If you’re a music fan in 2022, it’s pretty much impossible to get by without being subscribed to a music streaming service. After all, these apps give you pretty much the entire history of recorded music at your fingertips, and new albums and songs are being released at such a rate that it’s impossible to keep up with them.
Buying albums is pretty much considered a retro practice these days (although some people certainly do still buy albums), so most music fans nowadays sign up to one of the many streaming services available. Which one is worth your time, though? Let’s take a look at the music streaming services you can sign up to right now and try to figure out which ones are the best!
Let’s start with the big one. Spotify is arguably the most famous and popular music streaming service in the world right now, and despite a few wobbles like the Joe Rogan anti-vaccine debacle, it remains at the top of the pile in terms of popularity. Popular online casino platform Betway even used Spotify to compile a list of the “most expensive music artists” to be a fan of earlier this year, so its data is being used for more than just listening purposes.
It’s not hard to see how Spotify has built up a following; it’s simple, streamlined, and easy to use, and although its audio quality might not be the best in the world, that’s unlikely to matter to anybody who doesn’t have the equipment necessary to take advantage of more audiophile-friendly services.
Jay-Z’s streaming service prides itself on offering a higher-quality alternative to the more mass-appeal-based Spotify. If you’re a serious music connoisseur – that is, if you really consider yourself a “proper” music fan – then you’re more likely to opt for Tidal. Why is that? Well, the base tier for Tidal, which costs the same amount as Spotify, offers higher-quality music, and even has an entire HiFi tier that allows you to stream lossless audio.
Tidal’s user interface design is great, too, rivalling Spotify in terms of how easy it is to use. Since the base subscription tiers cost the same, you’ll want to opt for Tidal if you really love music and want to hear every single production choice in your favourite songs. The HiFi tier is for true connoisseurs.
Amazon Music Unlimited is an extremely attractive proposition if you’re already part of the Amazon Prime world. If you’re a subscriber to Prime, then you get a discount for the service, meaning you’ll pay less than you would for Amazon Music Unlimited’s rivals. There’s also a rather interesting option that allows you to pay for streaming the service on just one device, so if you’ve got an Amazon speaker of some kind, then you can pay even less to restrict the service to that speaker.
Quality-wise, Amazon Music Unlimited is rock-solid, offering millions of songs at 16 bit quality and even more in 24 bit. It’s competitive with the other services on this list, so if you’re a Prime subscriber, you should seriously consider Amazon Music Unlimited for the convenience and reduced price it offers.
Just like everything else in Apple’s ecosystem, Apple Music is only a real option for you if you’re already part of Apple’s world. Of course, there is an Android app available, so if you really want to sign up to Apple Music with an Android phone, the option is there. We wouldn’t recommend doing so, though, just because Apple Music is designed and tailor-made for iPhones and other Apple devices. Still, Apple Music has great audio quality and looks amazing on iOS.
Sadly, if you want to stream lossless audio, you will need an additional device to do so, which makes this a less attractive prospect for those who really care about their audio quality. In summary, Apple Music is great if you’re already a member of the Apple ecosystem, but if not, it’s probably not the service for you.
Have you ever had those ads pop up on YouTube asking you to try a free trial for YouTube Premium? If you do, you get YouTube Music Premium included as standard, but it’s also available as an individual subscription if you prefer. YouTube Music Premium doesn’t quite stand up to its competitors, featuring lower audio quality than services like Tidal or Apple Music, but if you get YouTube Premium as well, then you’ll have the added benefit of losing annoying ads from your YouTube content.
The search on YouTube Music is great, and it does have a wide range of music videos available, so if you prefer to consume your music visually, then this should definitely be the service for you. However, if you’re looking to subscribe to the best music service out there for audio quality, YouTube Premium isn’t going to be the one.
You might not have heard of Qobuz before, but it’s well worth considering if you want a music catalogue that’s just a little bit more unusual. Qobuz is well-known for its selection of non-pop music, so if you’re a classical or jazz fan, you might find what you want here, more so than on other services. Qobuz is also a well-structured app with plenty of features, so it’s not like you’re compromising on the user experience to enjoy a more out-there range of music.
There are disadvantages to Qobuz, though. It doesn’t have the greatest hi-res sound quality in the world, and its library isn’t going to be up to snuff if you’re more of a pop fan (that is, pop as opposed to classical). Try this one out if you’ve found other services wanting in terms of their libraries, though, and you might be pleasantly surprised.
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