The Best Music Streaming Services

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The Best Music Streaming Services

We rely a lot on music. Our workout playlist keeps us motivated to reach our goals. The party playlist keeps your birthday celebration going strong. And our study playlist keeps us focused on that pesky chemistry final.

The world has swiftly moved away from mixtapes and CDs. Now we have all of our music in one spot… or a few spots. With music streaming services, all of your favorite artists and songs can be streamed from wherever you are. From relaxing in your room to jumping on a plane, your favorite music can come along for the ride, any time, anywhere. But, how do you know which music streaming service is the right one for you?

Optimum takes a deeper look.

 

A young African American woman wearing headphones smiles at her smartphone, with a graphical overlay of Optimum blue gradient bars

 

Prices of music streaming services compared

You may be overwhelmed by all the music streaming services options and wondering what differentiates them. Let's take a look at the major platforms, including which offer free music streaming services.

ServiceCostPrice tiers?Free tier?
Spotify Starting at $9.99 a month

Yes

Yes
Apple MusicStarting at $9.99 a month

Yes

No
Amazon Music UnlimitedStarting at $7.99 / $9.99 a month

Yes

No
YouTube Music PremiumStarting at $11.99 a month

Yes

Yes
PandoraStarting at $4.99 a month

Yes

Yes

 

Is Spotify worth it?

With 286 million active monthly listeners, Spotify has secured itself as perhaps the most prominent and popular music streaming service. Multiple pricing options help you to find a listening plan that works for you and your family.

What is exclusively streaming on Spotify?

Spotify was the first streaming service to give everyone the year-end "Spotify Wrapped." We're quite sure you've seen the screenshots flooding your social media feeds. This is Spotify's gift around the holidays, showing what you listened to the most. Including a unique playlist featuring your top 100 songs of the year.

Spotify streaming service also produces its own podcasts. For example, former president Barack Obama and rock legend Bruce Springsteen started an exclusively Spotify podcast called Renegades: Born in the U.S.A. Because this podcast is produced through Spotify, it will only be available on that platform.

How much is Spotify Premium?

Spotify's premium packages start at $9.99 for the Individual plan. You will be able to listen to your music and podcasts without ads, download music for offline listening, and have unlimited skips in case you're not in the mood for a particular song.

The Spotify Duo Package

For $12.99, the Duo allows two people under one roof to have premium Spotify with the individual package perks, plus Duo Mix, which is a playlist based on both of your musical tastes.

The Spotify Family Plan

The $15.99 Family package allows up to six listeners on one premium account. Parents can block explicit music, keep a Family Mix playlist of the whole house's favorite songs, and listen through Spotify Kids, a separate app made just for children's music. This is great if you're tired of hearing "Baby Shark" pop up in your own "Most Played" list.

The Spotify Student Plan

If you are a student, you can sign up for the Student premium plan. For $4.99 a month you can have offline listening, ad-free music, and access to SHOWTIME and ad-supported Hulu. So once you're done listening to your study playlist you can wind down with the latest shows that are streaming on either platform.

 

Is Apple Music worth it?

With iTunes having monopolized the music scene for a long time, Apple Music has arrived to bring Apple into the new age of music streaming. Apple provides fans with an in-depth listening experience with exclusive interviews from your favorite artists and global premieres.

What is exclusively streaming on Apple Music?

Apple Music contains radio stations that are only available for Apple Music listeners. Apple Music 1, Apple Music Hits, and Apple Music Country all feature original shows from the world's most popular hosts and artists.

How much is Apple Music?

An Apple Music subscription starts at $9.99 a month for an individual plan. With the same features as the student plan at $4.99, these packages contain offline listening, 60 million songs to stream, and ad-free music.

Apple Music Family Plan

Apple music's family plan offers up to six people the ability to listen for $14.99 a month. Each family member will have their personal account and you can share your existing music library however you would like. Because once again, it's a lot nicer listening to your playlist without your child's music interrupting your flow.

Apple One

For the big Apple fans, you can sign up for Apple One Bundles. Fans can have Apple Music, TV+, Arcade, and iCloud access all for one price, individually or with your family. The individual plan offers 50GB in iCloud storage and the other services for $14.95 a month. The Apple One family plan offers 200GB in iCloud storage and the other services for $19.95 a month.

 

Is Amazon Music Unlimited worth it?

Amazon is now a one-stop shop for entertainment! With a huge library of music, you, your family or your roommates can listen to music all night long. You can use Amazon Music Unlimited on Fire TV, Alexa-enabled devices, and your smartphone and tablets so you can listen anywhere.

What is exclusively streaming on Amazon Music Unlimited?

Listeners can sign up for an Amazon Music Unlimited account through one of their Amazon compatible devices. On the Single Device plan, starting at $3.99 a month, you can connect through your Fire TV or Amazon Echo. You'll still be able to reach all 70 million songs, but it will come through your single device. So just say "Alexa, play "deja vu" by Olivia Rodrigo, and your party is ready to go. Say it, and forget it.

How much is Amazon Music Unlimited?

Prime members can listen to Amazon Music Unlimited for $7.99 and non-Prime members can start listening at $9.99 a month. The individual plan gives listeners 70 million songs to stream as well as ad-free music.

Amazon Music Unlimited Family Plan

The $14.99 family plan allows up to six people to listen as long as they are at least 13 years old and have a standard Amazon account. And parents can block explicit music from the younger listeners.

Amazon Music Unlimited Student Plan

If you are a student enrolled at an accredited college or university you can start streaming for just $4.99 a month! Unlimited access, ad-free, and offline listening will make your time in the library fly by. And then shout out to your Amazon Echo when you get back to your dorm to continue your favorite playlist.

 

A smartphone screen displays the home screen of a streaming music service, with a graphical overlay of Optimum blue gradient bars

 

Is YouTube Music Premium worth it?

YouTube isn't just for animal videos and DIY tutorials anymore! YouTube's music platform, YouTube Music Premium is here and ready to show you its "endless listening options."

Listeners can discover the hottest trends and curated playlists that fit your music taste and view the newest music videos. You can stream your favorite artists and easily discover new ones.

What is exclusively streaming on YouTube Music Premium?

It's no surprise YouTube prides itself on its videos, so it only makes sense that they have video content along with their music. You can listen to and view millions of songs and videos without ads. And if you're not in the mood for a video you can switch to audio-only mode to listen to the song only, which also can help save some bandwidth! You can keep listening while seamlessly switching between apps and closing windows. While watching YouTube without the streaming subscription your music or videos will be stopped if your phone or the app closes. So nothing will interrupt your music listening experience unless you say so.

How much is YouTube Music Premium?

YouTube Music Premium starts at $11.99 a month with an individual subscription.

YouTube Music Premium Family Plan

Families with listeners that are 13 years old or older are eligible for the YouTube Music Premium family plan. They can start listening at $17.99 a month. Up to five members under one roof can listen with a group manager that is 18 years or older.

YouTube Music Premium Student Plan

Much like Spotify, YouTube Music also offers a student plan if you're eligible. The student plan starts at $6.99 a month. Both the student and family plans offer the same benefits for YouTube Music Premium.

 

Is Pandora Music worth it?

We all know Pandora Music is famous for its awesome radio mixes. Now, Pandora has so much more. With exclusive artist content, ad-free listening, and plenty of podcasts, Pandora Music has plenty of ways for you to enjoy yourself. Connecting with all of your compatible devices, you can take your Pandora playlist wherever you go.

What is exclusively streaming on Pandora Music?

Pandora launched "Stories," where artists and creators can add voice commentary to their playlists. This allows artists and podcasters to provide greater context around their content and give listeners a more personalized listening experience.

How much is Pandora Music?

Pandora Music has a few different plans:

Pandora Plus

The Pandora Plus package features ad-free personalized stations, the ability to search and play music freely, offline listening, and unlimited skips. It starts at $4.99 a month.

Pandora Premium

Pandora Premium ups the ante at $9.99 a month. In return, you get the same benefits as Pandora Plus as well as the ability to make and share playlists. The premium plan offers discounts for families of six ($14.99), students ($4.99), and military ($7.99) listeners.

 

Each music streaming service is different, and you should think about what you're looking for before you make a decision. But once you pick one, it's time to sit back, relax and listen to your favorite tunes. If you want to upgrade your listening experience, check out the Optimum Amplify wireless speaker. It'll blow your ears away.

 

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