Which is the best music streaming service?

With so many options on how to listen to music these days, we help you decide which to download - Music Streaming Services Compared

Woman listening to music streaming service on headphones

by Tom Goodlad |
Updated on

What’s life without music? Very quiet. But how do you pick which service to use when there are so many options, offering immediate access to millions of songs at the touch of a button, tap of a screen or brief command by talking into your watch or speaker?

Gone are the days of heading to the high street and buying the latest album or single by your favourite performers – it’s all about what’s available online, unless you’re a sucker for days gone by. And for the best music experience, you just need to command your smart speakers to play music - you don't even have to press any buttons any more.

To choose the best music streaming service for you, read on for the lowdown.


Best music streaming services

Amazon Music Streaming Service1 of 7

Amazon Music Streaming Service

Two levels of Amazon Music are available to you – there's the standard Prime Music that comes included with your annual Prime membership with two million songs available, as well as the Amazon Music Unlimited service, unlocking 40 million songs that can be downloaded to your device to listen elsewhere when you're offline, and without constantly using your data. Standard Prime membership will cost you £7.99 a month, while an extra £7.99 gets you the Unlimited service on top of this.

Spotify Music Streaming Service2 of 7

Spotify Music Streaming Service

As with Amazon Music, there's more than just one option. You can listen for free but you'll have to put up with adverts and a limited amount of times you can skip to the next song. There's also Premium that costs £9.99 a month but opens up over 50 million songs, all kinds of personalised playlists based on what you listen to, as well as podcasts and the ability to download to your device. There's a Premium Family option for an extra fiver a month allowing six users on one account, and an option for students as well, with a four-year limit on the account, plus it's half the price of a Premium account.

Google Play Music Streaming Service3 of 7

Google Play Music Streaming Service

Google Play lets you stream up to 40 million songs, or store up to 50,000 of them in your own music library. It's not as comprehensive as Spotify in terms of playlists, but the use of radio stations means you get access to the latest music that's updated regularly, so you don't have to worry about doing it yourself.

Deezer Music Streaming Service4 of 7

Deezer Music Streaming Service

Like Spotify, you can use Deezer for free if you're willing to put up with ads, but you can't skip songs like you can with its competitor. Upgrading to the subscription version opens up over 50 million songs that you can skip through and save offline to listen to later, plus it monitors what you listen to in order to make recommendations and keep things fresh and new.

Tidal Music Streaming Service5 of 7

Tidal Music Streaming Service

You might not have heard of Tidal, but it's actually owned by none other than Jay-Z. So you know it's got some legs when it comes to being from someone in the music biz. It prides itself on high-quality sound and a good selection of exclusive content, plus there are reviews across the board to help you choose the music you want. There's also a good amount of video content if you don't just want to sit and listen.

YouTube Music Streaming Service6 of 7

YouTube Music Streaming Service

If you've been on YouTube recently, you may have noticed YouTube Music being pushed just a little bit. It's the one to go for if you want a mix of video and listening, but you'll need to pay for the privilege of listening in the background – the free version makes you stay in the app. If you do pay the £9.99 a month, you can listen in the background, download tracks to listen offline and – like other providers – comes up with recommendations based on what you've listened to already.

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Apple Music Streaming Service

Apple Music mimics Spotify's set of plans, with exactly the same types of subscription available at exactly the same prices for each. There are over 60 million songs available to listen on or offline, music videos, podcasts and exclusive live shows. Apple is keen to tell you you can use things like Apple CarPlay to listen, but the two rivals mentioned already are also compatible. What you can do is download playlists and stream music to your Apple Watch if you want to leave your phone behind, if you have the right kind of Watch to make this happen.

In the case of the very best, to get the full experience you’ll need to sign up for a subscription or membership. This is rarely expensive, and opens up a whole world of music you’ve never heard of, as well as personalised features based on your preferences, radio stations and even podcasts.

So the best music streaming apps and services offer so much more than just access to current music. But even if you don’t want to sign up and spend money, you still get remarkable access to a range of songs, you’ll just have to be patient with adverts interrupting, but then that’s just similar to listening to the radio.

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