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    The best music streaming services in 2024

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    The best music streaming services include access to millions of songs.

    Spotify; Apple Music Tidal Streaming Service; Amazon Music Unlimited; Youtube Music; Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

    The best music streaming services offer on-demand access to millions of songs right on your smartphone or computer. A few competing platforms are out there, all with different features, plans, and price points. With multiple options to choose from, it can be tricky to figure out which one is the right fit for your specific needs.

    If you’re an Alexa fan, Amazon Music Unlimited integrates seamlessly with Echo devices and even comes with a discount for Prime members. Apple aficionados may want to consider Apple Music since it works especially well with iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs. Both Apple and Amazon also support lossless audio, so you get high-quality streaming. However, music fans on a budget may prefer Spotify since it offers an ad-supported plan with tons of songs for free.

    Below, you can find full details on all of the best music streaming services, including a breakdown of plans, pricing, and features for each option.

    Our top picks for the best music streaming services

    Amazon Music Unlimited

    Apple Music

    Spotify

    Amazon Music Unlimited

    Amazon Music Unlimited: $11/month ($10 with Prime) for ad-free streamingAmazon Music Unlimited (Single Device): $6/month for playback on one Echo or Fire TV deviceAmazon Music Unlimited Family: $17/month with support for six family membersAmazon Music Unlimited Student: $6/month for ad-free streaming

    If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, then Amazon Music Unlimited is easily one of the best music streaming services you can sign up for. Prime members get a discount, and the platform is also a good option for non-Prime subscribers thanks to its excellent features and high-quality audio playback. 

    Prime subscribers already get access to Prime Music as part of their membership, but that service restricts most albums to shuffle play, so you can’t simply pick any song you want to listen to on-demand. If you upgrade to Music Unlimited, you unlock full on-demand access to the service’s library of over 100 million songs. 

    Music Unlimited also includes HD, Ultra HD, and spatial audio streaming for no extra cost. HD and Ultra HD tracks use lossless audio formats in CD quality or higher, while spatial audio uses the Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality formats to create a surround sound effect.

    Music Unlimited is available on various platforms, including iOS, Android, and the web. The service is tightly integrated with Amazon’s Alexa, so if you have an Echo device or other Alexa-enabled products, it’ll work perfectly.

    Regular trials for new members last one month, but extended trials are frequently offered during deal events like Amazon Prime Day. After your trial, your subscription will automatically continue for the regular monthly price unless you decide to cancel. Amazon Music Unlimited does not offer a free tier, but you can stream a small selection of curated playlists with Amazon’s ad-supported service called Amazon Music.

    Read our Amazon Music Unlimited review.

    Apple Music

    Apple Music Individual: $11/month for ad-free streamingApple Music Family: $17/month with support for six family membersApple Music Student: $6/month for ad-free streamingApple One Bundle: $20/month for Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, and iCloud

    If you use an iPhone and other Apple products, then it’s worth considering Apple Music as your primary audio streaming solution. Apple Music integrates perfectly with Apple’s hardware and software, plus it works with your existing iTunes library.

    Apple Music has over 100 million songs available to stream on-demand. The service also offers the Apple Music 1 radio station and some exclusive tracks. If you want to tap into what your friends are listening to, Apple Music has curated playlists for that and other playlists for new music, personal favorites, and more.

    Apple also offers lossless and spatial audio options to ensure the best listening quality. Like Amazon Music Unlimited’s similar features, lossless audio gives listeners access to CD-quality (or better) versions of Apple’s entire catalog, while spatial audio offers an enhanced surround sound listening experience on select songs. However, unlike Amazon, Apple only offers spatial audio using Dolby Atmos and does not support the competing Sony 360 Reality format.

    New members can receive a free one-month trial, and Best Buy customers can take advantage of a four-month trial. Apple Music is also available as part of a discounted bundle with other Apple services, like Apple TV, which makes it a great value for people who want to fully invest in Apple’s ecosystem of products and platforms. 

    Spotify

    Spotify Premium: $12/month for ad-free music streaming and 15 hours of audiobook listening a monthSpotify Basic: $11/month for ad-free music streamingSpotify Premium Duo: $17/month with support for two family members Spotify Premium Family: $20/month with support for six family members and Spotify Kids accessSpotify Premium Student: $6/month with ad-supported Hulu

    Spotify remains the most popular music streaming service, and it excels when it comes to general usability and its sheer number of features. We also like that it offers a free ad-supported plan, albeit with some key limitations.

    With a free plan, you can access most of Spotify’s library, but outside a few select playlists you’re limited to six skips per hour and can only play songs on shuffle mode. These restrictions are lifted with a Premium plan, which also gets rid of all the ads.

    One of Spotify’s main perks is its focus on discovery and playlist curation. This includes the service’s “enhance” button, which lets you add similar songs to existing playlists. You can also filter your saved songs by mood and genre, so it’s easy to find exactly what you want. Spotify also offers audiobooks (Premium plans offer 15 hours of listening a month), podcasts, and video content.

    Spotify’s music streams at up to 320Kbps, which should be good enough for most listeners, but it isn’t on par with Amazon and Apple’s lossless-quality playback. Spotify announced plans to introduce a lossless CD-quality plan back in 2021, but this tier was delayed, and it’s still not clear when it will be available.

    All Spotify Premium subscribers get a one-month trial regardless of the plan they choose.

    What else we considered

    YouTube Music is a solid service but we prefer the superior quality of Amazon and Apple’s plans, and the usability of Spotify.

    Sarah Saril/Insider

    Tidal – When Tidal first launched in 2014, it differentiated itself from other music services by placing a big emphasis on a high-resolution, lossless audio experience. However, in recent years, competitors like Amazon and Apple have also added high-resolution, lossless streaming for the same price. As a result, there isn’t a whole lot that differentiates Tidal from its rivals. Read our Tidal review.YouTube Music – Google’s YouTube Music service is another solid option, especially if you’re already plugged into other Google products and services. However, it costs the same as Amazon and Apple’s services but does not offer lossless or spatial audio playback. That said, we do like that there is a free ad-supported option. You can also get a discount if you bundle YouTube Music together with ad-free YouTube video streaming as part of a YouTube Premium plan. Read our YouTube Premium review

    Music streaming service FAQs

    iFi Audio

    What is lossless audio?

    Lossless audio formats enable listeners to hear the full range of an original music recording without any drop in quality due to compression. 

    Some music streaming services, like Spotify and YouTube Music, only offer plans that let you listen to songs in “lossy” audio formats. This means that some of the original audio recording’s quality is sacrificed to compress the track in order to make the file smaller and easier to stream. Though this makes listening to music on a slow internet connection possible, lossy digital audio isn’t equal to the quality you’d hear on a CD.

    This loss in quality can be hard to notice for the average listener, but audiophiles prefer “lossless” music since it preserves the full range of the original track. Different platforms brand their lossless audio plans under different names, including HiFi and HD Music. These terms all generally refer to streaming audio tracks that are presented in at least CD quality. Some services even offer formats that deliver high-resolution, lossless audio that exceeds CD quality. 

    Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, and Tidal are some of the best music streaming services with lossless audio options, making them a better fit for listeners who want the very best quality. Spotify also announced plans to launch a lossless audio plan, but a release date has not been revealed.

    On the downside, lossless audio streaming requires more bandwidth, so you’ll need a fast internet connection and a bigger data plan. To fully enjoy the audio quality benefits, you’ll also need a nice pair of headphones with a dedicated digital-to-analog converter or a high-end set of speakers.

    You can learn more about lossless audio formats in our guide to HD audio.

    Amazon Music Unlimited

    Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

    Amazon Music Unlimited: $11/month ($10 with Prime) for ad-free streamingAmazon Music Unlimited (Single Device): $6/month for playback on one Echo or Fire TV deviceAmazon Music Unlimited Family: $17/month with support for six family membersAmazon Music Unlimited Student: $6/month for ad-free streaming

    Pros: Discounts for Amazon Prime members, large selection, Alexa integration, HD, Ultra HD, and spatial music included for no extra cost

    Cons: No free version of the Unlimited library

    If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, then Amazon Music Unlimited is easily one of the best music streaming services you can sign up for. Prime members get a discount, and the platform is also a good option for non-Prime subscribers thanks to its excellent features and high-quality music streaming options. 

    Prime subscribers already get access to Amazon’s Prime Music as part of their membership, but that service limits most albums to shuffle play, so you can’t just pick any song you want to listen to on-demand. If you upgrade to Music Unlimited, you unlock full on-demand access to the service’s library of 100 million songs. 

    Music Unlimited also includes HD, Ultra HD, and spatial audio streaming for no extra cost. HD and Ultra HD tracks use lossless audio formats in CD quality or higher, while spatial audio uses the Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality formats to create a surround sound effect.

    Music Unlimited is available on a range of platforms, including iOS, Android, and the web. The service is tightly integrated with Amazon’s Alexa, so if you have an Echo or other Alexa-enabled products, it’ll work perfectly.

    Regular trials for new members last one month. After the trial, your subscription will automatically continue for the regular monthly price unless you decide to cancel. Amazon Music Unlimited does not offer a free tier, but you can stream a small selection of curated playlists without paying using the ad-supported Amazon Music service.

    Read our Amazon Music Unlimited review.

    Apple Music

    Best Buy

    Apple Music Individual: $11/month for ad-free streamingApple Music Family: $17/month with support for six family membersApple Music Student: $6/month for ad-free streamingApple One Bundle: $20/month for Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, and iCloud

    Pros: Live radio, integration with Apple devices, curated playlists, four-month trial with Best Buy, discounted bundle with other Apple services, lossless and spatial audio

    Cons: No free version

    If you use an iPhone and other Apple products, then it’s worth considering Apple Music. Apple Music integrates perfectly with Apple’s hardware and software, plus it works with your existing iTunes library.

    Apple Music has over 100 million songs available to stream on-demand. The service also offers the Apple Music 1 radio station and some exclusive tracks. If you want to tap into what your friends are listening to, Apple Music has curated playlists for that and other playlists for new music, personal favorites, and more.

    Apple also has lossless and spatial audio (Dolby Atmos) options to ensure you get the best listening quality possible. Like Amazon Music Unlimited’s similar feature, this free upgrade gives listeners access to CD-quality (or better) versions of Apple’s entire catalog, plus an enhanced surround sound listening experience on select songs.

    New members can receive a free one-month trial, and Best Buy customers can take advantage of a four-month trial. Unlike Spotify, however, Apple Music does not offer a free version with ads.

    SpotifySpotify users can expect prices to increase in 2023.

    NurPhoto/Getty Images

    Spotify: Free ad-supported streaming Spotify Premium: $11/month for streaming without adsSpotify Premium Duo: $15/month with support for two family members Spotify Premium Family: $17/month with support for six family members and Spotify Kids accessSpotify Premium Student: $6/month with ad-supported Hulu

    Pros: Huge library of songs, podcasts, supports many devices, free plan, collaborative playlists, group listening, live audio platform

    Cons: No lossless audio option yet

    Looking for a music streaming service that has a huge range of songs, a free ad-supported plan, and is compatible with all your devices? Spotify is the way to go. Spotify has apps for all major platforms and its entry-level plan doesn’t cost a penny. 

    Spotify’s free plan allows users to access the service’s entire music library, but you’re only given a limited number of skips per hour, and many playlists and albums must be played on shuffle. If you want to stream without ads or limitations, you can opt for a Premium plan, which starts at $11 a month.

    One of the perks of Spotify is its focus on discovery and playlist curation. This includes the service’s “enhance” button that lets you add similar songs to existing playlists. You can also filter your saved songs by mood and genre, so it’s easy to find exactly what you want.

    Spotify also has podcasts and video content, and it streams music up to 320Kbps. That streaming bitrate should be good enough for most listeners, but it isn’t on par with Amazon, Apple, and Tidal’s lossless-quality options. Spotify announced plans to introduce a lossless CD-quality plan, called Spotify HiFi, sometime in the near future, but this tier was delayed from its original 2021 launch window, and it’s still not clear when it will be available.

    All Spotify Premium subscribers get a one-month trial regardless of the plan they choose.

    Tidal

    Tidal

    Free: Ad-supported access to songs at up to 160Kbps (US only)HiFi: $11/month for ad-free streaming at CD qualityHiFi Plus: $20/month for ad-free high-res streaming with Master Quality, 360 Reality Audio, and Dolby Atmos supportFamily HiFi: $17/month with support for six family membersFamily HiFi Plus: $30/month with support for six family membersStudentAt least 50% off regular plan prices

    Pros: Lossless playback and MQA tracks, Dolby Atmos audio, available on a range of platforms, exclusive content, includes music videos, free option

    Cons: Missing some features found on other services, HiFi Plus plan is expensive

    Tidal is a little different from other music streaming services in that it’s targeted toward those who want a high-resolution audio experience — and as such, it’s one of the best music streaming services for people who prioritize sound quality.

    Tidal’s base HiFI subscription includes ad-free streaming at up to 16-bit, 44.1 kHz in the lossless format. This means that you get to listen to music in full CD quality exactly as it was meant to be heard.

    In addition to lossless audio, the more expensive HiFi Plus plan supports an even higher quality of 24-bit/192 kHz and the Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) format, along with Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality tracks. 

    Tidal is also known for streaming some notable exclusive content. Albums like Jay-Z’s “4:44” and Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo” were first launched on Tidal. There are also music videos and other behind-the-scenes content, too.

    New subscribers to Tidal receive a free 30-day trial. Students get at least 50% off Tidal subscriptions, while active duty military, veterans, and first responders can claim at least 40% off.

    When it comes to other lossless music options, Tidal now faces tough competition from popular services like Amazon Music Unlimited and Apple Music. Those services offer similar audio quality for less money. However, they both lack MQA support, which could be a drawback for fans of that advanced audio format. 

    Read our Tidal review.

    YouTube MusicYouTube Music is a solid service but we prefer the superior quality of Amazon and Apple’s plans, and the usability of Spotify.

    Sarah Saril/Insider

    YouTube Music: Free ad-supported streamingYouTube Music Premium: $11/month for ad-free streamingYouTube Music Premium Family: $17/month with support for six peopleYouTube Music Premium Student: $5.49/month for ad-free streamingYouTube Premium Bundle: $14/month for ad-free YouTube and YouTube Music

    Pros: Interesting playlists, good integration with Google services, free version available, discounted bundle with YouTube Premium

    Cons: Doesn’t integrate with Alexa, no lossless audio option

    YouTube Music is a good fit if you’re really plugged into Google’s ecosystem of products. In other words, if you have an Android phone and want the best music streaming service to integrate well with Google Assistant, then YouTube Music is a convenient option.

    It’s also available on iOS and on the web, so you should be able to access the service wherever you are. The platform even offers location-based playlists and the ability to search for songs based on lyrics.

    Users on any of YouTube Music’s Premium plans can listen to their saved music offline and with their screen off, something the YouTube app doesn’t support unless you pay for a subscription. On the downside, YouTube Music does not offer lossless audio, so if you want the best sound quality for your streams, you’re better off with Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited, or Apple Music.

    YouTube Music isn’t perfect, but Google has been improving it. The app doesn’t really integrate with other voice assistants like Alexa, so if you have an Echo you’ll be stuck with playing music through the Bluetooth connection on your phone. With that said, the service does now support Siri. 

    Like Spotify, YouTube Music offers a free, ad-supported version. New subscribers also get a one-month trial to test out the ad-free Premium plan. 

    If you’re interested in bundling ad-free YouTube Music and YouTube video streaming, you can package the two services together under a YouTube Premium plan for $14 a month. Since this option is only $3 more than Music Premium on its own, it’s a better value for music fans who also like to watch YouTube videos.

    Read our YouTube Premium review

    Music streaming service FAQs

    iFi Audio

    What is lossless audio?

    Lossless audio formats enable listeners to hear the full range of an original music recording without any drop in quality due to compression. 

    Some music streaming services, like Spotify and YouTube Music, only offer plans that let you listen to songs in “lossy” audio formats. This means that some of the original audio recording’s quality is being sacrificed to compress the track in order to make the file smaller and easier to stream. Though this makes listening to music on a slow internet connection possible, lossy digital audio isn’t equal to the quality you’d hear on a CD.

    This loss in quality can be hard to notice for the average listener, but audiophiles prefer “lossless” music since it preserves the full range of the original track. Different platforms brand their lossless audio plans under different names, including HiFi and HD Music. Though there are some differences between them, they all generally refer to streaming audio tracks that are presented in at least CD quality. Some services even offer formats that deliver high-resolution, lossless audio that exceeds CD quality. 

    Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited, and Apple Music are some of the best music streaming services with lossless audio options, making them a better fit for listeners who want the very best quality. Spotify also announced plans to launch a lossless audio plan, but a release date has not been revealed.

    On the downside, lossless audio streaming requires more bandwidth, so you’ll need a fast internet connection and a bigger data plan. To take full advantage of the audio quality benefits, you’ll also need a nice pair of headphones with a dedicated digital-to-analog converter or a high-end set of speakers.

    You can learn more about lossless audio formats in our guide to HD audio.

    Read the original article on Business Insider

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