When it comes to entertainment—movies, TV, music—immediacy is almost as important as artistic merit. We binge our favorite shows in one sitting, watch movies On Demand before they’re released in theaters, and carry our favorite jams with us in our pockets—literally.
Streaming music has become widely popular because you can stream full-length content through the internet without purchasing a file for download. You can also get access to thousands (yes, thousands) of online music databases for a small fee every month. So, when it comes to paying for music streaming service, the question is: Which provider is worth shelling out your hard-earned cash? And which service gives you the most bang for your buck?
The answers vary. All major streaming services have their pros and cons, and they all target the music-loving public in different ways. Let’s take a look at five of the most popular providers, highlight their differences, and see if we can pick a clear winner.
With a killer price tag of just $10 a month (or $15 a month for a six-person family plan), Apple Music doesn’t take customer loyalty for granted. That’s why they’re working to earn your trust by offering a three-month free trial and allowing users to download albums onto their smart devices for offline playback when internet access isn’t available. To take it one step further, they also provide access to music videos and a radio option. Better yet, there are exclusives only available to listen to through Apple Music, with popular albums like Taylor Swift’s “1989” and Drake’s “Views.”
With both ad-supported and unlimited streaming options, Spotify allows users to try their services for free as long as they need to until they want to buy. Once you decide to commit, the service is a mere $10 a month and $5 a month for every extra person added to the account. The monthly service charge is where Apple has Spotify beat. Spotify does not offer music videos either, but their service is a fan favorite because it provides a vast music data archive and is reliable. With their “My Faves Weekly” playlist option, you can subscribe to 30 different songs every Monday all tailored to your tastes and based on your preferences.
Boasting a 50,000 song locker, Google Play offers a 30-day trial including their radio service. Unlimited streaming access will cost you $10 a month and gives you access to music videos on YouTube without any ads. The downside is that users are required to provide a credit card for the free trial and there is no iOS version of the app.
Amazon Prime Music
While this streaming service is included with your Amazon Prime membership (for the price of $99 a year) and you can try it out with a 30-day free trial of Prime, the library consists of only one million songs—as compared to all other streaming services library catalogs of at least 30 million. Amazon does offer offline playback, music videos, and a radio option, though, as well as all the bells and whistles that come with an Amazon Prime membership.
As the 56 million dollar investment of Jay-Z, Tidal is known as being the exclusive premier provider of Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and Kanye West’s “Life of Pablo”, and offers the complete catalog of Prince, who refused to allow YouTube any access to his music before his tragic passing. Artists and songwriters receive more royalties through Tidal. For the cost of $10 a month or $20 a month for the highest bit rate lossless audio (CD-like quality) available through streaming. Tidal is a FLAC streaming service, which explains the high quality of sound, whereas other providers lose quality when they compress tracks into MP3 format.
While each music streaming service has their unique contributions, the most important thing is that users are able to choose their experience and have access to multiple options. With Frontier’s fiber-optic internet now available in more areas, music streaming is better than ever before, with less buffering and more speed. Click here to learn more about FiOS Internet from Frontier.