Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.
Competition among streaming services is mounting, with new platforms emerging and big names like Apple and Amazon adding fierce competition. This encourages platforms like SiriusXM and Pandora to step up its services, offering more for its users.
Streaming gives listeners access to almost any song, on demand without purchasing an album, with curated radio stations, live broadcasts and user-created playlists. Platforms set themselves apart with the library size, streaming quality and of course, price.
If streaming across your devices is important to you, or if you plan to share your membership with your family of roommates, look for a plan that offers multiple streaming at the same time to multiple devices.
Most services offer free tiers, with options to upgrade. Whether it’s worth an upgrade to eliminate ads is up to you and how you plan to use your streaming. And most services offer its premium service with a free trial to see if its right for you.
Compare over 10 music streaming services
How to 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. You can compare
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
Read more on this topic
The 6 best music streaming services of 2020 Check out what the standout music streaming services of 2019 have to offer.
The best free Christmas music playlists streaming online Get in the holiday spirit with the most holly-jolly free playlists around.
Tidal vs. Spotify: Which music streaming service is better? Tidal's high-definition sound means it's all the rage with audiophiles. But if lossless audio isn't your jam, Spotify's the cheaper choice.
iTunes Music Store review: Features, devices and music prices The iTunes Music Store was a pioneer of digital music, and to this day remains one of the easiest and most accessible ways to legally buy music online.
Apple Music review: Pricing, features and devices With over 50 million songs and millions of subscribers, Apple Music has struck a chord with music lovers around the world.
LiveXLive music streaming review: How it works, pricing and features Explore how LiveXLive sets itself apart from the competition.
SoundCloud Go+ music streaming review: Price, features and devices If you're on the hunt for music so underground it's never seen the sun, SoundCloud Go+ has 135 million tracks with your name on it.
iHeartRadio review: Pricing, features and devices Stream your favorite radio stations online or tune in to artist stations. But you'll need a paid subscription to play songs on demand.
Pandora Premium review: Pricing, features and devices Enjoy ad-free content, create playlists and take your favorite tracks offline with Pandora Premium.
SiriusXM Radio music streaming review: How it works, pricing and features Get over 175 channels of music, news, sports and political talk with SiriusXM.
Ask an Expert