- Music streaming services give you access to millions of songs for a monthly subscription fee so you don’t have to buy individual songs or albums anymore.
- Spotify is the best music streaming service for most people, but Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited, and YouTube Music are also great options, depending on your needs.
Music listening has come a long way over the past few decades. Gone are the days when you had to buy CDs, vinyl records, or cassette tapes. You don’t even have to buy digital downloads anymore. These days, you can simply sign up to a music streaming service and have access to all the music you’ll ever need on a device that sits in your pocket.
Of course, there are quite a few music streaming services out there, and they’re all a little different. Because of that, it can be hard to find a service that’s perfect for your needs.
When deciding which streaming service to get, it’s worth considering a few things. For starters, you’ll want to make sure that there’s an app for your chosen streaming service on every device you use for music listening.
You’ll also want to consider things like streaming audio quality and support for platforms like digital assistants. Voice assistants are getting better at working with third-party services, but they’re still not great at it – especially when it comes to Siri.
Still figuring out which streaming service is for you? We’ve done the research so that you don’t have to. Here are the best music streaming services worth considering.
Here are the best music streaming services in 2022:
- Best music streaming service overall: Spotify
- Best music streaming service for Apple fans: Apple Music
- Best music streaming service for audiophiles: Tidal
- Best music streaming service for Alexa: Amazon Music Unlimited
- Best music streaming service for Google users: YouTube Music
Keep scrolling to check out our top picks.
The best overall
A comprehensive and well-connected service
Cost: Free, £10/mth, £15/mth(CD-quality) £20/mth (Family tier)Quality: 128kbps, 320kbps, 16-bitFiles: MP3, FLACLibrary size: 56 million+Platforms: iOS and Android apps, desktop Windows and Mac apps, Sonos, Yamaha MusicCast, Bang & Olufsen speakers, MOON by Simaudio network audio system
Back in 2017, Deezer became the first music streaming service to celebrate its 10th birthday. As with any significant coming of age, the French company celebrated by making 2017 a year of big change. It rebranded its CD-quality tier, giving it a new name and price, and making it accessible on more apps and platforms.
Fast forward to 2021, and while Deezer has teamed up with hi-res streaming partner, MQA, there’s no sign of hi-res audio streams on Deezer as yet – only 16-bit CD quality. That puts it at a disadvantage compared to the hi-res music you’ll find on Tidal and Qobuz. Meanwhile its core, non-HiFi subscription, falls just a whisker short of Spotify when it comes to ubiquity, discovery and presentation.
Deezer does have one up ace up its sleeve: 360 Reality Audio tracks. The immersive format is a bit like Dolby Atmos, but specifically for streamed music. It’s a nice bonus but it’s only available to subscribers of Deezer’s £14.99 ($14.99, AU$14.99) a month ‘HiFi’ tier, and only through a separate iOS/Android app. Also while Deezer was the first music streaming service to offer 360 Reality Audio, it has since been joined by others including Tidal and Amazon Music HD making it no longer a unique offering.
Thankfully, Deezer’s extensive catalogue, vast device support, user-friendly interface and decent non-music content lays the foundations for a service that can still rival the best. And there’s a free tier if you want to try it first.
The most advanced streaming ecosystem out there, but not necessarily the best value.
Qobuz might not be the most well-known streaming service, but it is arguably the most advanced in terms of file quality. Its Sublime+ tier gives users the ability to stream over 70,000 24-bit hi-res albums and download tracks at discounted prices, but you need to spend £250 on an annual subscription. Below this tier sits a hi-res Studio tier £15 per month or £150 per year.
Qobuz is available on lots of devices. There’s a web player, desktop and mobile apps, plus several networked streaming products that are also compatible with the service. While its ‘Carplay Online’ feature allows users to view and launch their favourite playlists and tracks directly from the integrated screen of their car. Overall, Qobuz’s interface is nice to use across desktop and mobile, although the curation could be better.
The service recently introduced ‘My Weekly Q’. This AI-powered recommendation engine serves up a personalised playlist of musical discoveries it thinks you’ll enjoy, based on the listening habits of other users with similar tastes to yours.
When it comes to the catalogue, Qobuz isn’t quite as pop-heavy as its closest rivals and has some pretty major blind spots in its catalogue, but there’s still a decent balance, and it’s worth the free trial to see if most of what you want is on there.
The only other issue is that, while Qobuz claims to have more hi-res tracks than rivals, Tidal’s hi-res streams also sound marginally better for timing and dynamics.
Qobuz is, however, the first music service to bring 24-bit hi-res audio streaming to Sonos speakers, making it a good choice if you’ve invested in the Sonos ecosystem.
The best for Apple fans
The best for audiophiles
The best with Alexa
SiriusXM Select and SiriusXM Premier
Price: SiriusXM is best known for its satellite radio service for cars, but it also has cheaper packages that let users listen through an app or a web browser.
The packages SiriusXM offers change so frequently it isn’t worth keeping track of the specifics. For around $11 per month you can get a subscription that will let you listen on your phone, with access to hundreds of channels, including music, comedy, sports, talk radio, on-demand shows, and ad-free music with skippable tracks. Sometimes that price gets you access to the Howard Stern channels (his new content is a SiriusXM exclusive), but sometimes you need to pay more for that.
There’s also an extra charge if you want to stream directly to a car radio (though you could just get the app and use Bluetooth if you have good cell service). Last we checked, that cost a total of $17 per month.
There are free trials, discounted rates for the first year, and family plans.
Who it’s best for: Consumers who like terrestrial radio stations but want more options and a commercial-free experience with the option of skipping tracks. SiriusXM is also the only game in town for Howard Stern fans.
Pros: SiriusXM has a wide variety of offerings that will probably be a significant upgrade over your local radio stations. And if you have good cell service on your commute, plus an unlimited data plan, you could stream to your car stereo from your phone. You’ll get cheaper access to the same content offered in the company’s satellite radio packages.
Cons: You have to call customer service to end your subscription, which was a convoluted, time-consuming process when we tried it. Choosing a package is also surprisingly complicated. When you factor in the satellite radio tiers, new users need to pick from numerous subscription choices with a confusing variety of offerings, optional add-ons, and hidden fees. The packages change constantly and details are hard to find, so you’ll never know for sure if you’re getting the best price. The SiriusXM app and web interface can also be more difficult to navigate than those of most competitors.
Pandora is still very popular, but it has steadily lost listeners since 2014. The free tier is full of ads. There’s a visual ad in the app window; ads periodically interrupt your listening on the curated radio stations; you need to watch ads to skip tracks; and you need to watch ads to search for and play specific songs. Paying $5 a month gets rid of them, except you still have to watch ads to choose your own tracks. The $10 a month Premium tier lets you search for songs without ads, but like the other tiers it promises unlimited skips but has fine print saying that “skips (are) limited by certain licensing restrictions.” The maximum bit rate of 192 Kbps is too low to be worth paying for. It’s a bad deal all around.
Price: Idagio is a classical music streaming service that costs $10 per month. There’s a free two-week trial period so that you can try the service before you commit. Students can get 50 percent off, and Idagio also has a free ad-supported tier.
For $30 per month, you get access to Idagio’s exclusive online concerts, which sometimes feature leading performers.
Confusingly, the price to stream lossless audio quality depends on where you subscribe, either via a web browser, an iPhone, or an Android phone. In some cases it’s a free bonus of the basic tier; in others you have to pay more.
Who it’s best for: Idagio is meant for fans of classical music.
Pros: Idagio is built to suit the idiosyncrasies of the genre. It can be hard to find your favorite recording of a beloved Rachmaninoff concerto on more mainstream services, even though those services might work perfectly well for tracking your favorite Olivia Rodrigo remix. On Idagio, the search tools handle the naming conventions of classical tracks with ease.
Idagio also has a number of browsing tools, such as curated playlists and the option to sort by various instruments. Streaming high-quality audio files is another perk that may be free depending on how you subscribe (see above).
Cons: Idagio doesn’t have music that falls outside the realm of classical music, so you’re out of luck if you like some Springsteen with your Stravinsky.
For now, Idagio is a great choice for the genre, but it might be hard to justify paying for a separate classical music service in the near future. Apple Music just purchased Primephonic, a classical music streaming service that used to be Idagio’s main competitor. Apple plans to launch a standalone classical music service and roll many of Primephonic’s features into the Apple Music app.
Price: Streaming radio is free with ads or $4 per month without ads. For $10, you also get access to an on-demand music library. There’s a student discount but no trial period for the paid service.
Who it’s best for: LiveXLive—formerly known as Slacker Radio—is similar to Pandora, and best for people who prefer a more laid-back listening experience and aren’t picky about exactly which song comes next. The service also focuses on streaming live performances, so subscribers may get access to streams from concerts where the service is a partner.
Pros: Access to a variety of stations, including ABC News and ESPN Radio, in addition to the usual music genres.
Cons: LiveXLive is geared toward listening to stations, not streaming tracks on demand. The app is a bit difficult to navigate, and the website can be a challenge as well. LiveXLive doesn’t advertise how many songs are in its library, which suggests its offerings may be more limited than those of leading competitors.