6 Major Music Streaming Services Compared

Gone are the days when music was only available on vinyl, CD or MP3. Instead, music streaming providers such as Spotify, Deezer, Amazon and Co. provide millions of songs, podcasts and audio books on demand at any time.

Streaming is not only popular in the video sector, streaming services are also increasingly being used when listening to music. A wide range of music can be heard very comfortably anytime, anywhere. As a rule, this works via a monthly fee that is charged by the provider, who in return grants access to their media library. TECHNOLOGY BUTTON compares seven of the best-known and largest music streaming providers in the music sector in terms of price, offer, platform and handling.

Spotify

Price in euros / month Trial subscription Free scope positive negative
9.99 Base
12.99 Duo
14.99 Family
4.99 Student
1 month Yes > 60 million high availability, intuitive handling, good algorithm for suggestions, free version partly nested functions,
synchronization with own titles difficult

According to its own annual report (as of October 2019), 113 million people now use the paid premium version of Spotify . Almost 250 million people listen to music through the free, advertising version. This makes the Swedish streaming service the front runner. The range of music on offer is growing every day and now includes over 60 million titles, including podcasts and audio books. Particularly positive: The algorithm for playlists and music suggestions, which makes (terrifyingly fitting) personalized music suggestions and creates playlists.

In terms of price, Spotify’s 9.99 euros for the standard version is exactly the average of the monthly costs for music streaming services. Students even pay only 4.99 euros and families have a subscription for 14.99 euros per month. Up to six family members can stream music at the same time with their own login data. In general, Spotify is very intuitive to use, only some functions such as synchronization with existing music files can be a bit confusing.

Also interesting: Spotify reveals the most successful songs and podcasts of the year

Amazon Music Unlimited

Price in euros / month Trial subscription Free scope positive negative
9.99 without Prime
7.99 with Prime
1 month Yes > 70 million Large selection,
connection to Alexa, good voice control
Primarily
suitable for Prime customers, slightly uncomfortable handling

In addition to Prime Music, which can only be used by customers with a Prime membership, the shipping giant Amazon also offers Amazon Music with the options Unlimited and HD. Although Prime members get away particularly cheaply with 7.99 euros per month, the price of 9.99 euros per month is also fully within the framework for normal users. The flexible pricing strategy also enables a discounted annual subscription. Since September 2019, Amazon has also been offering a tariff in HD – high definition quality – from EUR 12.99. Users can access the same selection as in the regular tariff, but the streaming quality is higher at 16 bit and 44.1 kHz. The online retailer also offers a speaker with 3D sound, the Echo Studio, to match the HD sound .

The offer is constantly being expanded, not just in the musical area. Sports fans, for example, get their money’s worth with radio broadcasts of the Bundesliga and other important games. In addition, Amazon has integrated its voice assistant Alexa into the mobile apps for Android and iOS so that they can be controlled completely by voice. Since November 19, 2019, the free version that was previously only valid for Echo owners has also been valid for all other users. The advertising-supported version is very limited in comparison with a selection of playlists and radio stations, but non-Amazon customers should still be happy about the exciting offer.

YouTube Music

Price in euros / month Trial subscription Free scope positive negative
9.99 base 1 month Yes > 40 million through connection
to YouTube, large selection, lyrics, clear app, videos
no desktop
app, not the best sound quality

The video platform YouTube has also jumped on the music streaming bandwagon. The streaming provider YouTube Music originally only showed music videos, but has now become a full-fledged music streaming service with its own app and extensive range of music. Incidentally, Google Play Music was integrated into YouTube Music at the end of 2020, so that the Google Music offer is now concentrated. The free version switches ads every few minutes / title, the ad-free premium version costs 9.99 – as with the competition Euros per month.

With their location-based playlists, the provider puts you in the holiday mood when you’re abroad or motivates you in the gym. Unfortunately, the apps for the well-known video service and the newer music offer are separate and users cannot upload their own songs. Nevertheless, the video connection is naturally good. A corresponding music video is also available for many songs.

In addition, the quality of the suggestion algorithm does not come close to that of the competition. For example, if you state that you like to hear a certain artist, the provider will only suggest new songs by him. So the discovery of new artists is clearly restricted.

Apple Music

Price in euros / month Trial subscription Free scope positive negative
4.99 student
9.99 base
14.99 family
3 months No > 70 million Large selection
and exclusive content, good playlists, well-developed radio area, Apple system
Algorithm for
recommendations comparatively weak

Apple’s music streaming service did not start until 2015, which is late in comparison to the competition. The offer was well received and is particularly suitable for users who already have Apple devices and / or have an iTunes library. Because as usual with the large manufacturer from Cupertino, the products work very well with each other within their own system. The media library offers over 70 million songs and iTunes content can be easily transferred to Apple Music. Sometimes the platform even offers users content before the official release!

The search function is also impressive, as it even enables you to find songs using the text. Only the compatibility with devices outside the Apple cosmos is not always free of complications, especially with intelligent speakers like the Google Home. There is a three-month trial version for anyone who is undecided.

Deezer

Price in euros / month Trial subscription Free scope positive negative
9.99 Premium
14.99 family
1 to 3
months
Yes > 55 million high
availability, good algorithm, nice offer with podcasts, audio books, Deezer Orginals
Limited offline
function, moderate music import

The French provider Deezer is almost as well known as the market leader Spotify . Subscriptions can not only be taken out with Deezer, but also with GMX or Vodafone, which makes it easier for customers of these services to get started and saves money. In addition to the “usual” personalized playlists with suggestions, Deezer also has an individualized radio station that adapts to the preferences of its listeners ahead of the competition. In general, the service has an impressive radio offering.

Similar to Spotify, Deezer relies on compatibility and distribution. On various platforms, audio hardware, televisions, in the car – the app can be played almost anywhere. Unfortunately, the free version in particular is severely limited. As with the competition, offline listening is only possible to a limited extent and only the radio function and the random function “Flow” are available on mobile devices. The music streaming service scores with very good audio quality.

SoundCloud

Price in euros / month Trial subscription Free scope positive negative
5.99 Go
9.99 Go +
7 days or
1 month (99 cents)
Yes > 200 million huge selection,
upload of your own content, also many unknown artists, very good audio quality with a premium subscription
free version severely restricted, especially suitable for professionals

SoundCloud has by far the largest music offering. This is mainly due to the fact that artists can easily publish their titles here themselves. This is particularly interesting for those who receive direct feedback and want to easily upload their music to the platform. In this way, users have the opportunity to draw from a larger pool and also get to know lesser-known artists. The standard version SoundCloud Go costs € 5.99 per month, the premium package SoundCloud Go + is available for € 9.99.

The streaming service is a real option for the market giants, especially for thoroughbred music lovers and those keen to experiment. The offer is really extensive, but many well-known (licensed) titles are missing.

Conclusion

A comparison of the six music streaming providers shows the differences primarily in terms of the offer and the compatible platforms and devices. When it comes to pricing, however, everyone is pretty much in agreement. If there is a separate tariff (Spotify, Amazon, Apple, YouTube, Deezer) students pay 4.99 euros per month, the standard tariff is 9.99 euros and family packages (only not available from SoundCloud) cost 14.99 euros .

providers Price in euros / month Free scope info
Spotify 9.99 Base
12.99 Duo
14.99 Family
4.99 Student
Yes > 60 million good value for money, great algorithm
Amazon Music 9.99 without Prime
7.99 with Prime
Yes > 70 million Especially suitable for Prime users, great voice control
YouTube Music 9.99 base Yes > 40 million Integration of videos and lyrics
Apple Music 4.99 student
9.99 base
14.99 family
No > 70 million especially (but not only) for Apple users, exclusive content
Deezer 9.99 Premium
14.99 family
Yes > 55 million wide range, Deezer Originals, audio quality
Sound cloud 5.99 Go
9.99 Go +
Yes > 200 million largest selection, for real music nerds, many unknown artists

The most successful streaming service is Spotify, despite the somewhat smaller offer in comparison. The provider is compatible with almost every system, can be linked to social profiles and offers the best algorithm in terms of music selection. For users who are already familiar with Apple or Google in terms of software and hardware, however, the corresponding music streaming offers Apple Music and YouTube Music are definitely recommended. Synchronization and compatibility are completely guaranteed in the respective system and the selection of songs is large. Apple Music offers the big bonus that entire albums are sometimes available in advance, even by really well-known artists.

For Amazon customers, however, Amazon Music is worthwhile. Compared to the implemented offer from Prime Music, the scope of the streaming platform is considerably larger. Live radio and soccer broadcast are a nice bonus. Deezer scores above all with excellent audio quality and an individualized radio station, while SoundCloud is primarily aimed at all music lovers who also like to be surprised by completely unknown artists.

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