The Ultimate Guide To Music Streaming Services

music streaming services

Pexels/Cesar Galeão

Streaming is the new norm when it comes to entertainment like TV shows and movies, but it’s also the best way to enjoy music and podcasts. From Spotify and Amazon Music to Tidal and Pandora, there are just so many options to choose from these days. If you’re not sure which one’s the best for you and your budget, we’ve got you covered with all the details you need to make the right decision.

Apple Music

  • Free Trial: 3 months
  • Monthly Price: $9.99

Apple Music offers more than 50 million songs with zero ads. The service is only free for your first three months, unlike some other streaming services that offer a completely free version, but you can download up to 100,000 of your favorite songs and listen to them offline across all of your devices, which is a big perk. The main subscription costs $9.99 per month, but there’s also a student version ($4.99 per month) and a family plan ($14.99 per month for up to six people).


  • Free Trial: 30 days
  • Monthly Price: $9.99

Spotify offers a free version with ads, but the Premium version is just $9.99 per month ($4.99 for students), and it allows you to download your favorite music and listen to it in the app offline. Even better, in 2019 Spotify released a promotion where Premium subscribers also get Hulu included in the monthly $9.99 price. Spotify has more than 30 million songs that can be listened to on both mobile and desktop.

music streaming

Amazon Music Unlimited

  • Free Trial: 30 days
  • Monthly Price: $7.99

Amazon Music Unlimited gives you access to more than 50 million songs with zero ads and hands-free listening with any Amazon Echo. Students save with the discounted monthly price of just $4.99 and families can share the subscription across six people (or six devices) for just $14.99 per month. If you’re looking to just enjoy Amazon Music at home, you can save with the one-device plan that gives you access to all of Amazon’s song library on your Echo for just $3.99 per month.

Google Play Music Unlimited

  • Free Trial: 30 days
  • Monthly Price: $9.99

With more than 40 million songs and zero ads, Google Play Music Unlimited gives you music on any device, including YouTube Music. There is a free version, but you won’t be able to download music and listen offline, and there are ads. You can also add up to 50,000 songs of your own from your computer with Google Play Music and then listen to them anywhere. With the family plan, you can share Google Play Music across six people on up to 10 devices for $14.99 per month.

Tidal Premium

  • Free Trial: 30 days
  • Monthly Price: $9.99

You can enjoy more than 60 million songs and 240,000 videos with Tidal’s monthly subscription. Upgrade to Tidal Masters HiFi membership and you get even better sound quality for $19.99 per month (though if you’re a new member, you get a free trial for the first 60 days). Students can enjoy the Premium subscription for $4.99 or the HiFi membership for $9.99 per month. Family plans start at $14.99 per month for Premium and $29.99 per month for HiFi. Tidal also offers a military discount starting at $5.99 per month for Premium and $11.99 per month for HiFi.

listening to music
Pexels/Tamis Souza

Pandora Premium

  • Free Trial: 90 days
  • Monthly Price: $9.99

Pandora has a pretty wide range of subscription options, all of which cost different prices. The Premium subscription is the best option at $9.99 per month, which includes ad-free listening, on-demand play, offline listening and customizable playlists. Pandora Plus is one step down at $4.99 per month, but you only get ad-free listening online. Families can enjoy Pandora Premium for $14.99 per month and it’s good for up to six people/accounts. If you don’t mind ads, though, you can still listen to Pandora for free with the basic membership.

YouTube Music Premium

  • Free Trial: 1 month
  • Monthly Price: $9.99

If you don’t want to pay for YouTube Music Premium, you can get it included with your Google Play Music subscription. However, if you’re a YouTube fan, the premium version is pretty much the same cost as the other music streaming services out there. If you’re a student, it’s just $4.99 per month and families can pay $14.99 per month for up to six family members in the same household. No matter which plan you choose, you get ad-free, offline listening on both mobile and desktop.

Slacker Radio

  • Free Trial: 4 months
  • Monthly Price: $3.99

Slacker Radio is similar to Pandora where you can listen for free online with ads. However, it also has two other subscription levels — Plus for $3.99 per month and Premium for $9.99 per month. Slacker Radio Plus offers ad-free listening and unlimited skips on top of the basic version’s handcrafted and custom stations. If you’re trying to enjoy Slacker Radio offline, though, the Premium version will help you do that. You get music and podcasts on demand, including monthly specials, too. At the time of writing, Slacker Radio also had a promotion for a discounted annual Plus subscription for just $29.99 per year, which comes out to about $2.50 per month. Though Slacker Radio offers several different subscription plans, it doesn’t look like it offers student or family pricing.

If you’re looking for a good deal, Slacker Radio might be the best option for your wallet. However, if money’s no object, Tidal’s HiFi membership will give you access to millions of songs with the best sound quality. Whatever you choose, make sure your music streaming service is right for your lifestyle, budget and device.


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