Best music streaming services of 2020

The music industry has undergone monumental changes in recent years as digital platforms transform how people consume their favorite bands and artists. Now, several music streaming services provide similar offerings, equally impressive content catalogs, apps that enable offline listening and personalized content opportunities at level price points.

 Almost 37% of total recorded music revenue came from paid streaming services’ 255 million users in 2018, according to data from IFPI’s Global Music Report. A 10% decline in revenue from physical music sales and a 21.2% reduction in download revenues followed. With music streaming on the rise, we’ve compared the leading services you should consider for music streaming.

Top five music streaming services

Our methodology and research

We reviewed the major music streaming services then picked out the top five options, including the industry’s big players and those with the widest music libraries, best user experiences and highest music quality.

Number of music streaming platforms researched: 16

Criteria used: Monthly price, free trial length, size of music catalog, free streaming options, music discovery service and sound quality

Music streaming services compared

Amazon Music UnlimitedApple MusicDeezerSpotifyYouTube Music Premium
Monthly price$0.99-$19.99/mo.$9.99/mo.-$14.99/mo.$9.99/mo.-$14.99/mo.$9.99/mo.-$14.99/mo.$9.99/mo.-$14.99/mo.
Student and Family plans availableYesYesYesYesYes
Free trial length30 days3 months
6 months with Student plan
30 days
90 days with HiFi plan
3 months1 month
3 months with Premium plan
Number of songs50 million60 million56 million50 million+30 million
Highest sound quality3730 kbps256 kbps176 kbps320 kbps256 kbps
Free plan availableNoNoYesYesNo

Find your perfect music streaming service

The similarities between the most popular music streaming services make choosing one a tough task. Your selection will be dependent on your preferred listening device, the type of content you want and the service’s new music offerings.

Best high-quality music streaming service: Amazon Music Unlimited

Standout features

Amazon Music has fantastic sound quality. The launch of Amazon Music HD in September 2019 provides three to four times better quality than its rivals, making it a natural choice if that’s your major driver.

Potential drawbacks

A free version of Amazon’s music streaming service doesn’t exist, and it has a limited range of non-music content.

App availability

iOS, Android and Web browser

Best all-around music streaming platform: Apple Music

Standout features

The original streaming platform with its iTunes roots, Apple Music offers an excellent all-around service. Features like music videos, playlists, radio and podcasts appeal to Apple devotees and Android users alike. The platform features Siri and Apple Watch integration for the Apple product users. The company is also battling Spotify’s stranglehold on new music discovery with mixes based on listening history and music your friends listen to.

Potential drawbacks

There’s no free version of Apple Music.

App availability

Android, Apple Watch, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC and Sonos

Best high-quality music streaming challenger: Deezer

Standout features

Deezer has a library of 56 million songs, along with a high-quality sound that’s just been matched by Amazon. Its Flow service learns your musical likes and dislikes to provide truly personalized listening. A three-month free trial offer gives you ample time to compare it against bigger name competitors.

Potential drawbacks

Deezer lacks a free mobile app, and the desktop app isn’t available offline, which may influence your choice if you’re looking for an on-the-go service. Its music curation also lags behind Spotify and Apple.

App availability

Android, iOS, Web browser and Smartphone

Best music streaming platform for new music discovery: Spotify

Standout features

Spotify is the number one choice for expanding your musical boundaries. Collaborative, curated playlists help you discover new bands and artists based on your listening preferences. It also provides a rich library of non-music content, including audiobooks, comedy, podcasts, poetry readings and speeches.

Potential drawbacks

Spotify lacks some of its competitors’ high-resolution music, so look elsewhere if sound quality is your top priority. You also won’t get the lyric pop-ups you’ll find on other services, and its favored artist interface isn’t the most user-friendly.

App availability

iOS, Android, Mac and PC

Best for music video streaming: YouTube Music Premium

Standout features

Unlike the other music streaming platforms on this list, with the exception of Apple Music, YouTube’s service is built around videos, making it perfect if watching gigs and music videos is a key priority.

Potential drawbacks

YouTube tends to pay content creators substantially less than its competitors.

App availability

iOS, Android and Web browser

The takeaway

The days of listening to music on cassette, tape or vinyl are long gone for most people. A range of streaming platforms provides easily accessible, always available music with options for everyone, from the highest quality and widest choice of music to discovering the hottest new bands. All services offer free trials of varying lengths, giving you the chance to test them all out.

Rob Latham

Contributing Writer

Rob Latham is a writer focused on technology, music, entertainment and sports. He is particularly passionate about the role that technology plays in improving peoples’ lives and helping businesses to work more effectively. He’s written marketing content for global B2B technology brands and start-ups, founded his own music blog and is a regular contributor to soccer publications. His professional background is in content marketing, public relations and journalism, and he has a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism.