Music Industry

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.

Alan Cross has 37459 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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

  • 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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