If you’re looking for the best music streaming services in 2023 or looking to compare services (e.g., Amazon Music vs. Spotify), we’ve got everything covered.
We have a full list of music streaming services ranked that go beyond a top 5 and a top 10.
We cover free music streaming services, as well as more niched-down services (e.g., classical streaming services), quality (hi res) music streaming services, and those that would be good for entire families to enjoy.
Best Music Streaming Services Overview
Music streaming services are massively popular these days, and for good reason: they make it easy to hear your favorite tracks and discover new music at little or no cost (if you can put up with ads).
Whether you’re an Apple Music subscriber, a Spotify user, or you use another service entirely – like Tidal or Google Play Music – chances are that the music subscription platform has become a part of your daily routine.
Even our playlists revolve around subscribing to services such as Apple Music. If you’re looking for the best music streaming services, this article covers what you need to know.
Amazon Music vs. Spotify
Most consumers are looking for one service when it comes to music. It’s convenient to have all your music in one place, whereas consumers are a bit more open to having multiple streaming services when it comes to movies and their favorite TV shows and series.
Amazon Music vs. Spotify is a popular debate in the music streaming community.
Even though popular music streaming services such as Apple Music and Tidal have their fans, there are more than a few people who just want to sign up for one platform that offers everything they need.
If you fall into this category, you might be wondering: how do Amazon Music and Spotify compare?
The answer to this question is complicated. Music streaming services can be broken down into categories based on various factors, a common one being the price-performance ratio.
Amazon Music vs. Spotify On Price
It’s easier to discuss Amazon Music vs. Spotify if you divide them by their price tags: free and paid versions.
The ad-supported version of Amazon Music allows you to play music through the online store Music app or download it for offline play via the Music Library tab (previously Cloud Player).
It also gives users unlimited skips, replays, and downloads – but there are ads everywhere in between songs (like commercial breaks). Free users will receive ads every 15 minutes or so; fortunately, they’re muted automatically when playback starts.
Spotify’s free version also has several restrictions, one of which is a radio-like song playback.
For the most part, you’ll need to have Spotify Premium to enjoy on-demand music streaming from artists and albums that aren’t related to playlists. In addition, the free version only offers limited song skips for mobile users – just six per hour on mobile devices and 12 per hour on desktops.
Amazon Music vs. Spotify On Music
When it comes to music selection, Amazon Music vs. Spotify is a mixed bag.
While there are numerous exclusives available on each service (including some libraries), they both excel when it comes to mainstream availability of albums and songs.
For example, Tidal once exclusively featured Beyonce’s Lemonade, while Amazon Music has Fleetwood Mac albums not available on Spotify.
At the same time, if you’re looking for more obscure artists and their entire discographies, both Spotify and Amazon Music are great choices.
You can even find family-friendly music that kids of all ages will enjoy – just search for “kid songs” or something similar to narrow down your options.
Amazon Music vs. Spotify: Final Word
When it comes to Amazon Music vs. Spotify, the best choice is going to depend on what you’re looking for in a music streaming platform – and whether or not it fits into your current ecosystem.
For example, if you have a large library of MP3s that you own personally or that was purchased from Apple Music, don’t delete them from iTunes Music until you’ve migrated them all to Spotify.
On the other hand, if there’s a specific album available only on Tidal, don’t get rid of Google Play Music quite yet because it will show up eventually (if not right away).
Apple Music: For Apple fans & All music fans
Apple Music is a great choice if you’re an iOS user and like Apple Music’s exclusive content.
The service also works well with Siri – making it easy to order music and start playback using only your voice.
Amazon Unlimited: Best for Prime members
Amazon Unlimited is the best music streaming service for Prime members. It features almost anything you can think of when it comes to mainstream songs, albums, artists, and playlists.
Amazon Music has over 40 million songs in its catalog – allowing users to listen to their favorite radio stations.
The service also works well with Amazon’s latest devices (like the Echo Show) because you can wake up your speaker by telling Alexa to play your favorite music. Plus, there are hundreds of customizable radio stations that you can stream on-demand using Alexa.
As for offline audio playback, Prime members receive an ad-free experience while non-members will be forced to put up with ads every few minutes or so – just like Spotify’s free version.
You’ll get an hour of offline playback for each track you add to your Music Library – so you can relax and enjoy a full audiobook or hour-long podcast without having to worry about ads interrupting the experience.
Amazon Music Unlimited: Music & All other entertainment options
If Amazon Music Unlimited vs. Spotify is a tough battle, Amazon Music vs. Apple Music vs. Tidal is not even close – unless you own an Android device.
In that case, Google Play Music offers unlimited ad-supported music streaming with video content from YouTube Red included for free (after a 30-day trial).
Apple Music doesn’t allow users to add songs from their personal library to their mobile devices for offline playback. But it does offer superior parental controls when compared with Amazon Music Unlimited’s web player and Alexa voice commands.
For those who plan on getting an Android device soon is that all mobile devices have access to Google Play Music – so it might be a better choice if you want a streaming service that comes with your post-paid phone.
Spotify: For everyone else
Spotify has more than 30 million songs available for playback and download – which should be enough to cover the musical tastes of most folks.
It also works well with Alexa and can play music from your personal library using Music Library tracks only (no shared tracks).
Best Music Streaming Services in 2023
Let’s take a look at the best music streaming services.
Spotify is the best music streaming service on the market as a whole, and is the best fit for most people.
It’s not only easy to use, but it has both Music Library tracks and shared Spotify tracks. Music Library tracks are only available for your account, while shared Spotify tracks can be played by anyone with access to the file you shared.
Spotify also comes with top-notch parental controls, something that very few music streaming services do – especially ones that are free.
With Spotify, parents can set limits on how their kids listen to music through the service based on explicit content, user-generated content (UGC), age-appropriate content.
Combined with high audio quality across all devices and platforms supported by Spotify this makes for an incredible experience from start to finish regardless of where you are or what device you’re using to listen.
Deezer is one of the biggest music streaming services in the world, and for good reason.
Deezer also features personalized recommendations, curated playlists from recognized artists, and a fantastic discovery experience through its Related Tracks feature.
If you’re not sure what to listen to next, just hit the “Related Tracks” option at the bottom of any album or playlist and let Deezer’s algorithm do all the work for you!
#3 YouTube Music
YouTube Music is a relatively new Music streaming service, and it’s worth trying out for its powerful search functionality.
Music Library tracks can be played back on your account or shared to other people just like with YouTube Music Premium – which is great for those who don’t want to listen to the generic ads that come standard with a free Music streaming service.
YouTube Music’s recommendations are also great.
If your playlist is on its last song, you won’t have to reach into your pocket to fiddle around.
It’ll take what you already like and deliver you songs that are like those.
#4 Pandora & Pandora Premium
Pandora is music discovery at its finest. It has Music Library tracks that are also available for your account, along with Music Library tracks that are available for everyone to listen to.
Pandora is absolutely worth checking out if you’re in the mood for something different – even if it’s just a few songs or hours at a time.
Qobuz’s Music Library features are outstanding; it has over 70 million songs available for download and listening back-to-back.
Enjoy your favorite Albums with High-Quality Sound (considered one of the space’s leaders in hi-res). Comes with a 1-month free trial.
Tidal HiFi Plus is one of the most expensive of all services, and it offers hi-res and Dolby Atmos mixes to add to its quality.
Tidal’s main talking point has been that its higher subscription price means better payouts/compensation to artists.
#7 Amazon Music Unlimited
The newest entrant into the music streaming game is Amazon Music Unlimited – an Alexa-powered platform that finally gives the Amazon Music vs. Tidal debate some purpose.
It’s not quite as well-rounded as Spotify Music Library, though is great for anyone with an Amazon Prime account.
Spotify Music’s recommendations rely on the amount of data that the app has collected about you; as such, those who use it may be missing out on some good recommendations – if Spotify doesn’t know very much about you, Music Unlimited may end up predicting things better for your listening taste.
#8 Google Play Music
Google Play Music is included on the list because it’s an excellent service despite being owned by one of Google’s greatest rivals – Apple.
Google Play Music has a free and premium version; both versions offer ad-supported radio stations and personal playlists, while only the paid version offers download functionality and full Library access (including Music Library tracks).
Music Library tracks can be played back on your account or shared to other people just like with YouTube Music Premium – which is great for those who don’t want to listen to the generic ads that come standard with a Music streaming service.
YouTube insights on the best music streaming platforms
These YouTube creators shed insight on what they think are the best music streaming apps and services:
The best hi-res music streaming apps
What’s the best music streaming service? Sound quality compared
Streaming radio vs. On-demand
Some music fans like streaming radio whereas others prefer on-demand.
Streaming radio allows you to pick a niche and have the music automatically delivered to you at the station’s discretion.
The advantage is that it’s hands-off. The disadvantage is that you might be served music you’re not that into.
On-demand enables you to pick and choose exactly what you like, but it’s more of a hands-on approach.
If you use an on-demand service, there’s no telling what order your songs will be served in.
You can’t guarantee which song is going to be next, or how long it will take the tracks that really resonate with you to get delivered.
Also, some tracks are not available for on-demand listening. This applies especially to rare music.
It might become frustrating when you know exactly what song you want to listen to – but you’ll have to wait for one of the automated playlists serving up popular music at random intervals instead.
Music catalog sizes compared
If you’re always on the look for your favorite new band, a streaming service like Spotify or Tidal is probably a good fit.
Users who already kind of know what they want will be satisfied with the smaller music catalogs provided by Amazon Music Unlimited or Pandora.
Apple Music is about the middle of the pack, providing a mix of mainstream and Top 40 tunes with plenty of unknown and emerging artists as well.
How do you swap between music services?
Swapping music services is very simple – depending on which devices you own and how many Music streaming services you use; however, the process might be a bit more difficult than others.
The first thing to remember is that Music Library tracks can only be used with your account: if Music Library tracks are available for everyone to listen to, they’re not available for your account.
In order to switch from Music Library tracks from one Music streaming service’s library to another, download the files onto your hard drive as local files (just like any other file) and then delete it from within your Music Library app or platform of choice.
Don’t worry about deleting them from Music Library platforms – those will always remain there until you go in and manually delete them yourself.
To make Music Library tracks available on your account but still keep them segregated, you need to rename the new Music Library track with a different file extension (.m4p for Music purchased from iTunes or Apple Music, .mp3 for Music purchased from Google Play Music).
This will allow both Music Library tracks to be stored under your profile while still remaining separate.
It’s also important to note that not every platform supports Music streaming services; if you’re using an unsupported Music streaming service, playback protected music files in a third-party program and then download them locally.
Playback limitations do NOT apply when you have a paid subscription or even just a trial offer. Just because there are restrictions in place, Music streaming services doesn’t mean you can only play music streaming services with the platform’s Music Library.
Do I need spatial or Atmos audio?
Spatial and Atmos audio are an optional Music streaming services that you should only get if your Music Library platform supports them.
The number of music streaming services with spatial or Atmos audio is still pretty low. Spotify Music has started to include this for its “Premium” subscribers, but the list of Music streaming services without this feature is much longer than the music streaming services with it.
If at all possible, avoid getting Music streaming services that do not support spatial or Atmos audio; if that’s something you can’t afford (or don’t want), then make sure you’re getting good feedback on the Music Library tracks’ sound quality instead.
Never rely on just reading reviews; always check out how their music sounds by checking out some samples before buying Music Library tracks or a music streaming service that has spatial or Atmos audio.
Do I need Music Library tracks?
Music Library tracks are Music streaming services that you can use to play Music stored on your Music Library platform of choice.
The best Music Library tracks will bring you the best possible sound quality for your Music library; however, this is not always the case.
Music streamed from Music Library platforms are typically compressed at 96 kHz / 24-bit (CD standard) to 320 kbps (or 256 kbps AAC).
This means they’re lossy – like MP3s – but better than most MP3s out there.
The problem with these Music streaming services is the quality of Music Library tracks you get for your Music library; most of them are lossy at best when it comes to their superior audio quality.
However, the best solution when using Music Library platforms in this way is to download high-quality FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) music and then download it locally in order to preserve its sound quality.
This allows for truly high-quality audio even if you’re only getting access to compressed audio files from your Music Library platform without compression-like MP3s or AACs.
Which Music Library platforms provide Music Library tracks?
Music Library tracks can be found on different Music streaming services like Google Play Music, Microsoft Groove Music, and Tidal.
Most Music Library platforms charge you by the track; however, some of them also include a number of free Music Library tracks per month.
Music Library tracks are part of a subscriber’s Music library, not a separate folder that belongs to an individual user on a Music streaming service.
This means they won’t count against your storage limit if they’re only being used on one account – even if it’s across multiple devices – but you can use up all your available storage space as long as the total number is under your allowance for Music streaming service Music Library tracks or Music Library tracks that are included in the streaming service.
What’s the difference between Music Library tracks and Music Library?
Music Library tracks are Music streaming services you have access to for a monthly Music subscription fee, but only one Music library can be created per user account on each platform.
This means you’ll have to pay extra if you want to buy Music library music from more than one Music library at any given time – so they’re best reserved for people who use only one Music library platform all the time.
Music Library is essentially a data storage space that allows users to keep their entire collection of Music, whether it’s songs they own songs they’ve purchased through a Music Library platform or both.
Music lockers: Music delivered in the cloud
Music lockers allow Music streaming service Music library tracks to be stored in Music lockers that are accessible from Music Library platforms.
If you’re into Music streaming services like Apple Music, Google Play Music, and others – they will only give you access to Music Library tracks once you figure out how to get them on your computer.
This is fairly simple; however, most Music players won’t play Music Library tracks for legal reasons.
There are also Music piracy issues to think about, which means it might not be a great idea for someone who enjoys torrenting their favorite TV shows and movies.
Do Music Library tracks need to be downloaded?
It’s important that Music Library tracks are Music library tracks; this means they’re always available for playback, even without an internet connection.
The good news is that Music Library tracks don’t need to be downloaded in order to work properly on your Music player or Music streaming service, so you can keep them stored online if you want to be able to access Music Library tracks via a Music streaming service Music Library tracks.
Although Music Libraries are always available, Music Library platforms do require an internet connection in order for Music library users to upload or download their Music library music.
If you’re using Apple Music, Google Play Music or another one of these types of Music Library platforms that focuses on the quality of its soundtracks (but still doesn’t provide much in terms of visual content when it comes to looking at album covers or other visuals involved with the music itself), downloading Music library tracks is probably something your computer can handle.
However, if you use Spotify, Tidal or one of these alternative Music Library platforms that offer not only high-quality soundtracks but Music library artwork as well – Music Library tracks can take up a considerable amount of your hard drive.