As more and more competitors get into the music streaming industry, many of today's music lovers are wondering which service to turn to. With the introduction of Deezer into the US markets, people are still wondering should I be using Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited or even another service altogether?

With access to more than 10 million songs on each service, music lovers are used to creating playlists, sharing music, and streaming songs throughout the day.

In this article, we'll break down the pros and cons of the most popular music streaming services so that you can select the streaming service that fits your needs the best.

Apple Music

Apple Music is a music and video streaming service that was developed by Apple. Apple Music first hit the market on June 30th, 2015 and has since grown to become one of the most important streaming services within the United States. Apple's Apple Music gives listeners access to more than 45 million songs. It also comes with a three month free trial on iPhones, which has helped Apple Music grow to 30 million subscribers. Accompanied with Apple's other products is another one of Apple Music's strong points. The HomePod now has the option to sync Apple Music with this smart home device.

Apple Music Sound Quality

The tracks sound great on Apple Music as they stream at 256kbps AAC. This is a lower bitrate than Spotify, but a less lossy codec.

Apple Music Cost

Apple Music is at the same price level of Spotify, but Apple Music currently has no free option. Apple Music costs $9.99 per month, while the student plan costs $4.99, and the family plan costs $14.99 with the ability to link up to six accounts for Apple Music listening.

Apple Music Review

Apple Music is one of the best streaming services around and with its 3-month free trial can be cheaper of the premium paid options.


Spotify

Spotify is a music, podcast, and video streaming service that was launched on October 7, 2009. The music streaming giant was developed in Stockholm, Sweden and was later introduced in the United States back on July of 2011. Spotify is one of the most well-known music streaming services in the world with a collection of 35 million songs. As it has compiled more than 70 million paid-subscribers worldwide, more than 140 million users use Spotify around the world in total.

Spotify Sound Quality

The tracks sound great on Spotify as they stream at 160kbps for default streaming quality. The “high quality streaming option” allows users to stream up to 320kbps.

Spotify Cost

Spotify has the free option with unlimited songs and shuffle play, but advertisements will be introduced with fewer skipping capabilities and the inability to download songs for offline use. The Spotify Premium plan costs $9.99 per month, the student plan costs $4.99, and the family plan costs $14.99 for up to five premium members linked to one main account.

Spotify Review

Spotify is one of the most popular streaming services in the world for good reason. With its ability to stream up to 320kbps, this is far better streaming quality than that of Apple Music. Spotify also has the ability to stream music on its website, while Apple Music is reserved for just its apps. Currently Apple Music is not compatible with Chromebooks unless the user does some workarounds. On the other hand, Spotify is fully compatible with Chromebooks and web products.


Amazon Music Unlimited

Amazon Music Unlimited is the rival to both Apple Music and Spotify. Back in December of 2017, Amazon announced its expansion into 28 additional countries.

Apple Music Unlimited vs. Amazon Prime Music

Amazon currently offers two music services, and the differences prove the different prices you pay. Prime Music is free for prime subscribers and is a neat freebie for having a Prime membership, but Amazon Music Unlimited is $7.99 for Prime members or $9.99 per month without Prime. Prime Music has a much smaller collection of songs with only 2 million songs to choose from, while Music Unlimited offers in excess of tens of million different songs to choose from.

Alexa Integration

While most music streaming services now work with Alexa and the Amazon Echo, Amazon offers cheaper plans for users that only wish to have Alexa streaming capabilities.

Amazon Music Unlimited Sound Quality

The tracks sound good on Music Unlimited as they stream at 256 Kbps bitrate.

Amazon Music Unlimited Cost

Music Unlimited is currently $7.99 for Prime members, $9.99 for non-Prime members, and only $3.99 for Echo-only streaming.

Amazon Music Unlimited Review

Amazon's Music Unlimited is a good streaming service, but currently less favorable than both its rivals, Apple Music and Spotify. With about tens of millions of songs to choose from, Music Unlimited has roughly 1/2 of the total songs that both Spotify and Apple Music have. Music Unlimited does make the most amount of sense though for Amazon Echo users that only tend to stream music from their house on an Alexa-powered device. At $3.99 per month, the total annual fee will be $72 cheaper than both Spotify and Apple Music subscriptions.


Apple Music vs. Spotify

Currently Apple Music and Spotify are the two biggest streaming music services in the world. The Swedish streaming startup has won over users with its free options, while Apple has made its way into the market due to the success of iTunes transforming the music industry many years ago.

Spotify now has 70-million paying subscribers while Apple Music lags behind with about half that. What's the difference between Apple Music and Spotify? Spotify's deep-learning algorithms create personalized playlists for the user's best listening experience. Some of Spotify's most popular features include things like Discover Weekly which puts together a playlist of new and old music that you love, as well as songs from artists you like that you may have missed, and the year end total of your favorite songs from the past year.

Apple Music on the other hand has loads of favorites including the ability to connect with Apple-compatible products such as CarPlay, the Apple Watch, AirPods, iPhones, and even Apple's new HomePod smartspeaker. It also features Beats 1 radio which can be used with Siri to create voice-activated playlists.


The Best Music Streaming Service Comparison

 Apple MusicSpotifyAmazon Music Unlimited
Price$9.99$9.99$7.99 (for Prime members)
Free PlanNoYesNo
Family Plan$149/year$179.88/year$179.88/year ($79 with Prime)
Echo-Only PlanN/AN/A$4.99
Student Plan$4.99 (in select countries)$4.99N/A
Quality256kbps AAC320 kbps256Kbps
Chromebook CompatibleNoYesYes
Overall RatingAA+A-