Featured image reads a comparison of music streaming services

During a brainstorming session on what to include in Krannaken.com, I came across a question that asked, what the differences were between Apple Music and Spotify. Therefore, I came up with the idea of creating a comparison of music streaming services. Services included in this post include Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music and Amazon Musi. We will cover these in alphabetical order.

Key Takeaways From This Comparison of Music Streaming Services

  • Music streaming platforms give you the ability to play any song on the platform at any time.
  • Platforms don’t include absolutely every song ever written
  • Some have free options

A Comparison of Music Streaming Services: Amazon Music

Amazon launched Amazon Music initially in 2007.

Amazon Music: The Price Point

The Free version of Amazon Music gives listeners the opportunity to play a wide range of music and podcasts for free. However, there is limited functionality and you are unable to skip to your favourite song.

Perhaps the unique selling point for Amazon Music is that it is included with Primte. Therefore, if you have Prime for other benefits (as we do), you automatically qualify for a premium Amazon Music membership too. That’s a great selling point for them.

There are three further payment plans for Amazon Music. These include Amazon Music Unlimited (£10.99), Amazon Family Plan $16.99 and Amazon Music Student Plan at only £5.99. These will allow you to stream music concurrently on as many as six devices.

Amazon Music: What’s Included?

Amazon Music Unlimited comes with millions of music and podcasts with superior sound quality. There are new, up-and-coming artists as well as those you’ve known and loved for years.

Amazon have a dedicated Amazon Music App that is available on iOS and Android. The service also runs through Fire TV and other Apple devices.

Amazon Music Advantges:

  • There are various price plans available
  • A premium version of Amazon Music is included with Prime.
  • The highest sound quality for a music streaming service
  • Compatible across all Apple devices. These include Fire TV and Alexa.

Amazon Music Disadvantages:

  • Audible is a separate service and you cannot get audiobooks on Amazon Prime
  • The free plan has heavy disadvantages. You are unable to skip tracks and there is a heavy focus on ads.
  • There are some additional costs on various plans.

A Comparison of Music Streaming Services: Apple Music

Since 2015, Apple Music has provided listeners with over 100 million songs, 30,000 playlists of high-quality audio. This includes current chart music, older favourites as well as music from unknown artists.

There are Apple Music apps on the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple Mac, HomePod Speakers and Apple TV. Furthermore, you can get Apple Music at https://apple.music.com. You can even get Apple Music on Android and Windows PCs, Smart TVs and Amazon Alexa. These latter services are surprising as they are direct competitors to Apple.

There is an option that is available to fans of classical music. Through this option Apple are attempting to win over the loyalty of older people who are more likely to desire this option.

Apple Music: The Price Point

The only difference to the pricing plan of Amazon Music is that there is no free plan. You have to pay either £5.99 if you’re a student, £10.99 if you’re not a student or £16.99 for a family plan. Apparently, there used to be a £4.99 plan, but this was discontinued in November 2023.

Apple Music: Advantages

  • Massive music library
  • One month free trial
  • Audio matches that of Amazon Music
  • Just like Amazon, there is easy access on Apple-branded devices.
  • 24/7 access to live radio stations and curated playlists
  • Prices are the same as Unlimited Amazon, Amazon Family and Amazon Student.
  • There is even an option that is dedicated to classical music

Apple Music: Disadvantages

  • There is no free subscription available
  • Podcasts are in a separate app
  • Some could consider Apple Music as expensive.

A Comparison of Music Streaming Services: Spotify

Although Spotify isn’t the most used service, it is one of the first-considered music streaming services.

Spotify was also the pioneer of music streaming services, being the first on this list to launch their service and bring music streaming to the forefront of people’s listening habits. Since then, music streaming has gone from strength to strength. Sales of physical copies of albums have heavily slumped. CDs are considered old-fashioned. Young people don’t know what to do with an audio cassette and vinyl is strictly for those wishing to become DJs.

According to the Radio Times blog, there are as many as 551 million Spotify users worldwide. That’s twice the number of people in the United States. There are also more than 100 million tracks and 5 million podcasts.

However, some albums are unavailable on Spotify. The first trance music album I ever bought was Trance Nation 2 with the Ministry of Sound and Ferry Corsten. If I want to listen to this, it will be on YouTube, but I can’t find it on Spotify. In fact, Spotify have only added music by the Ministry of Sound very recently.

Another point in Spotify’s favour is that they have proper parental controls. If you don’t want your kids listening to explicit lyrics, you are perfectly able to disable them.

For me, the things I like best about Spotify include the Spotify-curated playlists. They have a very good idea of the kind of music I like to listened to based on the music that I have streamed several times over in the past. It knows I listen to trance, synthwave, classical and rock music most of all.

Spotify: The Price Point

There is a free version of Spotify available. However, this is with poorer audio quality and annoying adverts every three tracks. Also, you only get to skip six songs an hour.

The premium plan is available for £10.99 per month. For this, you can play any song you like, you can skip as many songs as you like, and there are no adverts. We have Spotify Premium. However, I also listen to YouTube Music which I’ll come on to next. With Spotify Premium, you can also download tracks to your smart device.

Other plans available from Spotify include the Family Plan at £17.99, the Student Plan at £5.99 and Premium Duo (£14.99). The latter is excellent if there are only two of you. You can just share it with your spouse, partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, etc.

Spotify: Advantages

  • There is a free version of Spotify available
  • Includes a vast library of music, podcasts and audiobooks
  • AI-based curation of personalised playlists based on the user’s listening habits
  • Easily discover new music
  • A wide number of integrations
  • Offline listening and downloads
  • Premium has a high quality of audio
  • It is very user-friendly and easy to understand
  • Includes parental controls so that your kids aren’t exposed to indecent lyrics

Spotify: Disadvantages

  • Free plan includes annoying advertising every three songs
  • You are unable to skip more than six songs per hour on free plan
  • Could be considered as expensive
  • No lossless audio

A Comparison of Music Streaming Services: YouTube Music

I am one of 50 million YouTube Music subscribers. However, the reason I subscribe to YouTube is not for the music, but for the entertaining videos. I watch a wide selection of videos on YouTube every day. It is my only news source because I don’t watch “normal” TV. I consider TV to be outdated and old-fashioned.

YouTube Music is also known as the number one platform for listening to music online. I think this is because people like to see the music videos as well as listen to the music. Music videos can be very entertaining.

More people discover new music on YouTube Music than any other platform. This is anyone between the ages of 16 and 64 so as you can appreciate, this means most people.

It is also available in over 100 countries worldwide and 85% of those using YouTube Music, watch on a mobile device. Therefore, it would be more popular in developing countries like India and the Philippines as well as the most advanced countries like the United States and the United Kingdom.

YouTube Music: The Price Point

According to Gitnux.org, YouTube Music costs only $9.99. However, I pay £11.99 to have the YouTube Premium with YouTube Music thrown into the mix. There is also a Family Plan at £19.99 and a Student Plan at £6.99. This is the most expensive of the four options covered in this post. However, at the same time, it is important to note that you are getting so much more than just music. You are getting millions of hours of entertainment, news, tutorials, anything and everything on YouTube. Therefore, I think it is well worth the money I pay.

Many of you will probably be familiar with watching YouTube for free. You will know that you can watch any video you like, but you should also note that there is advertising before every video and very often in the middle of videos too.

YouTube Music: Advantages

  • YouTube Music also comes complete with all YouTube Premium Plans (billions of hours of content)
  • YouTube Music is the number one service for listening to music online
  • 93% of the most watched videos on YouTube are music videos
  • Popular for discovering new music
  • Available in 100 million countries worldwide
  • Songs also include videos. There are over 70 million songs on YouTube Music
  • Some music unavailable on other platforms can be found on YouTube Music

YouTube Music: Disadvantages

  • More expensive than other platforms
  • Heavy advertising
  • Music can sometimes be interrupted by advertising

Conclusion to This Comparison of Music Streaming Services

I only use two of these services (YouTube Music and Spotify) so I have done a bit of research into the others, but most of this post has been researched. This also included YouTube, which I experience the most. However, as I have said, I watch more videos of other types of content than music.

However, I hope you have enjoyed the post. I hope it has also given you food for thought and that you can proceed with confidence. Maybe you are thinking about your own streaming options? If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments section below.

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