Music Services Roundup

If you’re a music lover, you’re probably already familiar with at least one or two of the streaming music services available today.  There are many new services available today, each having their own unique characteristics. For example, some are better for streaming music that you’re already familiar with while others concentrate on new music discovery.  Most of them are free or have a free trial so check them out individually to see if your favourite artists, tunes and features are included.  We’ve listed the most popular services first and then listed some that you may not have heard of before but are worth checking out.

Spotify

Launched: 2008
Songs: 30 million
Users: 60 million, 15 million subscribers
Platforms: Web, desktop, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry
Quality: Up to 320kbps
Free plan: Stream songs on demand to desktops and tablet devices with a limit on track skipping and audio quality, as well as occasional adverts. Stream shuffled radio-style playlists on smartphone devices.
$9.99/month plan: No restrictions on audio quality or track skipping, and no adverts. Plus the ability to cache songs and playlists for offline listening on desktop, tablet or smartphone.

Rdio

Launched: 2010
Songs: 32 million
Users: Undisclosed
Platforms: Web, desktop, iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Quality: Up to 320kbps
Free plan: Like Spotify, you can listen for free on Rdio on desktop or mobile—there’s no skipping, no offline listening, and you’re limited to algorithm-driven radio stations based on mood, genre or a particular artist.
$3.99/month plan: Rdio’s newest plan gives you ad-free, higher-quality listening on mobile, though you’re still stuck with radio-style stations. 25 songs can be cached for offline use. On desktop, there’s no difference from the free plan.
$9.99/month plan: Subscribe at the top level and you get everything Rdio has to offer, including on-demand listening without skip limits or ads, and offline playback on mobile devices for times when you don’t have a connection.

Google Play Music

Launched: 2011
Songs: 30 million
Users: Undisclosed
Platforms: Web, iOS, Android
Quality: Up to 320kbps
Free plan: Google lets you upload up to 50,000 of your own tracks to the cloud for free and then stream them to computers and mobile devices. As long as you’re only interested in your own purchased MP3s, it works well.
$9.99/month plan: If you subscribe you get a Spotify-style service on top of the locker, so millions more songs to stream on demand. You get mood-based playlists too, as well as YouTube Music Key for no extra charge.

Deezer

Launched: 2007
Songs: 35 million
Users: 16 million, 6 million subscribers
Platforms: Web, iOS, Android
Quality: Up to 1411kbps
Free plan: Deezer offers its own ad-supported tier, like Spotify, and it’s almost exactly the same—you get adverts when listening on desktop or tablet, and on smartphones you’re limited to radio-style mixes.
$9.99/month plan: Pay for a premium plan and you get all the usual goodies (no ads, higher quality audio, offline support, freedom with your playlists and so on). It also has a team of global editors picking out the best music picks.  There’s a 30-day free trial for this tier.

Tidal

Launched: 2014
Songs: 25 million
Users: Undisclosed
Platforms: Web, iOS, Android
Quality: Up to 1411kbps
$9.99/month plan: There’s a free trial available for Tidal but no free tier, and this cheaper option gives you access to Tidal’s 25 million tracks up to a quality of 320kbps. 75,000 high-quality music videos are included too.
$19.99/month plan: To get the uncompressed, lossless music that Tidal is known for, you need to pay double the money. To be able to notice the difference you’ll want to pay more for your audio equipment as well.

XBOX Music

Launched: 2012
Songs: 38 million
Users: Undisclosed
Platforms: Web, Windows, iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Quality: Up to 256kbps
$9.99/month plan: Xbox Music ditched its free tier last year (a 30-day trial is still available) so you can pay $9.99 a month or $99.90 for a whole year. That gets you unlimited streaming and caching across all of your devices, which of course includes the Xbox.

Napster/Rhapsody

Launched: 2001
Songs: 32 million
Users: Undisclosed
Platforms: Web, Windows, iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Quality: Up to 320kbps
$4.99/month plan: Rhapsody’s basic unRadio service is a Pandora-style shuffled stream that you can’t fully control, though you do get unlimited skips and the option to save up to 25 ‘favorites’ for offline listening.
$9.99/month plan: Unlimited access to millions of songs, offline downloads and up to three registered devices come with the Premier package. You can sign up for a 30-day free trial first to see if you like it.

The following services are getting very popular as well and all have their own unique features.  Worth a listen:
Apple Music
Amazon Prime Music
Songza
Pandora
plug.dj
Upbeat
Official.fm
The Hype Machine
This Is My Jam
Noon Pacific
Whyd