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It can feel like each time you take off your headphones, a new music streaming platform emerges to compete with the the likes of Apple and Amazon. Even SiriusXM and Pandora are stepping up services to meet listener demand for access to a wide range of songs, albums, radio stations, live broadcasts and user-created playlists.
Services set themselves apart with the library size, streaming quality and — of course — price. When comparing your options, look for a plan that supports what’s important to you: multiple streaming across devices, the ability to share with loved ones and upgrades for perks like ad-free entertainment. A free trial to take the service for a spin without spending a dime couldn’t hurt.
Compare 10+ music streaming services
How do I compare music streaming services?
Streaming services vary in music selection, price and more. When deciding on the service for you, consider:
- Price. Sure, you could stick with the free service, but you’re limited to online streaming, you’ll hear ads and miss out on other perks. Subscriptions range from $4 to $20.
- Exclusive content. Find out which streaming services offer live concerts, exclusive interviews and more with their premium service.
- Library. Most music streaming services offer giant libraries with almost any song you want. But some artists limit access to specific services. Find out if your favorite artist limits their music to specific platforms before signing up for a service.
- Sound quality. Some services arrange pricing accordingly depending on if you’re looking to access CD-quality streaming or the free standard quality.
- Family plans. Most streaming services limit the basic plan to only one person streaming at a time. But upgrading to a family plan can give up to six family members unlimited access to your account for a fee.
- Compatibility. Consider the devices you want to stream your music from. Most services stream from both iOS and Android devices. However, if you’re looking to stream though your home speaker, TV or video game console, compare streaming services’ compatibility.
- Data. Streaming music over your mobile phone plan’s connection could suck up your data quickly if you’re not careful. Find a provider that offers unlimited to avoid using up all your data on the train.
Do I need to pay for music streaming?
No, most streaming services offer a free subscription version that gives you basic access to the library and streaming. Depending on the platform you go with and the tier you choose, you could pay between $4 for a basic plan, to as high as $20 for access to exclusive content and unlimited streaming.
Most services offer discounts for students and military service members.
Is premium worth it?
Whether paying for a premium tier is worth it depends on how often you listen and if you mind ads interrupting your listening. Paying for premium service sometimes gives you unlimited song skips when you’re listening to a radio station and gives you a more curated playlist.
If you want to listen to music on your phone or portable device, paying for a subscription can give you unlimited streaming without using your data when you’re not connected to the Internet.
You can also compare our top picks for the best music streaming service and find the one that will keep you jamming.
How much data does music streaming use?
How much data you use to stream music depends on your cellular provider, streaming service and the sound quality. For example, streaming a song with Spotify uses about 2.1MB for average quality, and 7.2MB for its highest tier.
To avoid using data, download tracks to your device or look for offline playback features.
Frequently asked questions
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