Music streaming apps were chosen in the previous decade according to their selective song libraries. Kanye West used to stream his latest online music solely on Tidal, and fans of his music would gravitate more toward that streaming service. So, if, by chance, Kanye West’s fans also liked Taylor Swift, they would have to buy a new music streaming app because she only used to upload on Apple Music. And people would have to go through the hassle of purchasing various memberships and installing many apps. However, now it has increasingly become harder to differentiate between them as most music streaming apps carry similar catalogs.
All the music streaming sites have the latest albums and playlists because of the competition to release the same music simultaneously. Hence, Finding new music is child’s play. All of this can be overwhelming, which begs the question, what’s the best music streaming app?
Five Best Music Streaming Apps
The main factors that separate them from one another are the ingenuity of their user interface—whether the quality of music suggested was based on algorithms or human intervention, or how well an app runs on mobile and desktop, sound quality, and most importantly, which app is best suited for your journey of music discovery. Moreover, their price points matter greatly, but most offer free tiers. This is why we thoroughly explored music streaming services, and here are our top picks.
Spotify has the most advanced music streaming services compared to other music streaming apps, including the smoothest and most accessible user interface. They have a brilliant music discovery algorithm that is unmatchable. They suggest artists and music based on what you have already enjoyed and listened to on the app; it pushes you down rabbit holes to discover new artists. In more precise words, it doesn’t only suggest but creates a playlist for you that will be similar to what you listen to. I know, right. How cool is that?
So, Spotify has tiers; one is a free tier with low quality by default and streams up to 160 Kbps, and it also gets to enjoy free unlimited ads. I disapprove of the pain of listening to ads in between, but since it’s free, let’s let that slide. Then comes the premium tier for the rich people, which is $9.99 a month (just kidding if you can afford $9.99 a month), dumps the ads into the trash can entirely, and streams up to 320 Kbps. Better yet, there is some good news for the rich ones, Spotify has announced a Hi-Fi tier (even the name has “high” and no, not the kind you are thinking) due later this year.
In the past, Spotify had a limited 10,000-song library. The good news, the limit has been lifted. Now you can add an unlimited number of songs to your personal library. You can add 10,000 to each playlist. Another fun feature? Spotify lets you turn on social sharing to see what your friends have been listening to. It allows you to stalk your friends but for fun purposes. Fun in that you can create sessions where a group simultaneously streams a playlist. In a way, you stay connected to your friends through music.
Like every good thing, Spotify has some downsides too. The artists’ sidebar commingles the songs that you like and dislike. So if you want to listen to an artist on shuffle, you won’t be able to, and you will be forced to listen to the songs/artists you detest. Anyways, it’s a flaw that most other apps possess as well. Frankly, anything is better than listening to music on youtube. Am I right, or am I right?
Tidal reigned supreme among hip-hop fans throughout the world. The Jay-Z-owned music streaming service was one of the only platforms to focus on the world of hip-hop majorly. However, Tidal has seen some tough days. Tidal has been through it all, from its highly publicized firing of board execs to the frequent site crashes. Now, after landing back on its feet( yep, the app was thrown out of phones like junk mail), Tidal has decided to take a little different approach. They offer beautifully curated playlists for each user and have a wide array of music, enough to satisfy any audiophile.
Tidal boasts a catalog of more than 70 million songs, similar to its competitors, and has somewhat strayed away from its initial goal of submerging urban music into the mainstream media. It offers High-fidelity lossless audio streaming with crystal clear audio quality. It also features music-related articles and exclusive video content, including live streams of concerts from some of your favorite artists. Tidal also has the exclusive feature of record reviews on every page. If all of this doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, remember only Tidal has the streaming rights to Prince’s catalog.
Are there any drawbacks? Well, a few glaring issues keep Tidal from taking the cake. Starting, Tidal doesn’t have the best user interface. You would always wish their mobile app or web player would be a little less buggy, which can sometimes become irritating. Also, the high-res music on Tidal uses MQA, which requires a specialized decoder.
Let’s talk bucks now. If you got big bucks, you could gain access to Tidal because it costs as much as your lunch (if you have lunch twice a day, of course). Tidal V Spotify, tidal costs twice as much as Spotify, which is $20 a month.
It offers three pricing tiers. Tidal Access is their free-to-use tier, allowing you to play curated playlists without skipping or searching for a song. The Premium version costs around $10 monthly but only plays audio at up to 310 Kbps. The last tier is priced at an atrocious $20 monthly, which is insane considering all the bugs. However, the tier does offer Dolby Atmos Music and 360 Reality Audio to win you back. It even offers a few tracks to play up to 9,216 Kbps. Any audiophile would be full of glee after hearing this. Overall, it is adequate for the average user. It is more focused on pleasing the more eccentric people among us.
3. Apple Music:
Apple products are loved by everyone worldwide. However, only the rich can afford it, or those willing to give up their one-time meal for the entire year or maybe two, depending on how much you spend on your food. Jokes aside, apple products are amazing, and so is Apple Music. Thanks to its lossless quality, for only $10 a month, which is half the price of Tidal’s lossless tier. I would say it’s the cheapest music streaming service, but hey, for now, Spotify beats it with $.1. Well, for now, Apple only has around 20 million tracks available to play in the lossless format, but Apple claims to upload the entire catalog by the end of this year. The catalog, by the way, consists of 70 million-plus songs. Some tracks will also be available in Dolby Atmos.
Compared to Spotify, Apple Music’s regular, lossy format streams songs at up to 256 Kbps, which isn’t much different from Spotify’s 320 Kbps. Spotify has more fun options, while Apple’s human-curated discovery options aren’t as fun. For example, if they have enabled social sharing, Spotify lets you see what your friends are listening to. But then, unlike Spotify, Apple Music lists all the songs you have liked/favored and lets you listen to the same artist throughout or until you want to. For example, if you want to listen to AC/DC, then apple music will play their songs (the ones you have liked, of course) till you want to. Another better feature of Apple Music is that it lets you add 100,000 songs to each playlist. That means you have no limits whatsoever.
Just like any other regular app, Apple Music contains flaws too. Their app on an iPhone works wonders, the Android version is so and so, but the desktop app is a complete nightmare. Sometimes it refuses to play music, the “Add to Library” button rarely works, and the “Back button,” well that most of the time, is having seizures.
Adding music to your library might cost you another screen because you might break it out of anger. Or, after using it, you might want to go see a therapist. If you navigate from the browsing tab by mistake, the back button will lead you to the home screen. Then you will have to find your way back by navigating to the album/artist you were previously exploring.—except for when it nonsensically disappears. Besides these flaws, Apple Music is one of the Best music streaming apps, so buy AirPods and blast some music.
4. Youtube Music:
Youtube Music came in with guns blazing. It has a brilliant user interface that is perfectly laid out and polished. Instead of following in the footsteps of its competition, youtube music tried to innovate the game. Inspired by youtube’s frequent use as an “unofficial” streaming service, Google created Youtube music. Like its competition, youtube music also carries a catalog of over 60 million songs. The success behind youtube was their ingenious algorithm that also comes to play here. It suggests to you the best bands and songs according to your taste. Furthermore, it allows you to save 100,000 songs in your library and share your playlists with your friends to improve your experience.
The user interface is one of the finest. It allows you to easily navigate by adding the song queue and lyrics in a separate vertical window within the app. This also simplifies the transition from streaming the music video to simply listening to it with your phone screen closed. It mixes and matches features from various streaming services to keep everything well-balanced.
There are a few downsides, though. The free version is simply a glorified youtube app focused on music, as the music shuts off if the screen closes or you shift to another app. For the Premium version, you have to cough up another $10 a month, which allows you to skip ads and download songs for offline usage. The best part about the premium is it also removes ads from regular youtube videos. It is perfect for frequent Youtube users; other than that, better music streaming apps are available for the same price.
What was once considered a behemoth in the music streaming apps industry is now left to collect dust on the shelf. Don’t get me wrong; Pandora is still widely used in the States. However, it has lost its charm, and along with the charm, it is consistently losing listeners. Pandora has suffocated itself and its users with a barrage of ads.
The free tier solely consists of ads. It has visual ads that magically appear in the middle of a song and indefinitely ruin the music experience. Plus, you have to watch an ad whenever you search for a song or simply skip one. In short, Pandora is a complete no, especially if you have anger issues. Either you will start screaming because of the pain the ads will cause, or you will cry because of the things you will break due to unlimited ads. But hey, it has a bright side; you can learn marketing from it.
Those who wish to remove these ads can pay $5 a month. However, you still have to watch ads if you want to choose your songs instead of the curated radio stations. A $10 premium version also allows you to stream music and search for songs without any ad interruptions. Nonetheless, Pandora lets us down once again, as it promises unlimited skips, but certain licensing restrictions force them to be limited.
All in all, Pandora is by far the most disappointing music streaming app available, and also, it’s not free. Sure, it’s the cheapest app available on the internet, but paying or not paying won’t matter because you still suffer and watch tons of ads. But then again, if you like ads, go for it. I mean, everyone has a different opinion.
These were the 5 Best music streaming apps that have ever been created. Now, there might be other better and cheaper Music streaming sites, but these were the most famous and, without a doubt, the best ones available. Other than that, thank you for reading and listening to great music.