Right now is a crazy time to choose a music streaming service. There are so many music-streaming services out there. This list will serve as a comparison between them all. The music-streaming market is quickly getting crowded, so it can be difficult to find the best one.
As you may know, Apple is just now joining the streaming music business with its launch of Apple Music last month. Apple Music is likely to push some of the other alternatives out of the way. But you may be happier, and better off going with a company other than Apple.
- great free option
- large music library
- intelligent radio stations
- premium costs $9.99/month
- can sometimes be a sluggish application
Overall Spotify is a pretty cool service. It allows for ad-supported, on-demand music streaming from a desktop or laptop. However, when using Spotify on mobile with a free subscription, on-demand is not available.
- very intelligent radio stations
- free, ad-supported radio stations
- fast, well-designed
- on-demand listening is not available
Pandora has been my favorite music discovery tool for years. You can create stations based around a song or artist you like and find new, similar music.
[Note: yes, I know Pandora is not an on-demand music streamer. I think it’s still a great music streaming service.]
- large library of on-demand music
- free 3-month trial
- $9.99/month after trial
- not the best designed
Apple Music still needs to be polished. It can be a bit confusing using the new service, but the sound quality is good, and the music library is huge. Though I’ve already found some music that’s available on the iTunes store, but not on Apple Music.
Google Play Music All Access
- Extensive library
- not airplay compatible
- no iPad app
Even though I use iPhone, I’ve been a fan of Google Play Music for a few years now. Google recently jumped into the streaming music world when it unveiled its Google Play Music All Access. I would recommend this service to Android users and Google fans.
Which is the best?
Only you can decide which service is the best. We’ve established that all on-demand streaming music services charge users $10 a month, with the exception of Spotify. If you do most of your listening on your desktop, there’s really no reason to pay for a service when you can get it for free on Spotify.
Spotify is also very cross-platform compatible. You can access your Spotify account from just about every device you own. In that way, Spotify definitely has an edge.
On the other hand, if you only have Apple products–like me–then Apple Music could be a smart way to go as well.
Overall, though, I think Spotify wins this battle. They’ve been in this game for a lot longer than Apple and Google, and have a pretty great service. Still, I would suggest you try each service out. Most of them will offer you a free trial.