With the music industry having to transition between several different recording and sales mediums within the last few decades, modern listeners have more options at their disposal than ever before. Between premium apps like Amazon Music Unlimited and freemium streaming services like Pandora and Spotify, users can either compile libraries of their preferred musical groups and solo artists or use customized algorithms to branch out and discover brand-new favorites. Learn more about the five best ways to stream music on your Windows PC and enjoy all the pop songs, indie hits, and whatever else you desire.
For those unfamiliar, music streaming refers to digitally accessing and listening to music through an internet connection either for live listening or to be downloaded for offline enjoyment. When selecting a music streaming service for your Windows PC, there are several different aspects to consider. These include whether free user accounts are offered, the costs of any paid membership tiers and the included benefits, the depth and breadth of the musical library, and the ability to download music or access your library when traveling abroad.
Whether you are interested in premium, ad-free content or are willing to watch the occasional advertisement in exchange for unlimited search and play and skips, Pandora is the PC music streaming service for you. Available in three different tiers of service, namely Pandora Free, Pandora Plus, and Pandora Premium, users can choose whichever plan appeals to them.
Pandora Free offers unlimited skips, the ability to search for and play music (contingent on watching ads), a personalized Pandora station, and the ability to enjoy podcasts. Pandora Plus costs $4.99 per month and includes all features of Pandora Free, along with offline listening and an ad-free experience for your personal station (ads will still be visible during search and play). Pandora Premium costs $9.99 per month (with discounts available for families, students, and military service members), includes all previous features but makes everything ad-free and allows you to create and share playlists.
With an impressively large library of 82 million songs (at the time of writing), the option of a free streaming account and the ability to use it on your Windows PC and many other compatible devices, Spotify streaming is well on its way to becoming a household name. In addition to musical offerings, Spotify is also well known for being the exclusive home to many famous podcasters, providing you with an impressive variety of listening options. While free Spotify account holders can pick and play select tracks on mobile devices, travel abroad with their music for up to two weeks, download and enjoy audiobooks and podcasts, and enjoy their music offerings with ad content included. Spotify Premium includes all previous features, unlimited travel abroad, the highest available audio quality, and the ability to download music.
With approximately 90 million music tracks available for your listening pleasure, users of Apple Music can enjoy the most extensive available library of all PC music streaming services (at the time of writing). Owners of new Apple devices and recently created Apple IDs can access this impressive collection of songs free for one month, then at a monthly cost of $9.99. You can easily access Apple Music on your Windows PC by signing into your iTunes app, linking your Apple ID, or setting everything up directly from iTunes. In addition, users can download their favorite musical tracks for easy offline listening, enjoy listening to live radio broadcasts, experience customized and curated playlists based on their preferences, and listen to their music across all compatible devices.
Although older customers might remember YouTube Music as a lesser-known subsidiary of YouTube solely devoted to showing music videos, this service now stands on its own as a music streaming service. While YouTube Music depends on YouTube itself to provide most of the available content, its open music library is reasonably impressive at over 60 million tracks (at the time of writing). This streaming service is ideal for those who have already integrated themselves within the Google technological ecosystem due to its seamless connectivity with other services and apps from Google, such as Google Assistant.
Owners of Amazon Alexa units will be delighted to discover that in addition to streaming music on their beloved devices, they can also stream music directly from their Windows PC, thanks to Amazon Music Unlimited. As a premium music streaming service, Amazon Music Unlimited offers no free account options but instead offers Unlimited Individual Plans, Unlimited Family Plans, Single-Device Plans, and Unlimited Student Plans. Existing Amazon Prime members can gain access for a monthly cost of $8.99, whereas non-Prime customers will have to pay $9.99 monthly. Users can also choose a six-person Family Plan for $14.99 per month (new customers only) and enjoy HD audio for no additional charge or the $6.99 per month Student Plan. With approximately 90 million songs that rival Apple Music and offline listening with unlimited skips, millions of podcast episodes, and ad-free music streaming on demand, Amazon Music Unlimited is an excellent choice for your music streaming needs.
Regardless of your musical preferences and available music streaming budget, one of these five services is sure to meet your needs and deliver countless hours of music streaming pleasure. So check them out on the Windows App Store, Google Play Store, or other appropriate means and start streaming music today.
About Dan VanPatten: Dan is a full-time technology writer with interests in gaming, gadgetry, and all things PC tech related. He writes about a variety of topics including technology news, product reviews, and software. His experience stems from years of experience writing & producing content for technology newsletters & publications.