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5 music streaming services that give Spotify a run for its money

From exclusive content to top-notch sound quality, these streaming services all offer something special.


Bryan Rolli


Posted on Dec 1, 2019   Updated on May 19, 2021, 9:38 pm CDT

Chances are, when you think of music streaming services, you think of Spotify. The platform has reigned as the streaming champion for years now, boasting more than 100 million paid subscribers. But in recent years, several new music services have entered the playing field and proven legitimate alternatives to Spotify. Some of them feature lots of exclusive content, while others feature sound quality that will convert the staunchest audiophiles.

Here are five music streaming services that make strong Spotify alternatives.

Spotify alternatives: 5 music streaming services to put on your radar 


tidal hifi

Launched in 2014 and acquired by Jay-Z the following year, TIDAL is the first artist-owned streaming service and claims to pay the highest royalties of all its competitors. But it’s also a smart choice or audiophiles who don’t mind shelling out extra money for a higher-quality listening experience. TIDAL HiFi uses FLAC-based audio files, which offer a fuller and more realistic sound than mp3 files, while TIDAL Masters allow users to stream digital music in the highest possible resolution. These files have the quality of original master recordings—in other words, you’re hearing the closest version of these songs as the ones that came out of the studio.

  • Streaming quality: 320 kbps (Premium), 1,411 kbps/FLAC (HiFi)
  • Available offline: Mobile only
  • Library size: 60 million
  • Cost: $9.99 (Premium), $19.99 (HiFi)
  • Family plan: $14.99 (Premium, 6 devices), $29.99 (HiFi, 6 devices)
  • Free trial: 30 days

2) Apple Music

Spotify alternatives: Apple Music

For $9.99 a month, an Apple Music subscription gets users access to roughly 50 million songs, on par with Spotify’s catalog. Apple Music also evaluates your tastes and listening habits to suggest new music, similar to Spotify’s discovery features. It’s also home to plenty of exclusive content, music videos, and live radio stations, such as Nicki Minaj’s Queen Radio. Apple Music is only available on desktop via iTunes, which leaves a lot to be desired, but the iOS app is aesthetically pleasing and easily navigable, making this a strong choice for iPhone users.

  • Streaming quality: 256 kbps
  • Available offline: Yes
  • Library size: 50 million
  • Cost: $9.99
  • Family plan: $14.99 (6 devices)
  • Free trial: 30 days

3) Deezer

Spotify alternatives: Deezer

French company Deezer is a multifaceted streaming service that combines a catalog of 53 million songs with live radio, podcasts, song lyrics, and other features. Its HiFi plan offers lossless sound quality à la TIDAL HiFi, and similar to Google Play, it allows users to upload their own mp3 files on desktop. Though it lacks certain bells and whistles like Spotify’s collaborative playlists or TIDAL’s videos, its Flow feature evaluates your listening history and crafts recommended soundtracks that cater to your tastes. If you want a no-frills music streaming app with excellent sound quality, Deezer makes for a strong Spotify alternative.

  • Streaming quality: 128 kbps (ad-supported), 320 kbps (Premium), 1,411 kbps/FLAC (Elite)
  • Available offline: Yes
  • Library size: 53 million
  • Cost: $9.99 (Premium), $14.99 (Elite)
  • Family plan: $14.99 (6 devices)
  • Free trial: 30 days

4) Google Play

Spotify alternatives: Google Play Music

Functionally, Google Play is largely similar to Spotify, Apple Music, and the other streaming big dogs. Users can choose between a free, ad-supported plan and a paid, unlimited plan, with access to 40 million songs. It’s also got curated playlists and artist-specific stations, but its real calling card is its music locker, which allows users to upload up to 50,000 of their own audio files to the service. Users can access the music locker via Google Chrome or Google’s Music Manager software. Now you can finally listen to your band’s unreleased demos and YouTube rips whenever and wherever you want.

  • Streaming quality: 320 kbps
  • Available offline: Mobile only
  • Library size: 35 million
  • Cost: $9.99 (basic)
  • Family plan: $14.99 (6 devices)
  • Free trial: 30 days

5) YouTube Music

Spotify alternatives: YouTube Music

YouTube Music builds off the foundation laid by Google Play to put its own stamp on the music streaming market. It boasts unparalleled discovery and search features along with a robust library of live performances, cover songs, and of course, YouTube music videos. By incorporating YouTube’s massive video catalog and Google’s search functions into an easy-to-use app, YouTube Music has become a legitimate contender in the music streaming wars.

  • Streaming quality: up to 256 kbps
  • Available offline: Yes
  • Library size: 30 million
  • Cost: $9.99 (YouTube Music Premium), $11.99 (YouTube Premium)
  • Family plan: $14.99 (6 devices)
  • Free trial: 30 days

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*First Published: Dec 1, 2019, 11:57 am CST