Spotify, Apple Music & More

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Most of us now stream our music, whether from Spotify, YouTube Music, Tidal, or something else entirely, and the reasons are obvious: you pay one subscription and get to listen to almost any song out there.

Still, there are lots of music streaming services out there and though they may seem similar, they’re not all created equal. Some offer discounted family plans, some deliver high quality lossless audio, some throw in podcasts, some include music videos, and some even let you upload your own music files to keep in the same library.

So, to help you make the right decision we’ve put together this handy guide which explains what they have to offer and how they compare.

These are the best music streaming services of 2021:

Spotify

Spotify Premium

Apple Music

Apple Music

YouTube Music Premium

YouTube Music Premium

Amazon Prime Music Unlimited

Amazon Prime Music Unlimited

Tidal

Tidal

Qobuz

Qobuz

Deezer

Deezer

What should I look for in a music streaming service?

It’s fair to say that there has been a fair amount of standardisation in the music streaming landscape over the past few years. When you sign up to one, you can expect a large range of music (both new and old), various playlists that gather together related songs, and recommendations based on your listening preferences.

Many services now include podcasts, and some even have videos too, with YouTube Music Premium being the most advanced in that particular area. 

If a service has a free tier, such as Spotify, Deezer, or Amazon Music, then these will usually be quite restrictive, with offline listening disabled, ads played between tracks, and, in some cases, a reduced selection of music. Most offer individuals plans for around £10/$10 per month and Family plans that cost £15/$15. The latter can be particularly good value as it usually includes six individual premium accounts, albeit ones that need the members to live in the same household.

Some services, like Tidal and Qobuz, also offer higher quality audio files for audiophiles, with lossless tunes in CD quality or even better. This is great if you have the gear (and the know-how) to appreciate it, though most people will be happy enough with MP3.

There’s not really a ‘best’ service, as that particular accolade depends on what you like to listen to and how much you’ll use the additional features. But, with all of the ones listed below featuring free-trials of their Premium offerings, we recommend trying one after the other to see which one fits your lifestyle and music needs.

For other subscription-based entertainment, read our roundups of the best movie & TV streaming services and best game streaming services.

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