For many of us, music is a natural part of life, just like food, air, and shelter. Fortunately, it's never been easier to listen to music from anywhere at any time, thanks to the abundance of music streaming apps. However, with so many options available, how can you find the right one for your needs?

Thankfully, we're here to help by curating the top 10 music streaming services. We'll also discuss how to compare these apps so you know you're getting the best deal possible. Finally, each service offers a free trial, so you can experiment and test them as much as you want before making a final decision.

Top 10 Music Streaming Services With a Free Trial

Top Pick
Our Score 10 Out of 10
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Our Score 9.7 Out of 10
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Our Score 9.3 Out of 10
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Our Score 8.6 Out of 10
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1. Spotify

Top Pick
Our score Out of 10
Spotify Visit Site

These days, when you think of a music streaming service, Spotify will likely come to mind. This app has come to dominate the music streaming space, and it has the largest library of content, including podcast episodes. Rather than a free trial, you can use the free version of Spotify as long as you want, but you have to listen to ads regularly. Also, only premium members can download music, so if that's important to you, you'll have to upgrade.

Price: $10 per month

  • Massive music library
  • Listen to podcasts as well
  • Create and curate playlists or listen to ones created by others
  • Download your music to listen offline
  • Sound quality is not the best on all songs
  • Free version is bombarded with ads

2. Apple Music

Apple Music
Our score Out of 10
Apple Music Visit Site

If you buy an Apple product, you can often get a free trial to Apple Music. Unlike most free trials, the duration can be as long as six months, so you get more than enough time to determine if it's worthwhile to pay for the premium version. Apple Music is tied to your Apple account, but you can only listen to songs on a handful of devices.

That said, Apple Music has superb sound quality, and you get access to video content and live radio stations. You can even see lyrics and access karaoke versions of songs if you want to host your own karaoke night.

Price: $9.99 per month ($14.99 for a family of six or more)

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Access to video content
  • Longer free trials (when applicable)
  • Radio stations included
  • Downloaded content disappears if you cancel your subscription
  • Free trials are only available when buying a new device

3. Tidal

Our score Out of 10
Tidal Visit Site

Tidal is owned by Jay-Z, and it's an artist-focused streaming service that values quality over quantity. However, with over 60 million tracks, as well as podcast episodes, video content, and live streams, you're not hurting for a music selection. That said, most of the songs on Tidal are mainstream, so if you're looking for niche or underground content, you might wind up short.

The main selling point of Tidal is its high-fidelity streaming. When you upgrade to the Hi-Fi tier, you'll get the best sound quality possible for a streaming service. So, audiophiles will appreciate the attention to detail.

Price: 30-day Free Trial, $9.99 for basic Premium, $19.99 for Hi-Fi Premium

  • High-fidelity sound quality on the top premium plan
  • Access to Tidal exclusive content from top artists
  • Access to videos, podcasts, and other streaming content
  • More expensive than other music services (at the top tier)
  • Library is not as extensive as other streamers

4. YouTube Music (Formerly Google Play Music)

YouTube Music
Our score Out of 10
YouTube Music Visit Site

Some music streaming services put you in charge of your playlist (i.e., Spotify), while others play content based on your recommendations and preferences. YouTube Music is the latter, as it will offer different types of "stations" for you to listen to, or it will curate content based on your input. So, if you want to curate your own playlist, you're a bit out of luck.

One primary advantage of YouTube Music is that if you pay for the premium version, you'll also get access to YouTube Red, which is an ad-free version of YouTube.

Price: Free version, or $10.99 per month

  • Extensive song library
  • Decent sound quality
  • Curates content based on your input and activity
  • Access to YouTube Red when you sign up for premium
  • Can't create your own playlists
  • Limited access to non-music content

5. Amazon Prime Music

Amazon Prime Music
Our score Out of 10
Amazon Prime Music Visit Site

If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can add Prime Music to your account. There's a free version, or you can upgrade to the premium version for $10 monthly. While Amazon Prime Music doesn't have a ton of bells and whistles, it has a few features like lyric scrolling and playlist curation. You can either create your own playlists or let the service curate songs based on what you like.

Price: Free version or $9.99 per month ($16.99 for the family package)

  • Access to over 100 million songs and podcasts
  • See lyrics and info of your songs as they play
  • Curate your own playlists or let Amazon Music do it for you
  • Download songs for offline playing
  • No live radio

6. Pandora

Our score Out of 10
Pandora Visit Site

If your primary goal of listening to a music streaming service is discovering new tracks and artists, Pandora is one of the best options. This service curates a playlist based on your likes and dislikes, and over time, you can have a unique channel that meets your preferences. However, the downside is that you can't pick and choose the songs yourself; only tell Pandora whether you don't like a song it plays.

Price: Free version or $9.99 per month

  • Discover new artists and songs
  • Develop your playlists to play only what you like
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Access curated podcasts
  • Can't pick and choose songs

7. Deezer

Our score Out of 10
Deezer Visit Site

Deezer is a French-based company that has started to take a bite out of the music streaming options in the United States. This app focuses on providing a wide array of content, including live radio, podcasts, and, of course, lots of music from various artists. However, because Deezer is based overseas, you can access a lot of foreign-language content if you're trying to find new music that wouldn't be available stateside.

Price: Free version, $9.99/month for basic premium or $14.99/month for Elite Premium

  • Live radio and podcasts available
  • Lots of original and fresh content
  • Excellent sound quality on Elite tier
  • Free version isn't as good on a PC
  • Can't scrub or rewind live-streaming content

8. SoundCloud

Our score Out of 10
SoundCloud Visit Site

SoundCloud is like YouTube for music in that anyone can create a profile and upload songs to it. So, this site is excellent if you want to discover new music from small and up-and-coming artists. You can browse songs by genre or type, and it's easy to create a playlist. SoundCloud is also introducing a paid premium version called SoundCloud Go (or Go+). This version allows you to download songs and listen to most content within its library. However, if you upgrade to the Go+ version, you can listen to more songs and use them for DJ mixes.

Price: Free version, $4.99 for SoundCloud Go, $9.99 for SoundCloud Go+ (30-day free trial)

  • Discover lots of new music from unknown artists
  • Access over 320 million songs
  • Use songs for DJ mixes with the Go+ membership
  • Free version offers a lot of features
  • Not as much mainstream music as other services
  • Music quality can vary from one song to the next

9. LiveOne (Formerly Slacker Radio)

Our score Out of 10
LiveOne Visit Site

Slacker Radio has since become LiveOne, which is a lot like Spotify, because it offers a vast song library and features a wide assortment of podcasts and live-streaming events. You can even purchase tickets to concerts through the app, making it something of an all-in-one music service. However, the interface is a bit confusing, and while you can create and share playlists, you must be a premium member to do so.

Price: Free version or $9.99/month for Premium

  • Access to live radio and podcasts
  • Vast content library
  • Tons of video content
  • Buy tickets to live shows
  • Confusing and hard-to-use interface
  • Sound quality is not the greatest

10. I Heart Radio

I Heart Radio
Our score Out of 10
I Heart Radio Visit Site

IHeartRadio is an app that lets you listen to radio broadcasts anywhere at any time. However, because you're listening to the radio, you'll still have to listen to ads and programs on those stations. However, IHeartRadio has a cool feature that lets you play a song from the beginning, even if you come in at the middle or end of it during the broadcast. Premium versions of this app allow you to save content and playback multiple songs, so there's more control over your listening experience.

Price: Free version, $4.99/month for Plus Package, or $9.99/month for All-Access

  • Free version allows you to tap into any radio station, including those produced by IHeartRadio
  • Play a song from the beginning, even if you came in late in a broadcast
  • Upgraded versions let you control more of the content you experience
  • Can't pick and choose songs
  • Must listen to radio ads during the stream

How to Choose a Music Streaming Service

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One of the problems with having access to so many music streaming apps is that they can all feel very identical. So, it's important to know what kinds of features matter to you the most so you can make an informed decision. Here are the factors we recommend using to evaluate whether a music streaming app is worthwhile.


Most of these services cost around $10 per month, so there's not much of a difference. However, if you want free music, you need to use an app that's designed around a free price point. For that reason, SoundCloud and IHeartRadio are the best options because they don't spam you with ads.

On the flip side, if you want high-quality sound streaming, you may be willing to pay for upgraded services. Tidal is the best option by far, but Deezer's Elite Membership also has high-fidelity streams.

Available Content

Technically, SoundCloud has the most content because it offers over 320 million tracks. However, since most of those are from individual artists and not mainstream stars, it's up to you whether they're worth listening to or not. Also, some tracks are designed as background music or repeatable music, so they're not technically "songs."

Apple Music and Amazon Prime Music have a bigger song library than Spotify or Tidal, so if you want more options, they might be the best bet. However, if you like non-music content like videos, podcasts, and live radio, Deezer is probably the best all-around choice. Apple Music is a close second, but you must be an Apple product user to take advantage.

Streaming vs. Download

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Downloading songs allows you to listen offline and curate playlists more easily. Not all streaming sites allow you to download music, and even if you can, you likely have to have a premium membership. Spotify is probably the best for downloading songs, followed by Amazon Music. While Apple Music allows downloads, you're limited to the number of devices you can use to listen to them.

Also, SoundCloud is fantastic for downloading audio files if you want to reuse them for other purposes (i.e., DJ mixing or creative content).

Discovering New Music

Pandora's entire business model centers around helping you find new music, so it's arguably the best option for discovering new artists and tracks. Deezer is another awesome option because you can sample music worldwide. However, if you're really trying to find unknown or underground artists, SoundCloud is fantastic. That said, with so many tracks available, it may take a while to find ones you really like.

Stats About Music Streaming Services

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Breakdown by Age Group

Over half of all individuals between 16 and 34 have a subscription to a music streaming service. Only about a quarter of those aged 55 to 64 do.

According to Spotify, 29 percent of its users are between 25 and 34, and only 16 percent are between 35 to 44 years old.

Streaming users chart

Which Music Streaming Service Has the Most Subscribers?

Spotify has the most subscribers, with over 210 million users worldwide. Second is Apple Music, which has a subscription rate of 108 million subscribers. By comparison, Pandora only has about six million users.

Why Do People Subscribe to Music Streaming Services?

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Scientists have actually delved deep into this discussion and discovered that the top reasons why people pay for a premium service include:

  • To remove ads from free versions
  • To support artists
  • To have a convenient way to listen to music outside of CDs and multimedia players

As you can see, music streaming is only getting more popular as each streaming service competes for loyal customers. Regardless of your music-listening preferences, there's likely a service that can cater to your needs at a price point you can afford.

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