What Is the Best Music Streaming Service?Updated July 29, 2022 Connectivity
Many music services, including Amazon Prime Music, Pandora Premium, and Tidal, let subscribers stream music when and how they want. Finding the best music streaming service can take time, especially as you sift through their included artists, playlists, and features. With all the options available, there's certainly a music streaming platform that lets you listen to your favorite artists and genres on demand with all the features you want for your music preferences.
13 Best Music Streaming Services for Home Audio
- YouTube Music
- Apple Music
- Amazon Music
- SoundCloud Go
- SiriusXM Internet Radio
Music streaming has exploded throughout the 21st century. Online radio stations and streaming services have made it easier than ever to discover new music, listen to your favorite artists, and even participate in offline listening when there's no Wi-Fi available. Create curated playlists with your most-played songs, stream with optimal sound quality on any device, and share links to songs with your friends using music streaming services.
With the many options for music streaming available, you might have a tough time finding the right platform to spend your money on. Of course, some services are free, but many of them offer premium subscriptions with an array of must-have features at your fingertips. Comparing popular options like Spotify and SiriusXM can help you get the best music experience, whether you jam out in your car or unwind after a long day with classical music.
Music Streaming Services vs Internet Radio
In this guide, we focus more on paid music streaming services than free internet radio, although we include a few internet radio options. What's the difference?
Internet radio is more similar to the radio stations you may have listened to as a kid. These music apps let you sift through radio stations based on genres you like. Once you find one, you'll listen to a mix of music, hosts talking, and advertisements.
On the other hand, music streaming services offer a more on-demand music experience. Choose to play the songs you want, add new music to a playlist, or browse curated playlists created by the app or other users. You can skip songs as you wish, unlike a radio station that doesn't give you control over what plays.
Some services on our list offer a little of both, like iHeartRadio, which prioritizes internet radio but allows on-demand streaming with select paid plans.
13 Best Music Streaming Services
If you're a big fan of music, finding the best music streaming service may be even more important to you than finding the best TV streaming service. That's why we've outlined 13 of the top streaming music options to meet almost any music lover's needs.
It's impossible to talk about music streaming without mentioning Spotify. This service has an extensive selection of artists and songs — old to brand-new — to suit all tastes in music. One of its most popular features is that users can create and share their playlists with others, so it's easy to discover new music and artists you haven't heard before.
Depending on your plan and internet connection, Spotify delivers authentic, CD-quality, lossless audio so that you can enjoy your music the way it was meant to be. Browse podcasts, curated playlists, and stations catered to your mood and music tastes.
Spotify free limits how many songs you can skip and plays occasional ads throughout your music streams. Spotify Premium is $9.99/month, featuring ad-free music, unlimited skips, and access to the entire Spotify library.
2. YouTube Music (free, YouTube Premium)
YouTube Music is a relatively new platform offering both free and paid versions, the latter known as YouTube Premium. For $9.99/month, Premium members get ad-free listening, background playing, and the ability to play music offline with downloads.
YouTube Music offers audio quality up to 256 kbps, which is lower than Spotify's. However, unless you're super picky about your audio, you may not notice much of a difference. Otherwise, the platform has tons of curated playlists, top charts, and songs and artists to explore.
As a side note, Google Play Music has been rolled into YouTube Music, which is why you may not find it if you're looking to check it out.
Pandora is a streaming music, podcast, and on-demand listening platform that also features radio stations, giving you an eclectic mix of things to listen to. The free plan provides personalized stations, free podcasts, and the ability to search and skip as many songs as you want, as long as you watch or listen to an ad first.
Pandora Plus is a premium radio service without ads. Personalized stations also become ad-free, and you can listen offline for $4.99/month. Pandora Premium adds makeable and shareable playlists, letting you pick any song on demand ad-free for $9.99/month.
Audio quality with Pandora varies by plan, with 192 kbps being the maximum.
4. Apple Music
If you're an Apple product user, you might get the most out of Apple Music, which has exclusive radio stations, playlists, and podcasts that you can't find elsewhere. It connects seamlessly to any Apple device, including the Apple Watch, so you can listen to music and podcasts wherever you go.
In true Apple fashion, the company created new audio compression technology, known as Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC), making its music mimic lossless audio and CD quality sounds.
Apple Music offers new listeners one free month to test it out and $9.99/month after. There's also a family plan to add the service to multiple household members on different devices for $14.99/month.
There is virtually no match for Tidal when it comes to audio quality. Tidal is known for its HiFi, or high fidelity sound. HiFi provides some of the best, uncompromised sound for all your favorite music. Tidal also features Master sound, offering lossless audio that makes you feel like you're sitting next to the artist you're listening to.
The sound quality you get depends on your plan, though. Tidal starts free with up to 160 kbps of audio quality. HiFi listening is $9.99/month and comes with music videos and no ads. For $19.99/month on the HiFi Plus plan, you access Master sound quality and help Tidal give up to 10% of your subscription costs to the artists you stream.
Qobuz includes over 80 million songs from artists you know and love and others you still want to discover. You'll get studio-quality streaming on either plan with up to 192 kHz audio starting at $10.83/month. Subscribers can also choose a duo or family plan to add more people to their accounts for reduced prices.
With Qobuz, you can also buy the music and albums you enjoy listening to most. The Sublime plan gives you up to 60% off your purchases.
Live music listeners should consider LiveOne as their best music streaming service. The platform features live events, like concerts and festivals, to make you feel like you're a part of the action.
Also, stream your favorite music video, podcast, or radio station on-demand. Save what you love in your library to listen to at your convenience. Free plans allow 60 minutes of ad-free listening, but you can opt for a Premium account for $2.99/month billed annually to listen without ads, get unlimited skips, and access the platform's highest audio quality.
8. Amazon Music (Prime Music, Music Unlimited w/ HD)
Amazon offers two streaming service plans for music listeners: Amazon Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited.
Amazon Prime Music is included with a subscription to Amazon Prime for free, but non-Prime members can purchase it for $4.99/month. Amazon Music Unlimited has more available songs and capabilities, like on-demand listening without interruptions, offline listening, and personalized recommendations. It's $8.99/month if you're a Prime member or $9.99/month for non-Prime members.
With Amazon Prime Unlimited, subscribers can also access a growing library of spatial audio songs.
With free, premium, and family plans ranging from $0-$14.99/month, Deezer caters to all types of music listeners. Stream music, radio, and podcasts for free with occasional ads, and get customized listening recommendations based on what you listen to or save in your library.
Premium and Family plans add more tracks, an easier way to favorite the songs and artists you love, and unlimited playlists. Deezer provides the lyrics to the songs you play, too, so you can sing along.
Stream Deezer on your computer, tablet, or smartphone using the Deezer app. Audio quality goes up to 320 kbps for Premium members.
iHeartRadio is one of the best music streaming service options for people who love listening to radio stations from all over the country or discovering new music based on the genres they like. Catch New York or LA's hottest stations, even if you live hundreds of miles away.
The platform provides up to 128 kbps of sound quality and access to personalized radio stations based on a specific artist you enjoy for free. Paying members can get commercial-free radio, unlimited skips, and on-demand listening with select plans priced between $4.99-$9.99/month.
11. SoundCloud Go
SoundCloud Go gives users ad-free listening for their favorite tracks and newly discovered music. Offline listening is also available with unlimited downloads for $4.99/month. SoundCloud Go + gives subscribers access to the full catalog of tracks and artists and provides high-quality audio of 256kbps AAC on eligible lossless audio tracks. The premium version is $9.99/month.
12. SiriusXM Internet Radio
Many newer vehicles are equipped with SiriusXM connectivity, allowing drivers to stream radio stations on-demand through their car's audio system for $17.99/month. The service has over 400 channels to choose from, so there's plenty of variety for anyone who happens to be riding with you.
One caveat of SiriusXM is that its audio quality isn't as good as other services, like Spotify and Amazon Music Unlimited.
IDAGIO is incredibly unique to the music streaming world in that it's the only streaming service for classical music lovers. Unlike other options on our list that include music from all genres, IDAGIO provides a solo-genre option featuring classical artists like Leonard Slatkin and Emanuel Ax.
The service allows audio quality up to 16-bit/44.1KHz lossless FLAC, with plans ranging from free to $16.67/month with full access to live streaming concerts.
How To Listen To Streaming Music
If you're new to the best music streaming service options, then you'll need to know how to listen to streaming music at home.
Most music streaming services are available via an app that you can add to your mobile device or smart device. The music streaming app can then play your music on your device, smart speaker, in the car, or you can use the app to connect to wireless speakers or other wireless devices using your Wi-Fi for home connectivity. Be sure to use one of the best internet providers that offer reliable and fast internet to prevent shoddy quality.
Most music app services can also work on streaming media players, like the Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, Apple TV, or your computer or laptop. Look for the streaming app to add to your device using your device's app library.
Finally, remember that you can even take your streaming music with you. Use Bluetooth headphones to connect to your music app using your smartphone. Or, connect your device to Bluetooth-connected car systems to play your music streaming service on the road. Learn how to do it by checking your car's user manual.
Find the Best Music Streaming Service for You
What is the best music streaming service for your needs? Most of the options on our list offer free trials for at least a week or more – SiriusXM even gives three full months of free access – to test them out. Try the ones you're interested in to see which service gives you the music and features you love most.
Don't forget to consider how your service fits into your home connectivity, too. With the right setup, you can stream your favorite tracks and artists through smart home equipment, like Amazon Echo, and play high-quality audio on Bluetooth speakers.