Music streaming service The past was mainly defined by their song library. For example, Taylor Swift may be on Apple Music but not on Spotify, and Tidal initially focused on hip-hop. Today, these services have similar catalogs, offering millions of songs and playlists, and they usually release new albums at the same time. It shouldn’t be too much trouble to find your favorite artist on any of them.
What separates them today is the quality of music discovery—whether based on algorithms or manual curation—the user experience of desktop and mobile apps, the devices you can use them on, and the quality of their sound. Most of them have free tiers, but if you subscribe and pay a monthly fee, the experience will improve. We tested them and these are our favorites.Be sure to check our many other buying guides, including Best wireless headphones, Best wireless earbuds, with The cheapest headphones.
Update July 2021: We have reordered our selections with new features, and we have also added slides explaining lossless audio formats and how to determine your needs. We also added information about Amazon Music scrolling its advanced HD layer to an infinite layer.
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