What Streaming Service is Best for You?

These past few years, there is an endless variation of streaming services for music but Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube Music are the top three services that people are using. 

All three have fanbases who appreciate the different features and benefits that set the services apart from others. In order to make it more difficult to choose between the three, all of them have subscription plans made to compete with one another. 

Spotify, Apple Music, Or YouTube Music? 

Spotify is the oldest streaming service out of the three as it was launched in 2008. Both Apple Music and YouTube Music were in introduced in 2015 and each of the service has made significant strides since they were launched to be named as rivals to Spotify. 

Deciding which of the three to get is tough. Each streaming service has access to millions of songs and podcasts and they all do so for almost the same costs. 

Both Apple Music and YouTube Music have the same price for its individual and family plans and it allows for the same amount of profiles.  

YouTube Music is directly intertwined with the video platform that made YouTube a popular platform, meaning that music videos can be accessed just as easily as the music itself. 

While both Apple Music and Spotify technically have a selection of music videos on their respective apps, but it is not as great as that of YouTube Music. 

Meanwhile, Apple Music has amazing compatibility across Apple devices, including the ability to download and to stream music straight to Apple Watches even when an iPhone is not around. 

Apple Music also allows users to download up to 100,000 songs to their library for if they wish to listen online. While Spotify caps out at 10,000 downloaded songs, though Spotify did recently roll out the same compatibility with Apple Watches as Apple Music. 

So which is the best? Spotify is in no doubt the best all-around service because of its wide selection of music and podcasts and it has direct compatibility with a wide range of devices including Sonos speakers, something that YouTube Music lacks. 

However, Apple Music might be a great option for Apple users because of how it works with Apple devices. And YouTube Music would surely be the service of choice for anyone who wishes to access music videos. Figuring out which streaming service is best comes down to your needs. 

Here are the Specs of each platform to help you make the right choice for you: 

Spotify: 

  • Huge selection of music 
  • Shareable Playlists 
  • Podcasts  
  • Up to 320kbps quality 

Spotify has become synonymous with music streaming, as the company has gone from strength to strength over the past few years and established itself as the world’s most popular service, boasting over 200 million active users. 

This popularity is aided by the various tiers on offer. There’s a free version that’s ad-supported, but which still gives you access to the 40-odd million songs on the platform. If you want offline listening on your phone then the Premium subscription is the way to go, while students benefit from their own tier that offers Premium at half price. 

As is now the norm, a family subscription is available which consists of six premium accounts, while Duo covers a couple. Various Premium plans recently got a price hike. 

Here’s the full range: 

  • Free (ad-supported) 
  • Student Premium: £5.99  
  • Premium: £9.99  
  • Duo: £13.99 
  • Family: £16.99 
  • Lossless: Spotify HIFI coming 2021 

As I’ve already mentioned, there’s a huge selection of music available, and this is accompanied by playlists Spotify creates based on your listening habits, called Discover Weekly. There’s also Release Radar and Time Capsule that highlight new and classic tracks that the service thinks you’ll enjoy, plus radio stations built around certain songs and artists. 

Podcasts are a recent addition, with plenty to choose from, and there are also a splattering of music documentaries and live performance videos. Add to this the social element that allows you to share directly playlists with friends, while also being able see what they’re currently listening to, and it’s a potent mix for discovering and enjoying new music. 

Apple Music: 

  • Exclusive albums 
  • iTunes library integration 
  • Beats 1 radio 
  • Up to Hi-Res quality coming 2021 

Apple may have entered the streaming market a bit later than some of its competitors, but that hasn’t stopped it recently taking the top slot in the US as the most used service. There’s an obvious link with iPhones, iPads, and Macs, but Apple Music is also available on Android and PCs, making it an option no matter which hardware you prefer. 

A catalogue of over 50 million songs gives it an advantage over the likes of Spotify and Google Play Music in terms of choice, and just like those services Apple Music offers custom playlists each week created around the songs you listen to regularly. There are also playlists generated by the tracks your friends are enjoying, plus numerous top 100 charts from all around the world. 

A number of exclusives are offered, such as live performances, special sessions, and interviews with popular and emerging artists. This is accompanied by the Beats 1 radio station that has live shows with DJs such as Zane Lowe, and a large selection of other stations that cover specific genres. Music videos are also available, so you can turn your iPad or iPhone into MTV, plus the service integrates your existing iTunes library into search results, so you can easily include them in playlists. 

Apple Music has come a long way in a short time, making it an excellent all-rounder for music, radio, and video content. Best of all there’s a free three-month trial so you can explore its features without spending any money. Here are the paid options (monthly pricing): 

  • Student: £4.99  
  • Individual: £9.99  
  • Family: £14.99  

YouTube Premium: 

  • Wide range of music videos 
  • Links to your YouTube library 
  • Exclusive live performances 
  • Up to 256kbps 
  •  

Google’s newest platform is YouTube Music Premium, which combines a classic music streaming service with a large selection of music videos. There’s the expected range of playlists and new releases, plus the added features of being able to listen to YouTube in the background, no ads, and offline listening. 

While you might expect something with YouTube in the title to be a video-only service, you’re able to turn off the visuals and revert all content to audio instead. This saves not only battery life and data on mobile devices, but also means you can put together an impressive collection of live, rare, and official versions of songs that you wouldn’t get on another platform. 

A free tier allows you take access all content, but these are interrupted by ads, can’t be downloaded, and require you screen on to hear them. Moving up to the Premium level removes these restrictions, and there are the now standard levels for students, individuals, and families. All of these come with a one-month free trial, so you can give the YouTube Music Premium a proper test-run to see how it stacks up against the competition. 

On the downside is that streaming is limited to just 256kbps even if you get one of the paid tiers. This is one of the lowest around and not even MP3 quality. 

These are the monthly plan costs: 

  • Free 
  • Student: £4.99  
  • Individual: £9.99  
  • Family: £14.99  

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