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The best music streaming services of 2024

Spotify Music
Spotify
The best for most people
Jump to details
Apple Music
Apple Music
Perfect for Apple users who want hi-res audio
Jump to details
Tidal
Tidal
Audiophile quality with wide device support
Jump to details
Qobuz
Qobuz
Audiophile quality for a little less
Jump to details
Amazon Music
Amazon Music
Excellent value, hi-res audio, great for Prime customers
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Deezer
Deezer
Somewhere in the Goldilocks zone
Jump to details
YouTube Music
YouTube Music
The best of music and YouTube is all here
Jump to details

Music streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Qobuz, and Deezer have entirely changed how we explore, enjoy, and exchange music. They bring convenience and accessibility to all new levels.

Yet, with so many choices, selecting the right music streaming app might feel like a daunting task. Each platform offers a music collection featuring artists, albums, playlists, and podcasts. Additionally, they each have their interface designs and special features, like song lyrics display, offline downloads, AI-generated playlists, high-quality audio formats, and more.

We’ve compiled a list of the best music streaming services to assist you. We've tested them all, and our evaluation criteria include pricing plans, user interface experience, quality of tracks offered, and much more. Let’s get started!

An iPhone with the Search section of the Spotify app on it.
Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Spotify

The best for most people

Pros
  • Excellent UI
  • Best-in-class discovery
  • More than 100 million songs
  • The biggest podcast network
  • Fun special features
Cons
  • No hi-res option ... yet
  • Glitchy performance at times
Specs
Plans (monthly): Free / Individual: $11 / Duo: $15 / Student: $6 / Family: $17
Library Size: More than 100 million tracks
Quality: 160kbps to 320kbps

When it comes to music streaming, Spotify is definitely one of the most recognizable brands on the planet. Launched in 2006, the platform is available across the globe, and is home to more than 100 million songs and growing. Spotify is also the world's biggest podcast platform. Whether you’re rocking an iPhone, a Google Pixel, a laptop, or you're in your car, there’s a good chance that Spotify is going to be compatible with your hardware.

Beyond the music archive, Spotify offers several different subscription options, including individual, family, and student plans, as well as a free version with ads. Spotify Premium users also receive unlimited track skips, 320kbps audio quality, and offline downloads for up to 10,000 songs across five devices. The company is also really good at keeping its user interface familiar and reliable from one hardware type to another.

Spotify is also great for sharing. Thanks to integrations with social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, your circle of pals will get to see what you’ve been jamming out to lately. You’ll even have the option of sharing songs with others and even creating collaborative playlists you can all add to. Additionally, no one is quite as good as Spotify at always adding and experimenting with new and fun features, like its AI-driven DJ and, most recently, its beta AI Playlist that lets you type Chat GPT-style text prompts to get it to curate playlists for you.

So, where does the service struggle? Track quality, for one. Unlike platforms like Tidal and Qobuz that place a big emphasis on hi-res audio, Spotify’s tracks are capped at 320kbps, which only the most critical of audiophiles will notice. Spotify's long-awaited Hi-Fi tier may still see the light of day, though, so if it's not a deal breaker, you could just wait it out. But if you just want a music streamer that offers tons of genres, playlists, and fun social features, Spotify is going to be your best bet.

Spotify Music
Spotify
The best for most people
Music playing through Apple Music on the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Apple Music

Perfect for Apple users who want hi-res audio

Pros
  • More than 100 million songs
  • Excellent hi-res options and Dolby Atmos
  • Great interface
  • Competitive pricing
Cons
  • No free tier
  • Can’t keep downloaded songs if you cancel
  • No plan for couples
Specs
Plans (monthly): Individual: $11 / Student: $6 / Family: $17
Library Size: More than 100 million tracks
Quality: 256kbps AAC, 16-bit/44.1kHz, 24-bit/48kHz, 24-bit/192kHz

Some folks will remember Apple’s original foray into digitized music from a little platform called iTunes that launched back in 2000. Paving the way for Apple’s streamlined interface and big music library, iTunes eventually evolved into Apple Music in 2015. A fierce competitor to rivals like Spotify and Tidal, Apple Music is simple to use, boasts a library of more than 100 million tracks, is available across multiple platforms, and even offers hi-res listening options.

Apple Music also lets you test the waters before enrolling in one of its many subscription options. With a one-month free trial, you’ll have plenty of time to get a good lay of the land, at which point you’ll need to shell out for a monthly subscription, which runs $6 for students, $11 for an Individual plan, and $17 for the Family plan.

Every tier gives you access to full playback controls, recommended music based on your listening habits, and some nice visual treats for your phone, tablet, and computer screens. We’re talking immersive album artwork, line-by-line lyrics, and intuitive search tools that make finding songs and artists a breeze.

As far as track quality is concerned, Apple’s audio far exceeds Spotify’s 320kbps cap, with lossless ALAC tracks that can get as high as 24-bit/192kHz. Apple Music also uses the smaller AAC format with resolution up to 256kbps and offers many tracks and albums in Dolby Atmos, which Apple brands as Spatial Audio. And while you’ll be able to share tracks with friends and family, Apple Music doesn’t offer the same social integrations as Spotify.

If you’re familiar with the design and UI of devices like the iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and Apple TV, you’re going to feel right at home using Apple Music. Both desktop and mobile interfaces are clean, simple, and easy to navigate, with just about everything you could need right at your fingertips. Plus, there are all kinds of smart speakers (such as Sonos and Apple's HomePod) and smart displays that offer native Apple Music support.

Apple Music
Apple Music
Perfect for Apple users who want hi-res audio
An iPhone with the Rolling Stones playing on the Tidal app.
Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Tidal

Audiophile quality with wide device support

Pros
  • More than 110 million tracks
  • Some of the best hi-res tracks in the game
  • Includes offline listening
  • Works with many different types of devices
  • Awesome playlist curations
Cons
  • Weak podcast library
  • Music discovery tools are not as good as others
  • UI could be improved and more streamlined
Specs
Plans (monthly): Indvidual: $11 / Family: $17 / Student: $6 / DJ Extension add-on: $9
Library Size: More than 110 million tracks
Quality: 320kbps, 16-bit/44.1kHz, 24-bit/192kHz

Regarding top-notch music streaming quality, Tidal is one of the best names in the business, bar none.

Renowned for its focus on excellent sound quality, Tidal gives you access to an immense library of songs in 16-bit/44.1kHz up to 24-bit/192kHz in various formats, including HiRes FLAC, Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio, FLAC, and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA). Not all of Tidal's artists and albums are in hi-res, but there's a good chance that several artists you enjoy have at least some hi-res offerings in the archive.

Diehard fans will also enjoy Tidal's dedication to additional content, including videos and real-time streams, creating a more immersive musical experience. We're also big fans of its artist-generated playlists.

In terms of cross-platform compatibility, Tidal is also available on a range of popular devices, from iOS and Android hardware to smart speakers, smart displays, streaming devices, and even native AV support from audio brands like Sonos and Harman Kardon through Tidal Connect. But what sets Tidal apart is its user-friendly interface. From apps to desktop versions, Tidal’s UI is designed to be clean, ultra-navigable, and tethered to your preferences, ensuring a comfortable and personalized experience.

Beginning in April 2024, Tidal removed its expensive HiFi plans, while still keeping its high-quality library. The best part? Its new plans are cheaper and more in line with what Apple Music, Spotify, and others are charging. This means you can enjoy premium music streaming without breaking the bank. You can try Tidal for free for the first 30 days of a new membership. The platform also offers discounts to students, military, and first responders, making it even more affordable.

If you’re looking for supreme audio quality and talented curation, you should give Tidal a try. Plus, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many of these high-resolution tracks elsewhere.

Tidal
Tidal
Audiophile quality with wide device support
A person using the Qobuz app on an iPhone.
Qobuz app's home screen Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Qobuz

Audiophile quality for a little less

Pros
  • Big hi-res music library
  • Inspired editorial content
  • Can purchase songs and albums without a subscription
  • Free trial for Studio plan
Cons
  • Lacks social listening features
  • No podcasts
Specs
Plans (monthly): Studio: from $11 / Sublime: from $180 per year
Library Size: More than 100 million tracks
Quality: 16-bit/44.1kHz, 24-bit/192kHz

A close competitor to Tidal, Qobuz is another music streaming platform that goes all in on the hi-res catalog. It is home to over 100 million tracks in lossless CD quality, and more than 240,000 albums in hi-res audio. Qobuz streams audio using high-quality FLAC files ranging from 16-bit/44kHz to 24-bit/192kHz, translating to some seriously good sound. Whether you're listening through a pair of speakers or a pair of headphones, Qobuz tracks are going to sound about as good as they can get.

Qobuz offers two subscription plans, namely Studio and Sublime. Each plan has three levels to choose from. The Studio plan provides offline listening and a visually appealing desktop and mobile interface enriched with additional content such as artist bios, reviews, feature op-eds, and how-to guides. The Solo Studio level costs $13 per month, Duo costs $18 per month, and the Family plan (for up to six accounts) costs $22 per month. You can get discounts on these plans by opting for a yearly payment.

The Sublime subscription offers the same benefits as the Studio plan and up to 60% off many hi-res download purchases. However, you need to purchase a yearly subscription to get these benefits. The Solo Sublime plan costs $180/year, Duo costs $270/year, and the Family plan costs $350/year. Note that the Sublime subscription can only be purchased through a yearly payment, not monthly.

Oh, and we can't forget this gem: You can pay to download Qobuz hi-res tracks and albums without a monthly subscription.

On the downside, Qobuz does not have Dolby Atmos tracks like Apple Music, Tidal, and Amazon Music, and there are no podcasts or video content.

Qobuz
Qobuz
Audiophile quality for a little less
Amazon Music on a smartphone screen.
Amazon

Amazon Music

Excellent value, hi-res audio, great for Prime customers

Pros
  • Huge music library
  • Lots of hi-res tracks and albums
  • 90-day free trial
  • Discounted plans for Amazon Prime members
  • Discount for owning an Echo device
  • Now offers a student plan
Cons
  • Complicated subscription options
  • Amazon Music only has shuffle mode
Specs
Plans (monthly): With Prime: $10 / w/o Prime: $11 / Family: $17 / Single Device Owner: $6 / Student: $6
Library Size: More than 100 million tracks
Quality: 320kbps, 16-bit/44.1kHz, 24-bit/192kHz

Amazon Music is a unique streaming option, especially for those of us who are already paying for Amazon's $139 annual Prime membership (or $15 per month). Like many platforms we've covered up to this point, Amazon Music offers both CD quality and lossless audio formats, Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio tracks, a large music library, and some awesome smart home integrations (especially for Alexa-powered devices). The "unique" descriptor is mainly aimed at Amazon Music's pricing, though, which is complex, to say the least.

Are you an Amazon Prime member? Great! That means you'll be able to get the ad-free Amazon Music Unlimited (AMU) for $10 per month, as opposed to the non-Prime member subscription tier, which costs $11 per month. If you're interested in nabbing Amazon Music Unlimited and just so happen to own an Echo speaker, you can sign up for the Single Device Owner plan. It only costs $6 per month, but you'll only be able to use AMU on that one device. Oh, and there's also an AMU Family Plan for $17 per month ($169 per year) that covers up to six users.

The pricing isn't impossible to understand, but figuring out which option makes the most sense for you and yours can be confusing. Plus, Amazon technically has two different music streaming options: Amazon Music Unlimited and Amazon Music Prime. The latter is built into your Amazon Prime membership and gives you access to Amazon's entire music library, but playback is limited to shuffle mode, and you won't be able to listen to any hi-res tracks either.

Whether you're listening with Amazon Music Unlimited or Amazon Music Prime, Amazon Music looks great on mobile and desktop platforms. Unlimited subscribers also benefit from video content, offline downloads, and a fun scrolling lyrics feature.

Amazon Music
Amazon Music
Excellent value, hi-res audio, great for Prime customers
The Deezer app being used on an iPhone.
Deezer

Deezer

Somewhere in the Goldilocks zone

Pros
  • Robust music library
  • Offline downloads
  • Includes video content and podcasts
  • CD-level quality
  • Can upload your own MP3s on desktop
  • Duo plan is now available
Cons
  • No hi-res
  • Can’t upload MP3s using mobile devices
Specs
Plans (monthly): Free / Premium: $12 / Family: $20 / Duo: $16 / Student: $6
Library Size: More than 120 million tracks
Quality: 128kbps, 320kbps, 16-bit/44.1kHz

Deezer lives in the Goldilocks zone of music streaming options. It offers a bigger library than competitors like Spotify and Apple Music and has CD-quality music, but it doesn’t touch the top-shelf hi-res content you’ll find on platforms like Tidal and Qobuz. Price-wise, though, it’s weirdly more expensive than everyone except Tidal, but Tidal gives you hi-res. Its individual plan is $12 per month, and for that, you get access to unlimited listening, lyrics, video content, offline listening, and a few other features.

Deezer is also one of the only streaming platforms that lets you upload your own tracks. While the quality is limited to MP3, and you won’t be able to do any uploading with a mobile device, it’s nice to have the ability to spread your own library across multiple gadgets.

Deezer used to have a HiFi plan that was $15 per month, but now its 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC tracks are built into its Premium and Family plans. As mentioned, this is lower quality than top-tier plans from the likes of Tidal and Qobuz, but it still packs quite a punch. Deezer free tier customers can only access MP3 files up to 128kbps, though. On a positive note, like Spotify, there's now a duo package available through Deezer for $16/month.

As for Deezer’s UI across desktop and mobile platforms, both versions are geared toward easy navigation through playlists, genre labels, and similar search criteria. There are also several recommended categories and an excellent podcast library to check out.

Deezer does a nice job at checking several of the most important boxes for what makes up a solid music streaming service. Hi-res devotees may want to look elsewhere, but we definitely think Deezer is worth trying out, so make the best of that 30-day free trial!

Deezer
Deezer
Somewhere in the Goldilocks zone
An iPhone with the YouTube Music app on it.
Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

YouTube Music

The best of music and YouTube is all here

Pros
  • Terrific music library
  • Simple pricing model
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Cool community upload features
Cons
  • No hi-res tracks
  • No editorial content
Specs
Plans (monthly): Free / Premium Individual: $11 / Family: $17 / Student: $5.50
Library Size: More than 100 million tracks
Quality: 256kbps

Last but not least, we have YouTube Music. A rebranding and consolidation of multiple Google/YouTube paid services that came before it (including Google Play and YouTube Red), YouTube Music is your one-stop-shop for everything ... music-related. Subscribers will have access to over 100 million tracks, podcasts, an intuitive lyrics tool, excellent playlists, and much more. Right off the bat, though, we'd like to let our hi-res fans know that YouTube Music caps its track quality at 256kbps.

That doesn't mean you should look away, though. In fact, we think YouTube Music has a lot going for it when it comes to overall desktop and mobile interfaces. Navigating from one panel to the next is fast and easy, with most of what you'll want to be listening to housed under the "Home" and "Library" tabs. The former is a hub for recommended content based on your listening habits, while the latter is the storage site for all your personal playlists, favorited songs and albums, and other user-specific features.

It's also a thrill to watch YouTube Music sync up to your local time of day and weather conditions. These factors affect the type of music that the platform will recommend.

Regarding pricing, there's only one paid subscription plan: YouTube Music Premium. This paid tier removes ads for desktop and mobile listening, grants you offline downloads, and gives you a sweet feature called Smart Downloads. When enabled, this lets YouTube Music automatically download your favorite songs, artists, and albums for offline listening and even adds in recommended tracks and albums.

And, of course, YouTube Music is packed with video content. When you search for a song or artist, you will get officially licensed media and see video results for YouTubers covering the song, lyric videos, and more.

YouTube Music
YouTube Music
The best of music and YouTube is all here

Editors' Recommendations

Michael Bizzaco

Michael Bizzaco has been writing about and working with consumer tech for well over a decade, writing about everything from A/V components and smart home devices to encryption software, cloud backup platforms, search engine tools, and more. He has written for Digital Trends for over three years, covering entertainment content, A/V, and smart home devices.

Derek Malcolm

Derek Malcolm is a Toronto-based technology journalist, editor, and content specialist whose work has appeared in publications such as Toronto Life, Canadian Business, The Globe and Mail, Business Insider, Today's Parent, and The Huffington Post. Derek has been covering the worlds of technology and entertainment for more than 20 years and is currently a Contributing Editor for the AV and Home Theater section at Digital Trends. When he's not obsessing over turntables, projectors, speakers, vintage audio gear, or what movies and shows to binge, Derek can be found at home spinning vinyl with his daughter.

What is hi-res audio, and how can you experience it right now?
Dlyan Wireless Headphones

High-resolution audio, hi-res audio, or even HD audio -- whatever you decide to call it (for the record, the industry prefers "hi-res audio"), it's a catch-all term that describes digital audio that goes above and beyond the level of sound quality you can expect from a garden-variety MP3 file and even CDs. It was once strictly the domain of audiophiles, but now that major streaming music services like Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, and Qobuz have embraced it, almost everyone can take advantage of what hi-res has to offer.

But what exactly is hi-res audio? What equipment do you need to listen to it? Where can you download or stream it? And does it actually sound better? We've got the answers.
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Spotify and Apple Music transfer on a smartphone.

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