Music streaming service comparison: Spotify, Deezer, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, which is better?

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Carlos Priora
@carlospriora
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Summary
  • Spotify: the undisputed leader
  • Apple Music: a complete service and an offer for the family
  • YouTube Music
  • Amazon Music Unlimited
  • Deezer: the frenchie
  • SoundCloud : l'ovni
  • Tidal: we are entering the world of HiFi
  • Qobuz: HiFi one day, HiFi always!
  • Napster: Spotify worse
  • Comments

Between Spotify, Deezer, YouTube Music and Amazon Music, which music streaming platform should you choose? In this comparative file we explore each of the characteristics of the services, their price and the quality of their catalog. 



Free or paid, in MP3 or FLAC quality, the offers are more and more numerous. So much so that it is difficult to navigate. Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer dominate the market, but other services exist and are starting to do well. To help you find what works best for you, here is an overview of music streaming services.

Spotify: the undisputed leader

Credit: Unsplash

Who doesn't know Spotify? It is the leader in the music streaming market. Released in 2008, it now has 50 million premium service users, including more than 700 in Spain. The strength of Spotify is its impressive catalog and completely free, provided you accept advertising.


But if you take out the € 9,99 / month subscription, the advertising is over. And you can enjoy offline listening and it is even possible to mix your own music library with the tracks present on Spotify by importing it into the service.


It has now aligned itself with its competitors and offers a family offer at 154,99 euros per month, allowing 6 members of a family to benefit from an unlimited subscription. What make it all the more attractive. There are several possibilities to use it: the software to install on your computer, the application for mobile and tablet, or the web version. And Spotify is revolutionizing itself with Spotlight, a 2.0 podcast with images and videos!

Also note that for the social side of the application (sharing songs with your friends) Spotify is more and more integrated into your Facebook account - with recently a mini player directly in the mobile application. You can also share what you are listening to on your Twiter, Tumblr account or via Skype and Messenger in just a few clicks. Finally, despite its very comprehensive catalog, some classics are not available.

Credits: Phonandroid

One of the great things about Spotify is that it is available on most devices. For example, you can listen to your favorite playlists on your Playstation 4, on your Xbox One and you will even have the right to use your smartphone and your tablet as a remote control, provided you are connected to the same wifi network.

Spotify is loaded with many features that are as practical as they are enjoyable. Very easy to use, it should be suitable for most users, even in its free version. We especially appreciate its many playlists and the ability to easily share them with friends, whether without the app or within Facebook Messenger.



Sound quality

On Spotify, if you have high-performance listening equipment, know that the audio streams are compressed. With a free offer, you will only be able to listen to your music at a rate of 160 kbits / s, with the subscription Premium at € 9,99 / month, you can reach a maximum rate of 320 kbits / s.

Playlist Discoveries of the week and other personalized Mixes

One of the service's strengths are its personalized Discover of the Week and Daily Mix playlists. These are built from your listening profile - in other words, the songs you like to listen to. They are partly assembled automatically and via human speakers, which makes high quality playlists that will make you discover more and more music!

Price

There are several Spotify offers:

  • Free: listen in random mode to the playlist or the artist of your choice / with advertising / 160 kbits / s
  • Student € 4,99 / month: unlimited listening and same options as in Premium
  • Premium € 9,99 / month: unlimited listening without advertising at 320 kbits / s and with the possibility of listening to music offline on smartphone and tablet / MP3 import
  • Duo Premium €12,99 / month  : unlimited listening without advertising at 320 kbits / s and with the possibility of listening to music offline on smartphone and tablet / MP3 import - unlimited for two people
  • Family € 15,99 / month : unlimited listening for 6 members of a family living under the same roof

Currently, users who have never tried Spotify Premium can enjoy the service for free for 3 months! A good opportunity to form your own opinion!



Apple Music: a complete service and an offer for the family

If you are equipped with many iOS devices, such as iPhone or iPad and especially a HomePod, Apple Music may easily establish itself as the ideal choice, as the service is perfectly integrated into the brand's ecosystem. You can also control Apple Music with Siri. Before you subscribe to Apple Music, Apple even allows you to test the service for free for 3 months.

Best of all: on your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, this is an app installed by default. Contrary to what some argued, Apple Music is not yet revolutionizing the market, but the firm has managed to offer a service that brings together everything that others do best. Thus, we find for example a kind of social network integrated with Connect. Users can follow their favorite artists and get access to exclusive content.

Another novelty, inspired by Netflix: My Music. This function, which is based on a recommendation system, groups together the music likely to please the user according to his tastes and the music he listens to regularly. Finally, Apple offers radio on its music streaming service called Beats One. It will broadcast from Los Angeles, New York and London. A kind of free music offer since you won't need to be a subscriber to enjoy Beats One.

On the other hand, the user will not be able to choose his titles, it is a real radio station with hosts. The big black point of Apple Music, in addition to the absence of a free offer, is that there is no version for the web: not the slightest interface intended to be opened with a web browser. To use Apple Music on PC or Mac, you will have to go through iTunes. As for the faults, we will also note an interface that is not very intuitive and a little too chaotic.

Contrary to its usual practice, Apple unfortunately did not keep it simple. Offline mode is also part of the game and we are entitled to a catalog of 30 million titles for the moment. Some artists preferred to stay on iTunes only. Over time, the catalog of available music has grown a lot, even if some still resist Apple Music.

Find out more: Apple Music is official, find out in detail!

Sound quality

Apple, which wants to be a high-end brand, has made no effort in terms of sound quality. Music available on Apple Music are therefore available in MP3 format but at 256 Kb / s, it is lower than the standard of 320 Kb / s which one observes with the competitors. If you have a musical ear, you would do well to go for another streaming service.

Price

Against all expectations, Apple offers prices that may be more interesting than the competition.

  • Individual at € 9,99 / month: access to a more limited catalog than on the paid version / advertisements / import from the library
  • Student at € 4,99 / month: for a standard subscription
  • Family at € 14,99 / month: unlimited access for 6 family members

Small specificity of Apple Music, it is possible to subscribe directly for a full year. At 99 €, this offer stands out as the cheapest on the market. It ultimately costs only 8,33 / month. Finally, even if the Cupertino company refuses to adopt a freemium model, it still offers a access to his Beats One radio for free. The radio broadcasts sounds all day long with seasoned hosts to take care of the transitions.

YouTube Music

YouTube Music replaces the defunct Google Play Music with which it coexisted for a few years. The free plan offers much the same functionality as regular YouTube, but with a better interface designed for music.

By paying 9,99 euros per month, on the other hand, we have the right to the removal of advertising, listening in the background, offline mode and audio mode. There is also a weekly updated Discovery Playlist called My Supermix and many other more themed personalized playlists that are updated daily.

Ideal for discovering music! A 3-month free trial of YouTube Music is offered under certain conditions.

Sound quality

This is currently a weak point for YouTube Music compared to the competition. The application offers a maximum audio quality of 256 kbits / s, therefore lower than Spotify Premium or Apple Music.

Price

Regarding the prices, there are three possibilities here:

  • Free: YouTube Music interface but with many limitations and the presence of advertisements
  • € 9,99 / month: complete catalog (with concerts and lives) / listening in the background / offline mode / audio mode (without clip or video) / no advertising
  • 11,99 € / month : with YouTube Premium in addition
  • Family at € 14,99 / month: unlimited access for 6 family members

Amazon Music Unlimited

Very similar in its operation and prices to the rest of the market, Amazon Music will be especially interesting for people who already benefit from a Amazon Prime subscription.

From a point of the interface, we stay in the very agreed and very classic. If you already use Spotify or another streaming service regularly, you should get used to it quickly. As on Spotify, Amazon offers a pleasant system of recommendations and playlists.

But the service does not shine by its originality. Amazon Music Unlimited is exactly like any other music streaming service. Its only major asset is precisely belonging to Amazon. We can therefore imagine in the future an interaction between your purchases on the site and your playlists, or with Amazon Prime Video. And there is no doubt that Amazon's service is set to evolve and become, over time, a better competitor of Spotify.

Note that since June 6, 2018, an Amazon Music service has been included directly in the Amazon Prime subscription. To take advantage of it, there is therefore no supplement to pay if you are already Prime. Of course, the offer is not as large as with Amazon Music Unlimited. “Only” two million tracks are available with this formula, and the user is limited to 40 hours of ad-free listening per month. This can be a lower cost alternative for the less demanding.

In addition, Amazon platforms are not always compatible with products from the Google ecosystem. Until recently, Amazon Music was unavailable for example on Google TV and Android TV.

Sound quality

With a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited, you will be able to enjoy your music in high quality on any device. What is the maximum quality at Amazon? On this side too, Amazon copies Apple and Spotify with a maximum listening quality of 320 kbits / s. Nothing new here either.

Price

Amazon offers prices identical to those of the competition. As you will understand, Amazon Music Unlimited is an interesting choice if you are already subscribed to Amazon Prime. It is possible to test the service free of charge for 30 days.

  • individual offer: € 9,99 / month or € 99 / year if you are already an Amazon Prime member. By choosing to pay annually, you will save up to 2 months. With this offer, you have the right to listen offline and without advertising.
  • Family offer: € 14,99 / month or 149 € / year for 6 members of the same family.

Deezer: the frenchie

Deezer is the Spanish outsider who is starting to hit internationally. It offers a very complete catalog with 43 million titles. Like Spotify, Deezer offers several formulas. Launched a year earlier, in 2007, Deezer was initially totally free. Today you will have the choice among the various offers to take advantage of the catalog almost as complete as that of Spotify.

As with Spotify, you will be able to download Deezer software for your computer. A web version is also and obviously an application for smartphone and tablet. For the interface, same observation. If you are used to another service, it will be difficult to find your way around at first but you will be fine later.

  • Read also: Deezer is considering plans at 5 euros per month

Sound quality

Like Spotify, Deezer offers several qualities of sound. For free you will be entitled to 160 kbits / s while on the version at 9,99 € / month you will benefit from 320 kbits / s. There is also a version exclusive to buyers of Sonos speakers: a subscription at € 19,99 / month to listen to music in FLAC at 1411 kbits / s.

Price

Like Spotify, Deezer offers several plans, one of which is free. Here are the details:

  • Free: unlimited listening on tablet and computer / playlist and unlimited radios on mobile / advertising / 128 kbits / s
  • Premium + at € 9,99 / month: unlimited listening on all media / offline listening / no advertising / MP3 import / 320 kbits / s
  • Family at € 14,99 / month:  unlimited listening for 6 family members.
  • HiFi at € 19,99 / month: This is an offer aimed at audiophiles looking for optimal quality. With this offer you will be able to enjoy certain titles in FLAC, ie 1411 kbits / s.

Currently, users can test Deezer Premium for free for 30 days! A good opportunity to form your own opinion!

SoundCloud : l'ovni

Before being a full-fledged music streaming service, SoundCloud was the platform of choice for artists and talent scouts. Quickly become a benchmark with no less than 250 million users in 2013, SoundCloud had to face complaints from the majors who felt that the service was broadcasting music without holding the copyright.

The power of the majors is on the verge of wiping out SoundCloud for good when the company manages to find a solution.

Like the others, she ended up negotiating with the record companies to offer a paid offer. The advantage of SoundCloud Go is its social network aspect. A follower system is in place with re-posts that allow you to interact with other users. The only weak point compared to the competition, no family offer is available. The interface is simple and efficient. Clear and unadorned, it's really very pleasant.

You can enjoy it on the web version on your computer or on the application for smartphones and tablets.

Sound quality

Like Spotify and Deezer, Soundcloud offers several qualities of sound. The plan at € 5,99 / month offers standard quality while the Go + offer improves all that a little.

Price

Originally free, SoundCloud had to follow the trend not to sink. Thus, two formulas are proposed:

  • SoundCloud Go for € 5,99 / month: 120 million tracks in standard quality
  • SoundCloud Go + for € 9,99 / month: 150 million tracks and better audio quality

Tidal: we are entering the world of HiFi

Tidal is the new kid on the block lately. Bought by Jay-Z, Tidal's vocation is to donate more rights to artists who have chosen this platform to promote their music. As a result, some Jay-Z or Beyoncé titles are available exclusively on the platform.

  • Read also: Tidal, the music streaming service by artists for artists

Like Deezer and Spotify, it is available in a web version. The platform offers 40 million titles, and also gives access to clips. The difference compared to its competitors is that on Tidal, you must subscribe to be able to access the service, even if you can first test it for a month. Its interface is very similar to that of Spotify, one would almost be mistaken. It's dark, understated, and the layout is more or less the same.

Sound quality

The big distinguishing point of Tidal is the sound quality. You can listen to all sounds in FLAC but the subscription then reaches peaks. And to listen to music in FLAC, you need headphones (or headphones) and the speakers that go with them. Small originality, Tidal also offers video streaming to watch the clips and again we are entitled to HD.

Price

Unlike its competitors, Tidal therefore does not offer a free version. However, you can do a free trial for 30 days. As you will realize, Tidal is a bit more expensive than its competitors, especially if you subscribe to a HiFi offering. Moreover, the prices are more or less the same.

  • Premium at € 9,99 / month: standard sound quality / HD videos
  • Premium Family at € 14,99 / month : for a premium subscription for 5 members
  • Premium Student at € 4,99 / month : for a premium subscription
  • HiFi at € 19,99 / month: music in FLAC / HD videos
  • HiFi Family at € 29,99 / month: for a subscription for 5 members
  • Student HiFi at € 9,99 / month: for a subscription

Qobuz: HiFi one day, HiFi always!

Lovers of high definition sound, Qobuz is for you. But beware, quality comes at a price. Qobuz is undoubtedly the music streaming service for audiophiles. While most of the other services are far from achieving optimal sound quality, Qobuz has chosen to differentiate itself on this point. Its offer is varied, there is still something for everyone. I will detail the rates below. Qobuz's interface is rather intuitive.

To take advantage of it, you will have to either go to the web version of the service or download an application for mobile and tablet. The catalog is very complete since it contains the titles of the majors but also the sounds of independent labels. I already told you, Qobuz is the service for music freaks.

Sound quality

Once again, on Qobuz it's the quality that comes first. You will have the choice between several offers, one of which offers downloading in Hi-Res, the best audio quality available today.

A basic offer will allow you to enjoy streaming in MP3 quality but the best quality possible for MP3 soit 320 kbits/s. Other offers offer listening in 16-bit FLAC, which no streaming offer offers to date.

Price

Qobuz has chosen a varied offer. And if quality comes at a price, you don't necessarily have to break the bank to access it. Pricing ranges from € 9,99 / month to € 349,99 / year, all the same. At this price it will also be necessary to have suitable equipment, obviously.

  • Premium at € 9,99 / month : standard offer for one account
  • Hi-Fi at € 19,99 / month : all the service in Flac 16 Bit
  • Sublime at € 219,99 / year : all the service in Flac 16 Bit and Hi-Res downloads at a special price
  • Sublime + at € 349,99 / year : Unlimited Hi-Res streaming and Hi-Res downloads at a special price

Note that in any case, you can opt for an annual offer, which saves you money. Before you have to get your hands on the wallet, you will be entitled to a short 15-day free trial period.

  • On the same topic : Top free music apps on Android

Napster: Spotify worse

Napster has made a comeback in Europe after years of disappearance. What was originally an illegal download service has evolved into a legal music streaming service. Like Tidal, Napster is only available for a paid version.

The difference is that it only offers standard listening quality. The interface is nice, it's fluid, uncluttered. And the catalog is quite comprehensive. The problem with Napster is that it doesn't really offer a distinctive point.

Napster is a bit of a less complete Spotify, at the same price. A bit of a shame. In fact, the service is interesting for SFR subscribers who can take advantage of this service free of charge with certain Carré offers.

Sound quality

Napster only offers a formula with the best MP3 quality, at 320 kbits / s.

Price

Only one offer available at € 9,95 / month. As with other music streaming services, you will be entitled to a free 30-day trial period.

Whether you are an audiophile or not, you should find what you are looking for among all of these offers. Of course nothing prevents you from having a little pleasure from time to time with a good vinyl or a very nice little CD. Also remember that, if you choose a service where the audio quality is optimal, it is essential to have high-end equipment, whether it is headphones, ears or a speaker.




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