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Music Streaming

October 8, 2021


Music Streaming

Best Online Music Streaming Services

On the surface it can be easy to assume that all music streaming services are the same – they all allow you to play music, right? Once you start looking at the details, however, there are a wide variety of differences among the numerous online music services, making each one unique and suitable for its own audience.

When it comes to deciding which of these is going to be the best fit, though, all of the choices can quickly begin to feel overwhelming. We have put together a complete guide comparing some of the best online music streaming services on the market, including all of their features, their benefits, and their potential drawbacks.

 

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Top music streaming services

While there are a large variety of streaming services currently available online, we've reviewed the most popular services below.

 

Pandora Radio

With over 70 million users each month, Pandora is one of the most popular music streaming services. Utilizing its proprietary technology, Pandora provides a highly-personalized audio experience on the web and through its mobile app. To get started, the user simply chooses an artist they like, and it creates a radio channel with songs from that artist along with other similar styles.

Benefits

  • Free trial periods
  • Student and military discounts
  • Family plans

Drawbacks

  • Not always the best audio quality
  • Might have a smaller library of songs than other services

Price

Free with ads. For an ad-free radio experience, users can choose to pay $5 per month. There is also a $10 per month option that allows users to access both ad-free radio streaming as well as the ability to choose specific songs.


Apple Music

Developed by tech titan Apple, Apple Music is a video and music streaming service that offers a variety of listening experiences. Users can listen to existing playlists curated by other listeners, or they can select music to stream to their device on-demand. Songs can be accessed on Apple, Android, and Windows devices.

Benefits

  • Features a library of 75 million songs
  • Lossless hi-fi audio at no extra charge
  • 24/7 radio stations and video channels
  • Student discount
  • Lyrics to songs

Drawbacks

  • No free version
  • Only music content

Price

$10 per month for individuals or $15 per month for up to six family members.


Youtube music

A music streaming service developed by industry giant YouTube, YouTube Music provides a tailored experience for users, allowing more options for customizations and playlist curating. Using Google’s information database, users can search for songs by lyrics, find playlists based on location, and switch between audio and music video with one click.

Benefits

  • Library of 70 million songs
  • Free version
  • Family plans
  • Collaborative playlists
  • Lyrics

Drawbacks

  • No hi-res audio
  • Must stay in the app to listen to music

Price

Free with ads. For $10 per month for individuals or $15 per month for families, users can access an ad-free version, YouTube Music Premium.


Spotify

Founded in 2006, Spotify is one of the world’s largest music streaming service providers with over 365 million monthly users. Featuring a huge song library, early access to albums, and collaborative playlists, users can expect to find whatever music they are looking for.

Benefits

  • Large collection of playlists
  • Podcasts and other non-music options
  • Desktop and mobile apps
  • Free version
  • Collaborative playlists
  • Student discount
  • Free trial period

Drawbacks

  • Can only skip a certain number of songs per hour
  • No lyrics

Price

Free with ads. There is also a premium ad-free version for $10 per month for individuals or $15 for up to six family members.


Amazon Music

Operated by industry leader Amazon, Amazon Music features a massive music library along with podcasts and HD audio support to mobile devices, web browsers, and other hardware. There are two different versions: Amazon Music Unlimited, which is a standalone streaming music service, and Amazon Music Prime, which is bundled in the Amazon Prime Subscription.

Benefits

  • A library of 75 million songs
  • Podcasts
  • 90-day free trial
  • Curated playlists
  • Personalized stations
  • HD and Ultra HD audio tiers
  • Family plans

Drawbacks

  • No free version
  • No live radio

Price

Amazon Prime Music is included in the Amazon Prime membership. Amazon Music Unlimited costs $8 per month for Prime members or $10 per month for non-Prime members.


Soundcloud

Founded in 2007, SoundCloud is an online audio streaming and music sharing platform. A more interactive experience than other music streaming services, SoundCloud has a popular commenting feature where users can share their thoughts and opinions during a stream where others can view them.

Benefits

  • Free version
  • Users can upload their own music
  • Library of 150 million songs
  • A space fit independent artists
  • More of a social media experience

Drawbacks

  • Lack of audio quality
  • No lyrics

Price

Free with ads. For $10 per month, SoundCloud Go+ offers higher quality audio and SoundCloud’s full library.


iHeart

Recognized as the largest radio broadcaster in the United States, iHeartRadio is a streaming radio platform that combines live radio, podcasts, and customizable stations into one package. The service offers live radio custom stations as well as the ability for users to create more personalized experiences.

Benefits

  • Live and curated artist stations
  • Free version
  • Variety of playlists
  • Podcasts
  • Lyrics

Drawbacks

  • No hi-res audio
  • Plus tier lacks a web version

Price

For $5 per month, iHeartRadio Plus offers live radio, unlimited skips, and on-demand song play. For $10 per month, the iHeartRadio All Access package offers offline playback and the ability to make unlimited playlists. It also features a family plan at $15 per month for up to five people.


TuneIN

An audio streaming service, TuneIn includes a huge music library along with millions of other audio options like breaking news, sports, podcasts, and live radio stations. Its 60 million monthly users can access the service through its website, a smart speaker, or through the mobile app.

Benefits

  • Access to local and international stations
  • Podcasts
  • Sports and news stations
  • Can pause and rewind live radio
  • Free version

Drawbacks

  • Banners ads
  • Unreliable reception at times

Price

Free with ads. Premium version for $10 per month that features 100,000+ radio stations, live breaking news, podcasts, and commercial-free news stations.


SiriusXM

SiriusXM Internet Radio combines live radio with streaming audio services, providing something for everyone. Featuring a large library of music, SiriusXM also boasts news, weather, comedy, talk, traffic, video, and sports radio stations, making it the leader in audio options and variety.

Benefits

  • Massive content library
  • Live and curated channels
  • Can pause and rewind live radio
  • Three month free trial
  • Exclusive content
  • Family plans

Drawbacks

  • No free version
  • No lyrics

Price

$5 per month for the Music & Entertainment package that features 325 different radio channels, ad-free music, podcasts, and exclusive content. For $8 per month, access the Platinum package which offers all of the same as the Music & Entertainment package plus all major sports channels, two Howard Stern channels, and Pandora stations.


Deezer

Deezer is a music streaming service that provides access to more than 73 million tracks from around the globe. With the options to sync music to their phone and listen offline, Deezer is available to users no matter where they are located in the world.

Benefits

  • Original content
  • Live radio
  • Podcasts
  • Lyrics
  • Free version

Drawbacks

  • Lacks hi-res audio
  • Free version is only on mobile devices

Price

Free with ads. It also features $10 per month for stand audio quality. $20 per month for lossless audio.


Tidal

Featuring extras like music-related articles and first dibs on concert tickets and sporting events, Tidal is the first global music streaming service with high fidelity sound and hi-def video quality. Tidal is another platform that encourages more of an interactive experience among subscribers, with social features that allow users to easily share music and video to their social media profiles.

Benefits

  • Library of 70 million songs
  • Hundreds of thousands of videos
  • Exclusive content
  • Early access to select concert tickets
  • Hi-res audio
  • CD quality audio
  • Student and military discounts

Drawbacks

  • No free version
  • No lyrics

Price

$10 per month for stand audio quality. $20 per month for hi-res audio.

 
  

What is online streaming music?

Streaming music is a method of delivering music, and other audio, without requiring the user to download files from the internet onto their computer. No copy of the music is saved to the computer’s hard drive, but you can still listen to the song typically as often as you like.

The streaming process works through data being delivered in such small packets that the data is buffered and then played right away. As long as these packers are delivered to the computer in a steady stream, the sound will be heard without any interruptions.

When it comes to online music streaming services, there is no short supply of options. Whether you are looking for basic platforms that stream music for free, or premium services that let you choose the exact artists you are listening to, there is truly something for everyone.

 

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