The Best Alternatives to Spotify for Streaming Music

Image: <a class="link " href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Spotify;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas">Spotify</a>
Image: Spotify

Things have been rough for Spotify. There was anti-vaccine misinformation prominently featured on a Joe Rogan podcast on the app, which garnered quite a lot of criticism, and earlier this month, it also once again raised its prices. The famous music streaming app is also notorious for being anti-artist by severely underpaying them.

If you want to switch to a more ethical streaming service or simply want to explore other options, we’ve curated a list of the best music streaming apps. All of these have one strong selling point, so you can make a decision based on what you value the most.

Best Music Streaming App for Apple Devices — Apple Music

Image: Los Angeles Times
Image: Los Angeles Times

This one should be a no-brainer for Apple users. Apple Music is an excellent option if you want seamless integration across all your Apple devices and high-quality lossless audio. Its curated playlists are another reason why people are inclined towards it. Apparently, you get over 30,000 expert-curated playlists. You also get spatial audio with Dolby Atmos and voice assistance with Siri.

For a completely ad-free experience, you’re required to pay $11 a month. You can also use your student privileges to pay $6 monthly or get your family in on it and pay $17 a month. With the family package, you get unlimited access for up to six people and personalized music libraries and recommendations for each family member.

Also, all new subscribers get a free one-month trial, so you can check it out and see if the service is worth those $11.

Best Music Streaming App for High Quality Audio — Tidal

Image: Tidal
Image: Tidal

This is the music app for audiophiles. Tidal claims it offers the best sound quality on a music streaming app and a “listening experience that’s exactly as the artist intended.” Sound engineers on Reddit attest to this.

Regardless of the tier, all current Tidal plans feature Max sound quality formats such as full lossless, HiRes FLAC, and Dolby Atmos (up to 24-bit, 192 kHz).

Users are also into how detailed the music creditation on Tidal is with proper attribution to “anyone who has ever touched the song.” Apparently, the app also compensates artists much better compared to competitor music streaming platforms.

For ad-free, offline listening on Tidal, you pay $11 a month or $5 if you’re a student. The family package costs $17 and provides individual accounts for up to six members.

Another Best Music Streaming App for High Quality Audio — Deezer

Image: Deezer
Image: Deezer

Think of Deezer as a slightly more expensive Tidal. In terms of audio quality, Deezer and Tidal are often mentioned in the same breath. Deezer also promises high-fidelity lossless audio targeting consumers who are serious about music.

There are a bunch of other cool features on this app, though. The Shaker feature allows you to create collaborative playlists with your friends by gathering their top favorite songs. What’s cool is that these friends don’t have to be on Deezer. The app allows cross-platform collaboration with your Spotify friends, too.

Flow is another famous Deezer feature that creates AI-generated playlists for you based on your mood or music style. The app also offers a built-in Shazam called SongCatcher that can recognize the song playing around you.

Deezer costs $12 a month, $6 for students, and $20 for families with up to six members. You can also sign up for a Duo account for $16 a month.

Best Music Streaming App for Amazon Prime Members — Amazon Music

Image: Amazon
Image: Amazon

If you already pay for Amazon Prime every month, you might as well use Amazon Music and make your subscription fees worthwhile.

The service offers ad-free music, but it promises “the most ad-free” experience for podcasts. There’s a dedicated Amazon Music app, and the catalog has recently expanded from two million to over a hundred million songs.

Remember that this is just a Prime member perk you could explore. It will certainly not offer the best-in-class audio. For spatial audio, you should look up Amazon Music Unlimited.

Prime membership costs $15 a month and $7.50 for students.

Best Music Streaming App for a Huge Music Library — YouTube Music

Image: iMore
Image: iMore

YouTube Music is most praised for its vast library. If you want a wide collection and not come across +your favorite songs suddenly greyed out (looking at you, Spotify), this is the streaming service for that. It’s also a decent option for a complete audio-visual experience, though it’s not the only app that does music videos. Tidal and Apple Music lets you watch video content, too.

YouTube Music offers an ad-free and offline experience, and you can thankfully enjoy music with your screen off, unlike the annoying YouTube app. If you ever want audio only, a toggle switch turns the video off.

YouTube Music costs $11 a month and $5.50 for students. Its family package is $17 and accommodates up to five members.

Best Music Streaming App for Indie Songs — SoundCloud

Image: Medium
Image: Medium

SoundCloud is best known for promoting indie artists. It’s the best app for remixes or discovering non-mainstream songs. It also offers wide compatibility—Web, iOS, Android, Sonos, Chromecast, and Xbox One.

Though the most basic SoundCloud tier is free, you can sign up for SoundCloud Go for $5 a month if you want an ad-free and offline listening experience. SoundCloud Go+ is another paid tier that costs $10, offers high-quality audio, and allocates some of your contribution to fan-powered royalties.

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