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The best Spotify alternatives: What are your options?
Spotify is arguably the king of music streaming services right now, but then, so was Napster once. It isn’t the only excellent music streaming service out there, and it might not even be the best for you. We’ve decided to take a look at the best Spotify alternatives currently available.
We’re not saying you should leave Spotify. It has a large selection of music from a huge array of artists, plus a clean and intuitive user interface. The service also offers a variety of features, such as the ability to create and share playlists and discover new music based on your listening history. But it’s also come in for criticism at times. For example, many artists have accused Spotify of not paying fair royalties, and some have even called for a boycott of the service.
You can make your own mind up. But if you do want to find out what other music streaming apps are out there, here are some of the best Spotify alternatives.
Price: Free / $9.99-$19.99 per month
TIDAL positions itself as being created by musicians for musicians. It offers a wide variety of features, including access to over 90 million tracks, support in many countries, high-quality audio, and a selection of curated playlists. It also has an active music blog and a large library of music videos. Although competitors may offer more features, TIDAL focuses on providing a high-quality listening experience for serious music fans.
While it doesn’t match the social features of Spotify, TIDAL gives you access to many videos ranging from live performances to music videos. It also has better sound quality (in the higher payment tier), offers a discount for those in the military, and arguably offers a better UI. Being owned by artists might lead you to the conclusion that TIDAL is more likely than Spotify to have the best interests of artists at heart.
Price: Free / $9.99 per month
Since YouTube Music is integrated with YouTube, which is owned by Google, it won’t surprise you to learn that it has more content overall than any other service. You can browse through artists, genres, or songs, plus recommendations based on your listening habits are available if you want to discover new music. You can also upload your own tracks easily.
YouTube music can’t compete with some of the other streaming services on every level, but it does offer great value as a Spotify alternative. The Premium plan is $9.99 per month, and for just $2 more, you can eliminate ads on regular YouTube too. This plan includes all the features of YouTube Music and YouTube Premium, such as ad-free listening, background play, and more.
Price: $10.99-$16.99 per month
After a lukewarm reception when it was released in late 2015, Apple Music has since become one of the top music streaming services. It offers 80 million songs, playlists, 24/7 live radio, and the ability to upload and stream your own music. There are several monthly plan options, including individual, student, and family plans, although options for free listening are limited. Apple Music has addressed many early bugs and is available in many countries where other services are not, making it a strong all-around option.
It may have a slightly smaller music library than Spotify, but you do get access to Apple’s excellent lossless audio with the base price, which audiophiles will appreciate. It also has nice extras like spatial audio with head tracking, and you can upload your own music. Whether it’s better than Spotify is a matter of preference, but it’s certainly a worthy alternative.
Price: Free / $9.99-$19.99 per month
Deezer is a solid streaming service that offers a range of features, including playlists, stations, recommendations, and Flow, which is a personal soundtrack feature. It also has a large selection of songs and is available in more countries than many of its competitors. One of its standout features is the option for Hi-Fi streaming at 16-bit FLAC quality for $19.99 per month, which competes with TIDAL in the Hi-Fi streaming market. While it has its pros and cons, Deezer is certainly a reputable service.
Despite Spotify having a far larger market share, Deezer gives it a run for its money. If you want to pay a premium price, then Deezer offers better audio quality and music discovery features. But Deezer can also be a cheaper option if you opt for the lower price tier on an annual plan. Spotify has a wider selection of podcasts and additional features like Google Maps integration, but depending on what’s most important to you, Deezer might be a very viable Spotify alternative.
Price: Free / $4.99-$9.99 per month
Pandora has been around since 2005, making it one of the oldest music streaming services out there. Over the years, the service has evolved and now offers features similar to its competitors, including music, podcasts, lyrics, and more. The free version has ads, but most features are available with it. It’s also supported by a variety of devices and services like Alexa, gaming consoles, and TVs.
Compared to Spotify, Pandora is only available in the United States and has a catalog of around 30 million songs. But its main feature is probably its stations, which are based on genres and moods, and the service gets better at recommending tracks the more you listen. It’s comparable to Spotify in many respects and has it beat in terms of pricing, so it might appeal as an alternative if you’re in the US.
It’s hard to single out one service as the best rival as it depends on what features of a music app are most important to you. It could be the price, the user interface, the content library, or something else. The relative merits of each option are highlighted above.