Time to Revisit the Debate: What’s the Best Streaming Service?

With more people getting into streaming, more people are faced with a choice. Which streaming service is best? Because no two are quite the same, it all depends on what you demand from streaming. Need a free tier? Are you on iOS? Willing to pay $9.99 a month? Is audio quality important? What territory are you in? Are you swayed by exclusive offerings by specific companies/artists? And are you willing to have multiple accounts?

The question of choosing a streaming service is a tough one to answer, so it’s worth revisiting the debate. Because it’s my job, I have no fewer than three paid subs (Apple Music, Google Play Music, Spotify) and dabble in others. But even after all this continuous research, I still can’t figure it out.

The Guardian does their best with this roundup of what’s available in the streaming world.

Music streaming is on the rise: in 2015 in the UK fans played 26.8bn songs on audio-streaming services alone, with another 26.9bn streams of music videos on services like YouTube.

There are a cluster of services competing for our time and cash. But which is the best for your listening habits? We’ve compared five of the best known on-demand music-streaming services.

Some features are standard: catalogues of 30m-40m tracks (except Amazon Prime Music); themed playlists created by in-house teams of tastemakers; and the ability to store tracks on your mobile devices for offline listening.

But what other features tip the balance? Read on for our comparison, as well as a summary of some of the other contenders worth trying.

Read on.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Time to Revisit the Debate: What’s the Best Streaming Service?

  • February 25, 2016 at 10:35 am

    What made me choose Spotify (after Rdio perished) was it’s very easy-to-use playlist interface (I love being able to cut & paste large selections of tracks, usually albums at a time, rather than having to go track-by-track like the competition). I found GPM and Deezer severely lacking in that regard.

    Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut dear lord it just isn’t robust. It can never quite remember my position switching between devices, and I feel some bugs have gotten even worse over recent updates. Specifically I start a song on a playlist … and it doesn’t correspond with what actually gets played. Often it’s offset by a couple tracks. It seems to be made worse by having recently edited a list, but it seems to happen sometimes even with unchanged lists.

    What I loved about Rdio was having a massive queue I could carry around with me effortlessly … home to phone to office. Spotify’s queue is completely screwed up, but would be mitigated by its playlists, if they worked properly.


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