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The Best Music Streaming Service or App for 2020

The Best Music Streaming Service or App for 2020
1st January, 2020
The Best Music Streaming Service or App for 2020

For the majority of music fans, the days of having to buy all your favourite albums are over. Although we’ve seen an incredible resurgence in vinyl, especially among audiophiles; the future of music listening lies firmly in the hands of streaming services. Giving you access to millions of songs at your fingertips that you can listen to wherever you are, and whenever you like. All coming in at an affordable, monthly price, as well as services like Spotify even offering free options. What’s more, most of these services offer subscriptions that in most cases sound indistinguishable and even better than CD quality.

But with so many options available on the market, how do you know which music streaming service is best? In this article, we check out all the leading names when it comes to music streaming services and apps. Giving you a unique insight into the pros and cons of each one, as well as naming the platform that we think takes the cake overall!


What to consider

The first thing you want to consider before deciding on a music streaming platform is what your needs are as a music fan. For instance, if you’re a DJ; the ability to stream music directly to your controller is something that’s sure to take your performances to the next level. But at the time of writing, this is a feature that’s few and far between. However, if you’re mixing on a Denon Prime 4; the latest integration with Tidal is something alone that might just sway you across.

On top of that, audio quality is another important factor you’ll need to consider, especially if you’re an audiophile. With Tidal and Amazon Music Unlimited being the only two platforms on the list that offer an option of high-quality, lossless audio. While you’ll find each music streaming service has its own variety of available music and content at its disposal whether it be podcasts, added lyrics, or music videos. As well as others that might not have an app for every device you use to listen to music.

Free or Paid

Are you looking to pay for a premium music subscription, or are you a casual listener who’ll be just fine with the limitations of a free service?

Free music streaming services typically limit your ability to skip songs; usually up to 6 skips per hour. While they also feed you intermittent ads through either audio or video. As well as limiting the quality of audio that you’ll hear.

Alternatively, signing up to a premium service is going to give you unlimited song skips, on-demand playback, the highest quality audio on offer, and usually a bunch of extra cool features. So if you love your music and you really want to get the most from your streaming service. We recommend you opt for a premium subscription, once you’ve decided the best platform for you!

Which music streaming platform takes the cake?

With an abundance of music streaming services on offer, they all have their own pros and cons. We’ve narrowed it down to our top three, with Spotify claiming bragging rights for the best overall!


Spotify – The best overall

Overall, Spotify takes the cake at number one when it comes to music streaming services. Giving you a streaming platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and with an endless amount of music.

The pioneers of streaming, Spotify offers one of the largest catalogs of music that includes all the oldies, as well as everything new and all that’s in between. So whatever music you’re into, you’re bound to find everything you’re looking for and more. On top of that, Spotify is quickly growing as a podcast platform as well. Including a separate dedicated podcast section that hosts all your favourite podcasts, and keeps them all organized easily for you. So if you’re an avid podcast listener, it’s going to be hard to beat Spotify.

Not to mention that Spotify has a compatible app for just about every device. So whether you’re on an iPhone, Android, Apple Watch, Smart Watch, PC, or Mac; there’s a dedicated Spotify app to make your music streaming seamless.

One of the best things about Spotify is the fact you can try it absolutely free. So before you decide that you definitely can’t live without a premium account, you can try the FREE Spotify version for as long as you like. Giving you access to all the platforms content whether it be music or podcasts. The only major downside to the free version is having to endure an ad or two, every now and then.

When it comes to quality, Spotify lacks when it comes to the option of lossless audio (Sorry audiophiles). Although it does offer up to 320KBPS high-quality audio resolution which should be more than acceptable for the average listener.

Spotify also offers a huge range of music discovery solutions. Including dedicated playlists that show you new songs in regards to what you already listen to. As well as a number of Spotify curated playlists that allow you to find exactly the type of music you want to listen to. Including BPM specific playlists that work perfectly for DJs looking to find similar music within a particular BPM range.

PROS:

  • Free version gives you instant access
  • Massive range of music and podcasts
  • User-friendly app is compatible with all devices
  • Personalized playlists for discovering music
  • Easily connects to wireless speakers and devices
  • Offline listening

CONS:

  • No lossless audio
  • Lacking video content

Get Spotify

Apple Music – The best for Apple users

Slow to take off, but now one of the most prominent music streaming platforms. Offering a massive variety of music, Apple Music is your best pick if you’re already predominantly using Apple devices.

While there are compatible apps for a range of platforms, including Android; Apple Music simply works beautifully with other Apple products. So if you’ve got an iPhone, MAC, and/or Apple Watch, you’ll love the seamless integration with Siri. Not to mention, a similarly massive catalog of music to Spotify with over 50 million songs at your disposal, including some exclusive releases. As well as a variety of video content including music videos, web series, and films. Plus curated playlists that have been hand-crafted by both musicians and music fans.

When it comes to audio quality, Apple Music will again fail to meet the standards of audiophiles. Unnoticeable to most, but a dealbreaker for others; Apple Music is only capable of delivering 256kbps resolution.

Finally, although Apple Music has an app on most platforms, it definitely performs better on Apple hardware. While we’ve also just seen the release of an Apple Music web-app. Something that this service had previously failed to deliver on.

PROS:

  • Integrates seamlessly with Apple devices
  • Massive Range
  • Personalised playlists
  • Offline listening
  • Beats 1 Radio Station
  • Video Content

CONS:

  • No free version
  • Low-quality audio

Get Apple Music


Tidal – The best for audiophiles

Owned by Jay-Z and co-owned by 15 other musicians; Tidal has become the go-to music streaming platform for audiophiles, and your best bet if you’re looking for quality sound.

Available on most platforms, but where Tidal really shines is in its audio quality. Offering high-resolution, lossless audio that far exceeds that of its music streaming counterparts. As a result, Tidal has become the go-to platform for audiophiles, with up to 1,4111kbps resolution FLAC format audio.

On that note, if you’re a DJ looking for the highest quality songs to play for your audience; Tidal’s probably a good choice for you. While the latest integration with the Denon Prime 4 series means you can stream directly from Tidal to your DJ system. An integration that’s sure to win over the hearts of many Denon DJ users.

For those times when you don’t have the app installed, Tidal also offers a web-based app. So you’ll never be left without music. As well as offering a range of exclusive content releases such as Jay-Z’s “4:44” and Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo” albums. Plus over 240,000 high-definition music videos and behind the scenes content that you won’t find on other music streaming services.

With all that good stuff, there are always some drawbacks. Tidal falls short when it comes to personalized music, lyrics, and the inclusion of a free version. While also notably missing every single Metallica album, so bad news for metalheads. The user interface is also lacking and not as streamlined and easy to navigate as you’ll find on Spotify.

Slow to take off, Tidal’s library of music is constantly growing. As a result, its quickly catching up to offering the same level of all-round music coverage that you’ll see on the likes of Apple Music and Spotify. Making it a great choice if you’re looking for lossless audio quality. On top of that, being that

PROS:

  • High-Resolution lossless audio
  • Massive Range
  • Personalised playlists
  • Offline listening
  • HD Music Videos

CONS:

  • No free version
  • App isn’t as user-friendly as others
  • Smaller music library
  • No lyrics
  • Lacking personalised playlists

Get Tidal

Honorable Mentions

While Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal took out the top 3 spots. There were a couple of options that were unlucky not to make the cut.


Amazon Music Unlimited

If you’re already a subscriber to Amazon Prime, upgrading to Amazon Music Unlimited is the perfect option to save yourself a few dollars.

With Prime, you’ll already have free access to Prime Music. While you can upgrade to Music Unlimited at a discounted rate and enjoy the bigger music library and better sound quality on offer.

What’s more, Amazon Music Unlimited offers sound quality that’s up to 10x higher than your standard music streaming service. While still remaining a cheaper option than Tidal. It also integrates seamlessly with Amazon Alexa, making it perfect if you own an Amazon Echo speaker.

PROS:

  • Ultra HD lossless quality
  • Massive music library
  • Scrolling lyrics
  • Offline listening
  • Free ad-supported tier

CONS:

  • No free version
  • No web app
  • Not as sophisticated personalised discovery features

Get Amazon Music Unlimited


Google Play Music

What makes Google Play Music great is its music locker feature and the inclusion of Youtube Music.

With music locker, you can upload up to 50,000 of your own songs that you can then access on any device via the cloud. Perfect for those times when the Google Play Music library doesn’t cater to the obscure songs in your library. While integration with YouTube Music gives you, even more features and content than your typical music streaming service. Including a range of exclusive videos and movies.

PROS:

  • Free version
  • Upload your own music for cloud streaming
  • Youtube Music included
  • Web-based app
  • Offline listening

CONS:

  • Not as sophisticated personalised discovery features
  • Smaller music library than others
  • No lyrics

Get Google Play Music

The Final Say

Above all, the best music streaming service for you is all going to come down to personal preference. If you’re a sucker for audio quality, you’ll be more inclined to go with Tidal or Amazon Music Unlimited. But if you’re a casual listener wanting to reap the benefits of a massive library combined with a streamlined user interface; you can’t go past the powerhouse that is Spotify.

What we suggest, is that you download and try each one of these music streaming services. If they don’t offer a free, ad-supported version, most of them give you some kind of free-trial option of the subscription service. So try each one out and see which one works best with your lifestyle!

By Jamie Larcombe

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