How to Choose the Right Music Streaming Service
Music streaming services are web-based platforms that allow users to stream music and other media from a centralized library to their computer, smart speakers, or mobile device. Most streaming services offer free tiers with ads or other limitations, as well as monthly subscription options for unlimited on-demand listening. Subscribers also typically have access to a range of special features, such as personalized recommendations, offline listening, and the ability to create and share playlists. Additionally, many streaming services offer tools for artists to upload their own music and engage directly with their fanbase.
Top Music Streaming Services Worldwide
Let’s take a look at some of the top streaming services available worldwide.
The most popular music streaming service in the world, Spotify has 350 million users and 150 million subscribers. With an ad-based free tier and subscriptions starting at $10.99 per month, Spotify listeners have access to over 100 million tracks, 5 million podcasts, and 350,000 audiobooks. Spotify also offers extras like curated playlists, community features, and the ability to access concert information and merch from your favorite artists.
2. Apple Music
The successor to iTunes, Apple Music is a seamless option for Apple users, who can bundle their subscription with other services like Apple TV+. That said, having an Apple device is not a requirement, and the app’s Android version even has a few exclusive features. With plans starting at $10.99 per month, Apple Music subscribers can access more than 100 million songs, 30,000 playlists, and a variety of radio stations. Apple music does not offer a free tier.
3. Amazon Music
Amazon Music is best for users who are already integrated into the Amazon ecosystem. In fact, Amazon Prime memberships already include access to over 2 million tracks. For $9.99 per month, Prime members can upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited, which includes podcasts, playlists, and over 100 million songs. Non-prime users can also subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited, with plans starting at $10.99 per month.
Ideal for Android users and YouTube enthusiasts, YouTube Music offers access to podcasts, curated radio stations, and over 100 million songs. YouTube Music also allows users to upload new tracks via their music locker system. Unlimited ad-free listening is included with YouTube Premium, which starts at $13.99 per month. An ad-based free version is also available.
A long-running French streaming service, Deezer is best known for allowing users to upload their entire audio catalogue from competitors at no extra cost. They also offer an extensive library of podcasts, radio stations, and over 90 million tracks. A free ad-based option is available on mobile devices, and unlimited ad-free subscriptions start at $11.99 per month.
SoundCloud is a community-based platform that allows users to upload, promote, and share their music with 76 million active monthly users. Available for mobile, desktop, and Xbox gaming consoles, SoundCloud has over 200 million tracks available. Users can listen for free with ads, and unlimited ad-free music is available for as little as $4.99 per month.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Streaming Service
With so many options available it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are some things to consider when choosing a streaming service:
While most streaming platforms offer a free tier, it typically comes with ads and other limitations. Unlimited ad-free listening usually requires a paid subscription, which typically ranges from $5 to $15 per month. Look out for student or military discounts, family plans, and service bundles.
Most streaming services have extensive song libraries, ranging from 50 million to 200 million tracks. Some also offer podcasts, audiobooks, curated playlists, and/or radio stations. Keep in mind that a paid subscription is often required to access a platform’s entire catalogue and/or control song selection.
The music on all major streaming services is most likely going to sound the same to an untrained ear. That said, some platforms, like Apple Music, emphasize their audio quality, while others, including Spotify, have some quality limitations. Quality can also vary by subscription tier.
Streaming services typically have intuitive and easy-to-use interfaces, but it can be difficult and expensive to switch from one platform to another once you get started. Consider using a free trial to test things out before signing up for a paid subscription.
Some services stick to a streamlined approach, while others emphasize special features like playlists and offline listening. Special features often come with an extra cost so make sure to pick a plan with ones you’ll actually use.
Top Music Streaming Services Compared
Acer Technology for Music Streaming
Once you’ve found the right streaming service, you can upgrade your listening experience with smart speakers from Acer.
Compact and stylish, the Acer Halo Smart Speaker features Google Assistant, 360-degree audio, a customizable display, and an RGB-lit base that reacts to the music.
For listening on the go, the water-resistant Acer Halo Swing Smart Portable Speaker adds omnidirectional DTS audio, Bluetooth connectivity, and customizes the LED display with premade messages and images.
About Lisa Shettle: Lisa is a writer, editor, and content product manager with over 15 years of experience. She has a special interest in travel and tech writing, marketing, and AI. She is based in the United States.