So many music streaming choices, but which one is best for you?
There are a lot of choices when it comes to streaming music, so to help you decide which is best for you, we've put together a comparison of the top 9 choices.
The Top 9 Music Streaming Options
Although the name Napster may scare some people away, the streaming music service of today is 100% legal. It was previously known by the name Rhapsody until it was relaunched in 2016 as a streaming-only service.
The streaming service has two ad-free tiers: unRadio for $4.99 per month and Premier for $9.99 per month. The Premier version comes with on-demand access to the entire library of songs and the ability to download for offline enjoyment. The lower tier has a 15 day free trial and the upper tier has a 30 day free trial.
The service has apps compatible with both IOS and Android devices, and the platform is fairly easy to use.
The biggest con is the ick factor attached to the name. Many people are still rather wary of linking themselves to Napster.
What started as a free broadcast and internet radio platform, iHeartRadio added a streaming option in order to provide a more flexible listening experience.
The streaming option is $9.99 per month, unless you plan on listening on your iOS device, then it will cost you $12.99. Your monthly fee will get you access to millions of songs that can be accessed on-demand and downloaded for off-line enjoyment. The service does offer a free trial up to 30 days depending on your device.
Compatible with iPhones, Androids, and Roku devices.
One of the biggest cons for this service is the increased price point for Apple users. Paying three extra dollars for the same exact service is a big turn-off.
Slacker Radio service is available in the U.S. and Canada and was founded in 2007. Users can create customized stations that can be shared with others.
The free tier contains ads and users cannot skip songs, but their is a $3.99 tier that is ad-free and included unlimited skips. The Premium tier is $9.99 and included on-demand and off-line listening. The service also includes stations like ABC News and ESPN radio. However, at this time it does not offer a free trial of premium services.
The platform is compatible with most devices including Sonos, Roku, and Echo.
The con for Slacker Radio is the limited range, only being available in the U.S. and Canada makes it a no-go for international audiences.
Started in 2000, Pandora Radio is a curated platform powered by the Music Genome Project. The algorithm chooses songs and artists for you based on 450 attributes.
The easy-to-use service offers three tiers: the ad-supported free tier, Pandora Plus ($4.99 per month) which is the ad-free version with unlimited skips, and Pandora Premium ($9.99 per month) the ad-free, on-demand service which includes unlimited skips and offline listening. The service offers a free trial for the paid tiers.
Just about any device you own is going to be compatible with Pandora Radio, even game consoles and home audio systems have compatibility.
Cons for Pandora include the inability to upload your own music for streaming. Also, Pandora is only available in the U.S.
Google Play Music
Launched in 2011, Google's music service app includes an online "music locker" where users can upload 50,000 songs from their own musical collections. Individual songs can also be purchased through the app.
The paid (ad-free) subscription can be purchased for individuals at $9.99 or in a family plan for $14.99. Google is currently offering a 30-day free trial, and the subscription also gets you access to YouTube Red. One of the cooler features of the service is location based playlists, for example, if you are at the gym it can suggest an upbeat workout playlist.
Cons for Google's service include the need for separate app for the music and the YouTube services.
Created by Jay-Z, Tidal is available in 52 countries and contains over 48 million songs. The service is the first to offer high-definition audio for streaming. The music is CD quality and is available offline. It also offers a lot of exclusive music, including the entire Jay-Z collection.
Tidal offers many different tiers of service including student, family, and military tiers of services. The basic service is $9.99 per month but does not include the high-def audio, you have to jump up to the $19.99 subscription if you want the premium sound. Tidal does offer a free 1 month trial.
The service is compatible with many devices, but if you are paying for the premium sound, you may want to check to make sure it is going to be worth it with whatever device you are using for listening.
There are a couple of cons for Tidal: the service is more expensive than most others if you are going with the high-def plan, the high quality audio uses up a lot of data which can add to the cost, and the music selection isn't as large as with some of the other services (unless you are a rap and hip hop fan then Tidal is definitely where you want to be.)
Launched in 2015, the on-demand streaming service offers music, videos, and a 24-hour radio station. Available in hundreds of countries, and often offers early release artist exclusives.
The service offers a $9.99 single plan, a $14.99 family plan, and a $4.99 student plan. All plans come with a 3-month free trial.
Apple Music is compatible with all Apple devices including the Apple watch as long as they are running 8.4 or later version of iOS. Some Android devices are also compatible, and you can give voice commands with the HomePod.
The biggest con for Apple Music is the poor desktop app.
Launched by a Swedish entertainment company in 2008, Spotify specializes in music and podcast streaming. It is available in most of Europe, North and South America, some of Asia, and Australia.
The service offers three tiers: the free ad-supported tier, the Premium tier ($9.99) and the family tier (14.99). All tiers include access to the 35+ million song library and includes tons of playlists and podcasts. Users can add Hulu services for just $3 per month. A 30-day free trial is currently available.
Streaming is easy with Spotify as it is compatible with many devices including most smart phones, Sonos One, Home Max, and even the PS4.
Adding your own music to the app is very difficult which can be a con for those who own large music collections already.
Amazon has two music streaming options: Amazon Prime Music which is already included in the Amazon Prime subscription and offers up over 2 million songs for streaming and Music Unlimited which the ad-free paid service that gets users access to tens of millions of songs.
Music Unlimited has two price points: $8 for those that are already subscribed to Prime and $10 for non-Prime users. They currently offer a 3-month free trial of the service.
Amazon music can be accessed via Alexa by voice command, but is also compatible with windows, iOS, and Android devices.
While still having hefty listening options, Music Unlimited doesn't have quite the range that some of the other services offer.
Finding the right music streaming service is ultimately going to come down to what you need from the service and what your listening habits are, but this list is a good way to narrow down your options. Go ahead and take advantage of some of the free trials to get a taste before picking your favorite.
What is your favorite music streaming option?
What do you like best about it?