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Best music streaming services

Stream 'til you drop.
By
December 19, 2023
Best for most
Spotify
Check price
Positives
Collaborative playlists
Discover playlists
Family/Student plans
On basically every platform
Negatives
Still no HiFi
The Bottom Line.
Spotify is one of the best streaming services around because it offers great music discovery and options to share music with friends. Read full review...
Best value
Amazon Music Unlimited
Check price
Positives
High-bitrate files
360 Reality Audio support
Great value for lossless audio
Negatives
Limited Dolby Atmos support
The Bottom Line.
Amazon's music service comes at a discount if you're a Prime subscriber, and has a lot to offer, like high-quality audio, 360 Reality Audio support, and wide platform support.Read full review...
Best for music videos
YouTube Music Premium
Check price
Positives
Can upload your own songs
Family/student plans
Negatives
Music discovery is just okay
No option for high quality streaming
Can't add local files to playlists
The Bottom Line.
Like Spotify, YouTube Music is just an all-around solid option. You can also get YouTube Premium for ad-free videos along with the music.Read full review...
Best for iPhone
Apple Music
Check price
Positives
Can have 100,000 of your own songs
Live Radio
Family/Student plans
Exclusives
High-resolution tier
Dolby Atmos
Negatives
High-res playback doesn't work with AirPods line of headsets
The Bottom Line.
Apple Music is one of the more popular services and comes with some pretty cool features like live radio and exclusive songs/albums from some of the most popular artists out right now. If you want music first, this is your best option.Read full review...
Qobuz
Check price
Positives
Lossless streaming
Good artist payout
Sonos integration
Huge library of Hi-Res tracks
Qobuz store
Discount for annual payment plans
Negatives
Search functionality
Cost
Lack individualized recommendations
The Bottom Line.
With high-quality files available for streaming, curated playlists, and exclusive live events, Tidal is the one to go for if you want to get the most out of a music streaming service. Read full review...

As fun as it is trying out different headphones and speakers, it isn’t the reason the audio community exists. However good your favorite speakers or earbuds might be, you don’t love them. They’re just a tool to help you experience what really matters: music. Thanks to the internet and audio streaming services, it’s now easier than ever to access tens of millions of songs at your fingertips. More music than you could listen to in a lifetime. But with so many music streaming options and so much music, how do you know which one is right for you? We did all the research and picked a few of the best, but we also went over and compared some of the other alternatives as well.

What's new?

Spotify

  • HiFi Launch: Spotify HiFi is expected to launch in early 2024. It will offer a CD-quality, lossless audio format, potentially up to 24-bit/192 kHz.
  • Pricing: The rumored price for Spotify HiFi is $19.99/month.

Amazon Music Unlimited

  • Pricing Increase: Amazon Music Unlimited increased its subscription prices in February 2023. The individual plan increased from $10 to $11 per month, and the student plan increased from $5 to $6.

YouTube Music

  • UI Redesign: YouTube Music underwent several core UI redesigns in 2023, including a revamped library, album pages, and Now Playing redesign.
  • Podcasts: Podcasting became a significant focus for YouTube Music in 2023.
  • Upcoming Features: Future updates may include more generative AI in the discovery experience.

Apple Music

  • New Features in iOS 17: Apple Music introduced crossfade, collaborative playlists, and a new music player in iOS 17.

Qobuz

  • Subscription Tiers: Qobuz offers two tiers: Studio and Sublime, each with solo, duo, and family plans. Prices range from $12.99/month for Studio Solo to $34.98/month for Sublime Family.
  • Streaming Quality: Qobuz provides tracks in at least CD quality (16-bit/44.1kHz) and supports Hi-Res sound (24-bit/up to 192kHz) for most tracks.

Deezer

  • Price Increase: Deezer raised its subscription prices for the second time in a year, effective September 21, 2023, for new premium and family subscriptions in key territories.

TIDAL HiFi

  • FLAC Support for HiFi Plus Subscribers: TIDAL is introducing FLAC support for its HiFi Plus subscribers following the bankruptcy of MQA, a technology previously used for high-resolution audio streaming​​​​​.
  • Price Increase: The HiFi tier's monthly subscription price increased to $10.99 in the U.S. as of August 2023. Similar price increases were implemented in other regions like the UK, where the price is now £10.99​​​​​.
  • HiFi Plus Subscription Features and Cost: The HiFi Plus subscription, priced at $19.99 per month, offers Master Quality Authenticated (MQA), Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio, and HiFi​​​.

Why is Spotify the best music streaming service for most people?

Spotify is one of the biggest and most prominent music streaming services available right now, and that’s one of the reasons it’s best for the majority of people.

Spotify
Spotify
Spotify app icon on the Google Pixel 3 home screen.Desktop Spotify app on WindowsScreenshot of a Spotify running on macOS on the discover page.Spotify detects when it's connected to an automobile and offers option to connect to navigation apps.The Spotify app for driving displayed on a Google Pixel 3A Google Pixel 3 on a comforter next to the Sony WF-1000XM3 true wireless earbuds and charging case.A woman holds a Google Pixel 3 phone with Spotify open on it.Spotify app personalized section open on a Google Pixel 3, which is laying flat on a table and book.Spotify app open on a Google Pixel 3.
Spotify

Aside from having a massive library of music to choose it also excels at helping you discover new music thanks to a combination of curated playlists by people and smart algorithms that learn your preferences over time. One of its main features is the Discover Weekly playlist, which will suggest a playlist of new songs every week that the algorithm thinks you might like. On top of that, it’s also easy to share tracks between friends or on social media, which is part of the reason why we use Spotify links when reviewing products.

Features aside, Spotify is also available in several places and has a free model with many curated playlists you can choose from. Now, as far as sound quality goes, Spotify isn’t the leader of the pack by any means. Free users will max out at 128kbps (AAC), but if you’re a paid premium user, you can stream AAC at 256kbps or Ogg Vorbis at 320kbps. (Ogg Vorbis is an open-source alternative to the MP3 format.)

Although Spotify’s streaming quality isn’t the best, it is perfectly fine for most listeners who just want background noise during their gatherings or commutes. Now, if you want better sound quality and a similar music library, you can compare Spotify to Amazon Music Unlimited. However, Spotify HiFi is expected to launch in early 2024, which promises to offer a CD-quality, lossless audio format, potentially up to 24-bit/192 kHz, at a rumored price of $19.99/month. Although, given that it is two years late already, we aren’t holding our breath.

Best value: Amazon Music Unlimited

Amazon Music Unlimited, formerly Amazon Music HD, might not have the biggest user base, but it was one of the first big-name services to offer lossless playback. As a response to Apple Music’s new high-quality streaming option, Amazon made its HD service available to all Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers at no extra cost. It now costs just $8.99/month for Prime members and $10.99/month for non-Prime members. There are also family subscriptions which include the lossless FLAC audio at 24bit/192kHz.

Amazon Music Unlimited
Amazon Music Unlimited
A picture of the Amazon Music HD mobile app Ultra HD Songs listed.A picture of the Amazon Music HD mobile app notification shade.Amazon Music HD vs Spotify Premium music streaming services pulled up on two smartphones against a wood headboard.A picture of the Amazon Music HD mobile app with the streaming quality information pulled up on a Samsung Galaxy S10e.A picture of the Amazon Music HD desktop app.A picture of the Amazon Music HD mobile app "now playing" page on a Samsung Galaxy S10e.
Amazon Music Unlimited
Amazon Music Unlimited
Buy now
See review
See review

To take advantage of Amazon Ultra HD Hi-Res quality, your device must support it. Additionally, certain speaker and headphone brands are more suited for streaming Amazon Music Unlimited. As of October 20, 2021, Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers can take advantage of spatial audio (Dolby Atmos or Sony 360 Reality Audio) through any mobile device without the need for specific headphones like the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) or Sony WH-1000XM5. Amazon Music Unlimited allows local media playback as well as downloading songs. However, remember that it doesn’t have any podcasts or music videos.

There are multiple plans available with Amazon Music and sub-plans within each plan. Amazon Music Unlimited is available for individual subscriptions, Prime individual subscriptions, and family subscriptions. There are also Amazon Music Unlimited and Amazon Prime Music. The Single Device plan is great if you want Amazon Music Unlimited only for your Alexa device.

Amazon Music FreeAmazon Music PrimeAmazon Music Unlimited
Individual Plan (non-Prime)
Amazon Music Free
Free
Amazon Music Prime
/
Amazon Music Unlimited
$9.99/month
Prime Individual Plan
Amazon Music Free
/
Amazon Music Prime
Included with your Prime membership
Amazon Music Unlimited
$8.99/month OR $89/year
Family Plan
Amazon Music Free
/
Amazon Music Prime
/
Amazon Music Unlimited
$15.99/month OR $159/year (requires a Prime membership)
Single Device Plan
Amazon Music Free
/
Amazon Music Prime
/
Amazon Music Unlimited
$4.99/month (HD, Ultra HD, and Spatial Audio not available)
Student Plan
Amazon Music Free
/
Amazon Music Prime
/
Amazon Music Unlimited
$5.99/month

Best for music videos: YouTube Music

The history of Google Play Music (GPM) is one of rebranding and confusing crossovers with YouTube. But YouTube Music is one of the better options out there. YouTube Music keeps some useful features people love about Google Play Music — including a large library of music — and the option to upload your own songs to a personal library. YouTube Music is also compatible with compressed lossy files like MP3 and lossless files like FLAC if you’re uploading music. Its advertised streaming quality is 256kpbs (AAC).

YouTube Music Premium
YouTube Music Premium
Google Pixel 3 with the YouTube Music Premium app icon against a blue phone wallpaper.Close-up of the YouTube Music interface,Man holding iPhone 11 Pro with YouTube Music playing.YouTube Music search results on iPhone 11 Pro on top of a black tablePictured is close-up of "song" toggle on YouTube Music in iOSA picture of the Google Pixel 3 with the YouTube Music Premium app open to the home screen. The phone is standing vertically on a black table with a lens and water bottle in the background.A hand holding a Google Pixel 3 with the YouTube Music Premium app open to the search function.
YouTube Music Premium
YouTube Music Premium
Buy now
See review
See review

Google also does a pretty good job of helping you discover new music with playlists based on moods and genres. It isn’t as personalized as what you might get from Spotify, but it’s constantly improving. If you pay for YouTube Music Premium, you can play music with your phone screen locked and download music, something not allowed with the free, ad-enabled version of YouTube Music.

As you might expect, YouTube Music Premium offers expansive video options you won’t find anywhere else. You can enjoy live music performances or covers and add them to your playlists. This is a huge “plus” for YouTube Music if you follow a lot of smaller bands that may not be available on more mainstream music services.

YouTube Music streaming quality tops out at 256kbps over AAC and OPUS.

If you want ad-free YouTube videos on top of ad-free music, we’d recommend getting YouTube Premium rather than YouTube Music Premium. You can download any video directly to your device, whereas YouTube Music Premium limits download functionality to songs and music videos. It’s Google; it’s also easy to get whether you’re on iOS, Android, or just in a browser.

YouTube Music saw significant UI redesigns in 2023 and focused considerably on podcasting. Expectations are high for more generative AI in the discovery experience, with new features like a custom playlist artwork creator.

YouTube Music Premium costs $9.99/month for an individual plan, making it slightly cheaper than Apple Music and Spotify. YouTube Premium demands $11.99/month, and it includes Music Premium. If you’re an avid YouTube consumer, it makes sense to shell out the extra $2/month for YouTube Premium.

The free version of YouTube with ads still exists, of course.

Best for iPhone: Apple Music

Apple Music is one of Spotify’s biggest rivals, and it has plenty of deals with artists and record labels, which usually results in an artist’s newest album being exclusive to the platform for a set amount of time. So, if you wanted to stream “Views” by Drake when it was first released, you needed Apple Music.

Apple Music
Apple Music
Apple Music App on an iPhone X from the frontTwo juxtaposed screenshots of Apple Music vs Spotify Premium Lyrics Search in the mobile apps.Apple Music and Spotify LyricsApple Music vs Spotify on a OnePlus 7 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10e, respectively.Apple Music now playing screenThe Apple Music UI on iPhone X
Apple Music

Regarding quality, Apple Music has expanded into a high-quality music streaming service club and supports 16-bit/44.1kHz, 24-bit/48kHz, and 24-bit/192kHz streaming of ALAC files. iPhone and Android users can enjoy spatial audio through Apple Music with any headphones at no extra cost.

Apple Music is the default streaming service for many, particularly for iPhone owners, and funny enough, the Apple AirPods line can’t take full advantage of the high-res tracks. The AirPods and AirPods Pro stream over Bluetooth only, while the AirPods Max requires a Lightning audio adapter, which loses some data during re-digitization.

Apple Music offers lossless streaming and spatial audio. It recently announced collaborative playlists, which will make it more competitive with Spotify.

Apple Music has plenty going for it, like a vast music library, an excellent music discovery feature, and a simple UI. You can upload your own music and take it anywhere, too.

On June 6, 2023, Apple announced a few changes to Apple Music with iOS 17. Listeners will get a crossfade to transition between tracks and a revamped UI smoothly with full-screen animated artwork for albums. Apple also announced the addition of collaborative playlists, but that won’t be available until a nebulous date of later in 2023 or early 2024.

Best sound quality: Qobuz

Qobuz is the first music streaming service to offer high-resolution audio playback directly through a Sonos speaker. Sonos S2 product streaming quality tops out at 24-bit/48kHz over FLAC files. This is great for anyone who is deeply invested in the Sonos ecosystem. Qobuz isn’t just for Sonos fans, though. It’s an excellent service for everyone, albeit a bit pricier than some of the other options listed.

Qobuz supports a host of audio quality tiers that you can jump from at any time when you’re streaming. It maxes out at 24-bit/192kHz lossless, which is great, but be aware: these files chew through mobile data fast. So it may be best for you to choose a lower quality option when out and about or to download your favorite tracks for offline playback. Plus, you’ll need the appropriate equipment to take full advantage of these files anyway. Prices range from $12.99/month for Studio Solo to $34.98/month for Sublime Family.

Qobuz is a unique music streaming service that's all about music quality and not at all about gimmicks or social features.

Qobuz is not a service for listeners who want social interaction with friends. For that, go to Spotify. Qobuz goes the opposite direction and veers away from the trend of highly personalized music recommendations in favor of broad, editorial playlists that make it easy to stumble onto music you’d otherwise overlook.

One of Qobuz’s most unique features is that it’s both a high-resolution streaming service and a standalone online store where you can purchase high-res music downloads (subscription not required). In that sense, it’s kind of like CD Baby or Bandcamp which let you stream artists’ albums, then buy and download your desired quality.

Is Deezer worth paying for?

Pictured is the Deezer app now playing screen held in hand against blue tile background
The background color of the main “Now Playing” section also changes color depending on the song you’re listening to.

Deezer is an excellent lossless audio streaming service and is one of the first to specialize in high-resolution audio. Deezer Premium costs $10.99/month (320kbps), which grants access to its FLAC library. This fair price is on par with other music streaming services. We like Deezer because it has a vast music and podcast library, similar to Spotify. Deezer’s UI is beautiful, and the custom EQ is a nice addition. It used to support 360 Reality Audio through the Deezer 360 app, but the company discontinued this in October 2022.

Should you get TIDAL HiFi?

A woman holding a Google Pixel 3 with the Tidal HiFi app pulled up.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
The TIDAL user interface is intuitive and slick.

Since the Fall of 2021, TIDAL HiFi has competed with Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited. TIDAL offers three tiers: free, HiFi, and HiFi Plus. HiFi offers lossless music streaming (1411kbps), while Master Quality Authenticated files are limited to HiFi Plus, as well as Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio.

Tidal is one of the more expensive options on the market. You’ll pay $10.99/month for a HiFi membership or $19.99/month for HiFi Plus. There’s also a free tier with ads, and this sound quality maxes out at 160kbps. Signing up for Tidal takes just a few moments, and the ad-supported version doesn’t require any payment method on file.

The best music streaming services: Notable mentions

A hand holds a smartphone with the Spotify app open to a specific artist page.
SoundCloud is a far-reaching music streaming service with plenty to offer, but it can be overwhelming at first.

For starters, these aren’t the only audio streaming services out there. These are just the best. There are also some others, like Pandora and SoundCloud, just to name a few. We included these services in the comparison charts, but they all fall short in one way or another.

For example, SoundCloud does have an on-demand service now called SoundCloud Go+, but its premium music library isn’t the biggest, and a lot of what’s available is user-uploaded content. Again, that’s not to say it’s bad; it’s just specialized. There are plenty of amazing independent musicians who upload great music every day. SoundCloud, however, is great for independent musicians because it’s free to upload your first three hours of music, whereas most of these services charge a fee for any upload. This means that you can find more niche music, including artist demos and covers than you can find on many of these other platforms.

What music streaming service has the best price?

This depends on your needs, but a handful offer free tiers. You can see the table below to see which suits your budget best.

Streaming ServiceFree Model AvailableIndividual PlanDuoFamily PlanStudent PlanMilitary Plan
Streaming Service
Amazon Music Unlimited
Free Model Available
No
Individual Plan
Prime members: $8.99/month
Non-Prime members: $10.99/month
Duo
-
Family Plan
Prime members only: $15.99/month
Student Plan
$5.99/month
Military Plan
-
Streaming Service
Apple Music
Free Model Available
Yes
Individual Plan
$10.99/month
Duo
-
Family Plan
$16.99/month
Student Plan
$5.99/month
Military Plan
-
Streaming Service
Deezer
Free Model Available
Yes
Individual Plan
$10.99/month
Duo
-
Family Plan
$17.99/month
Student Plan
$5.99/month
Military Plan
-
Streaming Service
Pandora
Free Model Available
Yes
Individual Plan
Pandora Premium: $9.99/month
Pandora Plus: $4.99/month
Duo
-
Family Plan
Pandora Premium: $14.99/month
Student Plan
Pandora Premium: $4.99/month
Military Plan
Pandora Premium: $7.99/month
Streaming Service
Qobuz
Free Model Available
No
Individual Plan
Studio: $12.99/month or discounted rate of $129.96/year
Sublime: $15/month
Duo
Studio Duo: $17.99/month or discounted rate of 179.88/year
Sublime Duo: $22.49/month
Family Plan
Studio Family: $21.90/month or discounted rate of $215.88/year
Sublime Family: $29.17/month
Student Plan
-
Military Plan
-
Streaming Service
SoundCloud
Free Model Available
Yes
Individual Plan
Go: $4.99/month
Go+: $9.99/month
Duo
-
Family Plan
-
Student Plan
Go+: $4.99/month
Military Plan
-
Streaming Service
Spotify
Free Model Available
Yes
Individual Plan
$9.99/month
Duo
$12.99/month
Family Plan
$15.99/month
Student Plan
$4.99/month (includes Hulu)
Military Plan
-
Streaming Service
Tidal
Free Model Available
Yes
Individual Plan
HiFi: $9.99/month
HiFi Plus: $19.99/month
Duo
-
Family Plan
HiFi: $14.99/month
HiFi Plus: $29.99/month
Student Plan
HiFi: $4.99/month
HiFi Plus: $9.99/month
Military Plan
HiFi: $5.99
HiFi Plus: $11.99
(Also applies to first responders)
Streaming Service
YouTube Music
Free Model Available
Yes
Individual Plan
$9.99/month
Duo
-
Family Plan
$14.99/month
Student Plan
$4.99/month
Military Plan
-

If you don’t want to spend any money, it might be good to hear that you don’t have to. Most streaming services have a free model that lets you listen to music with varying levels of control. Just be prepared for ads. Lots of them. They have to make money somehow, right? Some services, like Spotify and Pandora, play a station on shuffle with ads dispersed in between. Spotify beefed up its free model to include a few of its most popular playlists.

What you should know about the best music streaming services

Close-up shot of the recommended playlists on Spotify and YouTube Music on two phones on a magazine
Most services do a good job of recommending new music once they get to know your listening habits.

When shopping around for your next music subscription, you’ll want to bear in mind many factors. A common question we get is whether a service supports local music libraries. Many don’t, but some do. You can use Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music to play local media, but others like TIDAL or Pandora don’t support this feature. It’s worth noting that Amazon used to have this option but got rid of it.

Another thing to consider is whether or not your potential music streaming service offers an in-app EQ to adjust the sound. Some options have very basic equalizers like Spotify, while others (i.e., Apple Music) offer just EQ presets. If you want to take things a step further, you may need to experiment with a third-party EQ app.

Read on to learn more about your next potential service.

What bit rate does each music streaming service offer?

Streaming ServiceMax streaming qualitySupported FormatsSpatial audio option
Streaming Service
Qobuz
Max streaming quality
24bit / 192kHz
Supported Formats
AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, WAV, WMA Lossless
Spatial audio option
No
Streaming Service
Amazon Music Unlimited
Max streaming quality
24bit / 192kHz
Supported Formats
FLAC, MP3
Spatial audio option
Yes
Streaming Service
Tidal HiFi Plus
Max streaming quality
24bit / 192kHz
Supported Formats
AAC, ALAC, FLAC, MQA
Spatial audio option
Yes
Streaming Service
Deezer HiFi
Max streaming quality
16bit / 44.1kHz
Supported Formats
FLAC
Spatial audio option
No
Streaming Service
Spotify Premium
Max streaming quality
320kbps
Supported Formats
AAC, Ogg Vorbis
Spatial audio option
No
Streaming Service
Apple Music
Max streaming quality
24bit / 192kHz
Supported Formats
AAC, ALAC
Spatial audio option
Yes
Streaming Service
YouTube Music Premium
Max streaming quality
256kbps
Supported Formats
AAC, OPUS
Spatial audio option
No
Streaming Service
SoundCloud Go+
Max streaming quality
256kbps
Supported Formats
AAC
Spatial audio option
No
Streaming Service
Slacker Radio
Max streaming quality
320kbps
Supported Formats
MP3
Spatial audio option
No
Streaming Service
Pandora
Max streaming quality
192kbps
Supported Formats
AAC
Spatial audio option
No
Streaming Service
Spotify Free
Max streaming quality
160kbps
Supported Formats
AAC
Spatial audio option
No
Streaming Service
Deezer Free
Max streaming quality
128kbps
Supported Formats
MP3
Spatial audio option
No

What’s the difference between MP3 and FLAC?

A photo of a man holding the Apple iPhone SE, with the screen on.
The good news your iPhone will playback FLAC files, but you’ll need an older model with a headphone jack to get the most out of them.

So when it comes to audio formats, it’s hard to really know what means what, especially if this is your first time hearing about such things.

MP3 is a compressed or “lossy” file and uses clever tricks to delete information that humans shouldn’t be able to hear. It does this with algorithms that delete bits of data at, for example, really high frequencies. It also deletes frequencies that are right next to each other since the human brain can’t differentiate between them. By deleting this information that’s technically inaudible, it’s able to make the overall file much smaller, which is perfect for streaming. But it’s still deleting data. The benefits of MP3 are all in its size. The files are so small that you won’t need super-fast internet speeds to stream your music.

Deezer and Spotify apps side by side on two smartphones
Deezer and Spotify both have special features, but only Deezer supports high-bitrate streaming.

But that convenience can sacrifice quality. If you want the full quality file with no data cut out, lossless files like FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) and WAV (Waveform Audio File Format) come into play. The problem is these are larger files, so they aren’t ideal for mobile, especially if you’re worried about data usage.

Not all smartphones will be able to stream the optimal mobile quality. For example, we contacted a Qobuz representative about the maximum bitrate for smartphone streaming. We were informed that smartphones with a proper DAC can reach Qobuz’s maximum bitrate (24bit/192kHz), but some smartphones are limited to 16-bit CD quality for streaming. In that instance, you may need an external DAC.

What’s the best way to find new music?

A picture of Pandora vs Spotify music streaming services playing now function on smartphones next to one another.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
Spotify and Pandora are among the best services for music discovery.

With more music that you could listen to in a lifetime, finding songs that you like can be difficult. So, part of what makes streaming companies so successful is the ease with which their users can find new music that they actually like. With some services, like Spotify and Pandora, for example, you can start a “radio.” So, after listening to a song you picked, the service will continue to play songs by similar artists or in a similar genre. Other services, like Apple Music, take it further with a more traditional approach. One of Apple Music’s main features is a live internet radio with popular DJs doing what they do best: playing a mix of new and popular music.

Of course, the radio function in any of these services isn’t always enough to find new music, so we recommend you bust out of your comfort zone and hunt for new music using more than an automated feature. We feel like it’s really the only way to ensure you get the most out of your subscription.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

Each writer at SoundGuys has accumulated years of experience reporting on the consumer audio market, and our staff adheres to a strict ethics policy. We don’t use sponsored content on the website at a time when doing so is the norm. SoundGuys’ survival depends almost exclusively on readers enjoying their purchases. We pride ourselves on transparently outlining objective facts while accounting for the subjective experience to contextualize an audio product’s performance. When we do misspeak, we correct and own up to it.

Frequently asked questions about the best audio streaming services

On February 22, 2021, Spotify announced a new tier to its powerhouse streaming service: Spotify HiFi. The release date is still on the horizon, but we anticipate it will roll out with spatial audio and an increased price when the time comes.

Google Play Music (GPM) was good, really good, but it’s no longer available. However, it had a few fatal flaws when it came to listening that most probably wouldn’t want to put up. Namely, while it could play back user-uploaded content, it was incapable of maintaining the original bitrate/sample rate. Instead, it converted to the usual 320kbps if you’re uploading FLAC or WAV files. This could not be changed. No matter what, you were stuck at your normal listening quality or, worse, signal strength depending.

Beyond that, Google Play Music is an excellent music streaming platform if you want to be able to upload your own music and not think too much about janitoring your music library or playlists. Unfortunately, it’s now defunct and has been succeeded by YouTube Music.

Transferring music playlists from one service to another is surprisingly easy! We have guides for multiple transfer types, and each process is nearly identical:

As fellow Canadians, Chris and Sam can commiserate. But it looks like Deezer actually has the HiFi listening you’re looking for. It also has a library of 360 Reality Audio tracks too, if you have the Sony app.

As of June 7, 2021, Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos is available to Apple Music users. This is a feature that mimics the effects of surround sound and provides a 3D audio experience. Any Apple listening device, such as the Apple AirPods Max or an iPhone 12 Pro, will automatically play supported songs in the Dolby Atmos format. Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos is available to any Apple Music subscriber at no additional cost. Compatible songs will be clearly labeled on the Apple Music interface, and Apple plans to create playlists of Dolby Atmos content to make it easy for users to find.

Yes! TIDAL partners with Tune My Music and Soundiiz, which makes it extremely easy to transfer playlists from other streaming services to TIDAL.

Yes, so long as the artist has registered their lyrics to their song if you type the lyrics into the search bar, the song should come up.

All of them display the lyrics of songs, but not for every single song. An artist has to register their song lyrics in order for them to be displayed.

Spotify is one of the best podcast apps because it has quite a few exclusive podcasts that you can’t find anywhere else. In addition, while Apple Music doesn’t have podcasts, Apple Podcasts is another app that comes with your iPhone, and it is great for those of you who are already familiar with the iOS interface.

Qobuz pays artists the most per stream, but TIDAL has a program called TIDAL Rising which is great for supporting up-and-coming artists. TIDAL selects artists who are gaining popularity and offers them promotional material on TIDAL, professional photographing sessions, financial support for touring, and more. By using TIDAL, you directly and indirectly support TIDAL Rising artists.