amazon also offers a faster and more technical service called Amazon Music HD. This costs $13 a month for Prime members, $15 a month for non-Prime members, and $20 a month for families.
Pandora is a streaming service owned by Sirius XM. It is a little different from the other services in that its lower tier options do not let you select individual songs but instead gives you a mix of songs based on artists you like. It’s better for people who want a more hands-off experience. Instead of scrolling through songs and picking out what you want to hear, Pandora takes care of it for you. It is more like listening to the radio but with only the specific music you want to hear. Pandora is free with ads and $5 a month without ads. For $10 a month, you can also select specific song just like with the other streaming services. Finally, there is a $15 a month family plan option.
Blake has written for numerous websites and publications, with a strong focus on non-profits and industry trade groups. He really enjoys cooking as well and graduated from GWU School of Media and Public Affairs.