List of 21 Free and Paid Music Streaming Services
Streaming is becoming the most popular way to listen to music nowadays, and there are many free and paid services available. This is a list of several available streaming apps that are available for Apple or Android mobile devices.
Full Streaming Services
- Full streaming services offer access to catalogs of around 30 million songs, which can be downloaded for offline listening. They also offer radio stations and most offer a way to listen to local files, so you can play music you've purchased.
- Amazon Music Unlimited - This has multiple listening options. Prime Listeners pay $7.99 a month. Non-prime pay $9.99. The family plan is $14.99 for up to 6 accounts. There's also a $3.99 plan for use on Echo or Echo Dot devices.
- Apple Music - There's a three-month free trial offer giving users plenty of time to decide if they like the service. Prices are $4.99 a month for students, $9.99 for individuals, and $14.99 for the family plan, which comes with six accounts.
- Deezer - There is a free plan available for Deezer but only on computers or tablets. If you want to listen on a mobile device, it will cost $9.99 a month. Deezer offers a family plan for 14.99 in Euros or British pounds. The family plan isn't currently available in the United States.
Why Google Play Music Is a Great Deal Compared to Similar Services
- Google Play Music - This is a great deal because it also comes with YouTube Red, which allows access to special content and downloadable videos. In addition to videos, YouTube Red can be used as a music listening service because users can make and download playlists. Google Play Music offers 30 million songs, and users can upload their own music. YouTube Red can be used for listening to remixes, live recordings, and fan covers that aren't available on the music service. Google Play Music and YouTube Red combined cost $9.99 for an individual plan or $14.99 a month for a family plan with six accounts.
- Microsoft Groove Music - Formerly called Xbox Music and Zune Music. Like other services, this one costs $9.99 a month, but there isn't a family plan.
- Napster - This used to be called Rhapsody. A single account is $9.99. The family account allows up to 6 users for $14.99. There is a Kids version that only plays clean music. Any account can be switched to a kid's friendly account.
- Spotify - This is the most controversial but also the most popular streaming service. Spotify has a lower payout to labels and artists per stream due to its generous free plan. Free ad-supported listeners provide only 20% per stream what a paying Premium user provides in per-stream payouts. The free ad-supported plan does come with restrictions like lower quality audio and no download feature. Free users can only listen to albums and playlists on shuffle. Premium plans cost $4.99 for students, $9.99 for individuals, and $14.99 for a family plan with six accounts.
- Tidal - Tidal's claim to fame is its high-quality Lossless High Fidelity (Hi-Fi) sound quality. This high-quality plan costs $19.99 a month, or $16.99 a month if you pre-pay for six months. To get the sound quality available on other services costs $9.99 a month, or $8.49 if you pre-pay for six months. The family plan is expensive. Regular sound quality costs $29.95 for up to four family members. The Tidal Hi-Fi plan costs $59.95 a month. Students pay $4.99 for regular quality and $9.99 for Hi-Fi. Members of the military pay $5.99 for regular and $11.99 for Hi-Fi.
Popular Streaming Radio
- Streaming radio services offer a mix of songs based on artist or genre. Unlike the full services, you can't choose what albums or songs you want to listen to, and you can't download for offline listening.
- AccuRadio - Provides multiple playlists for multiple genres for free. Categories include niche genres like Brit Rock, French Pop, Cabaret and underground punk in addition to more popular genres like top 40 pop, R&B, rock, and country. AccuRadio has about 2 million listeners per month. Stations are available by app or online and come with unlimited skips.
- Jango - This is another free, ad-supported service that plays songs based on artist or genre.
- Pandora - This is the best known of the popular streaming radio services. There is a free service with a limited number of song skips. A paid service that costs $4.99 a month allows unlimited skips, offline stations, and is ad-free.
- unRadio - This is Napster's radio service. It costs $4.99 a month. You can personalize using artists or songs. There are no ads, and you get unlimited skips.
- 8tracks - You can make your own playlists or listen to playlists made by others. The app and website can be organized by mood, artist, genre or activity. Some of the songs have clearly been ripped from YouTube, so quality can vary, but this is a great music exploration app.
- AH.fm - The app and website focus on techno, trance and dance music.
- Bandcamp - This is a website that allows independent artists to upload and sell their music. You can listen for free on the website and listen to purchased music using the app.
- DI.fm - Digitally Imported is for fans of electronic music.
- iHeartRadio - The iHeartRadio app provides access to live iHeartRadio stations all over the US. It also provides artist stations. The artist stations are ad-supported.
- Magnatune - Offers 1300 free "Classical, New Age, Electronica, Jazz, World, Ambient, Hip Hop, and Alt/Electro/Hard Rock" albums. At the end of each song, you'll hear an announcement about their paid version. If you pay the monthly subscription fee, the announcements will be removed.
- SoundCloud - This app and website is a popular place for indie artists and up-and-coming artists to share their work. Royals by Lorde broke through and became a #1 hit thanks to the free SoundCloud version being shared on forums.
- Spinrilla - This is a free service for hip-hop fans. It provides thousands of mixtapes. Only DJ's who are invited can place their music on the service.
- YouTube & YouTube Red - You can listen to music using the YouTube app, but it has some restrictions. You can't listen while your mobile device is turned off and you can't download songs. For $9.99 a month or $14.99 for a family plan of up to 6 users you can get the YouTube Red and Google Play Music combo. YouTube Red allows downloads for offline listening and viewing. You can also listen while the device is off. Google Play Music is a full streaming music service with access to 30 million songs.
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