Music is life, or so it is for a lot of us. Everywhere we go, music is prevalent and when music was digitized, it was only a matter of time that we would have instant access to it anytime at a touch of a button.
It started with smart devices and now applications like Spotify have paved the way for music streaming so we can listen to our favorite artists and songs wherever we go.
Whether you’d like to listen to songs while working or relaxing in your bedroom or the beach, digital music streaming has got you covered.
Spotify is a Swedish audio streaming platform that does not only contain millions of music from artists but also content like podcasts and much more.
It was founded by Daniel Ek in 2006 and since then it has been the go-to platform for artists to showcase their creations and fans to access their favorite songs.
But, Spotify does not stand alone, although they have a large piece of the pie in this industry, there are several quality alternatives as well.
In this article we have researched the most popular apps like Spotify so that you can have different options when looking for music streaming apps and sites.
The ranking below is in no particular order.
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Speaking of Swedish-founded audio streaming platforms, Soundcloud was also founded in the same country by Eric Wahlforss at right about the same time, 2007. Soundcloud caters to over 30 million artists with about 240 million tracks.
Soundcloud is the “broadcast-yourself” version for audio clips as opposed to video clips of YouTube. That is its main difference compared to Spotify. Anyone, any artist has got the freedom to upload their creations on Soundcloud without the curation or process imposed by Spotify.
It’s a creators’ dream platform where potential fans or studios can check out anyone’s work for free. This freedom has lead to so many careers that have blossomed and eventually reached the mainstream. Artists from all sorts of genre that are too many to even mention.
It’s more than just a digital audio streaming platform but a community. People share their work on it, follow fellow artists back and help each other out. There are more than just songs on it, there are podcasts, musical scores, beats, and all sorts of audio creations on it, underground or mainstream.
Whether it’s your passion project, just made out of a hobby, or meant to start a career, your content is accepted on Soundcloud.
- PRO Unlimited: $144/year
- Repost: $30/year
The above is for music creators.
Apple Music is perhaps Spotify’s toughest competitor and we can say its one of the best alternatives if you are an Apple fan.
When you talk about digital music distribution Apple Music is always there with Spotify. It’s the music or audio streaming platform of the tech giant Apple obviously, and it contains similar music content like Spotify does.
Stream music, podcasts, radio stations, and all sorts of audio content on it. They have over 75 million songs that you can either play or download if you have a premium subscription.
Its biggest advantage? Well, its interoperability with all Apple products.
- Student: $4.99/month
- Individual: $9.99/month
- Family: $14.99/month
The YouTube Music App has not been around for long. It was launched in 2015, but you know, it helps if you are the music streaming arm of an already established Internet giant and a subsidiary of Google to boot because you’d surely already have a strong place in the market right on the get-go.
YouTube Music App gives you the option to either check out the video of the song you’d choose as well. Also, the platform boasts not only the original versions of the songs but also remixes, playlists etc, and songs on it are easily sorted or organized in playlists.
You’ll have access to artists’ music creations as well as full albums and you can listen to them for free, but of course, you’d have to deal with a few advertisements.
Upgrade to premium and you’ll get rid of the ads altogether. YouTube Music App boasts an algorithm that will adapt to either your listening habits or location. Worth checking out for sure.
- Free with Ads
- Premium (no-ads): $9.99 USD / month
LiveXLive or Live by Live is a music streaming and live video performance platform at the same time. Their content can be accessed on the web, their mobile app, and OTT devices.
One of its known features is giving its users the ability to create and at the same time, share customized music stations.
It is powered by Slacker (formerly Slacker Radio) and offers global coverage and massive collection of music. The same as with most of the music streaming platforms on our list, LiveXLive offers subscription, free, or ad-supported tier as well.
- Free option
- LiveXLive Plus: $3.99 / month
- LiveXLive Premium: $9.99 / month
Last FM is one of the oldest audio streaming platforms on our list. Founded way back in 2002, at the very least, Last FM is a platform worth mentioning right here on our list.
It had an algorithm known as AudioScrobbler and was responsible for making a detailed profile for a listener’s musical taste whether from digital radio stations or your device.
CBS Interactive acquired it for $240 million in 2007 but its radio streaming service was discontinued in 2014. Right now, its large database of music is replaced by links to either Spotify or YouTube.
You can connect your favorite streaming service to Last FM (such as Spotify, Apple, Youtube etc) so that the service can track your music history and create stats and recommendations about new music and artists .
Deezer is another one of those giants in the audio streaming platform category. It’s always Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer. Deezer is based in France and was also founded in, you guessed it, 2007.
As of 2019, it boasts 14 million subscribers with about half of that as paying accounts. The service or the app is available across all operating systems. So, if it offers no different features than Spotify or Apple Music, why go for it?
Well, Deezer boasts better audio quality overall, if you are someone who notices the very subtle difference with audio quality. Deezer offers Hi-Fi settings to choose from.
- Free: Deezer Free (73 million tracks, Ad supported)
- Deezer Premium (73 million tracks, No Ads): $9.99 / month:
- Deezer Family (73 million tracks, No Ads, 6 accounts): $14.99 / month:
Pandora is another of those that has a brand that’s almost synonymous with music streaming. It was founded way back in 2000 in the US. The content recommendation for Pandora is based on one of the earliest algorithms for content creation ever created, the Music Genome Project.
The Music Genome Project aims to classify songs down to their core musical trait meant for accuracy. It was originally launched as an internet radio service and it was acquired by Sirius XM in 2019.
You can even listen to podcasts among a selection of 1400 available shows. It runs on a freemium model which means that there is a free and limited plan supported by ads and also paid subscriptions.
- Pandora Plus: $4.99 USD/month or $54.89 USD/year.
- Pandora Premium: $9.99 USD/month or $109.89 USD/year.
- Pandora Premium Family: $14.99 USD monthly or $164.89 annually.
This list won’t be complete without Amazon Music Prime. Because Amazon is currently one of the biggest brands in the world and they have their hands on almost everything, video and music content streaming wouldn’t be outside their product line either.
Well, Amazon Music Prime is included in all Prime subscriptions with no additional charge. It contains over 2 million songs with radio stations and playlists all at your behest ad-free. You can also listen to songs offline with skipping capacity.
It’s pretty much just one major add-on to anything Amazon can offer.
Moreover, if you subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited, you get access to over 70 million songs, unlimited access, ad-free on-demand music. This is an extra cost above the Prime membership.
- Amazon Music Prime: With Prime Subscription ($12.99 / month)
- Amazon Music Unlimited: Prime Subscription + $7.99 / month
Soundhound is rather an interesting application. It is primarily what you call a tune finder app. You either sing or just hum a melody of a song and it will find it for you as accurately as it could.
Most of the time, it’s quite accurate due to its vast database and algorithm that allows for it to tap into other streaming platforms for content.
Due to its interactivity, it can be integrated for use with other apps or platforms. You can now play songs hands-free from Apple Music or Spotify through it and it returns more than just what song you’re looking for but also its artists, album, and lyrics.
Tidal is a platform for high-fidelity music streaming. They boast to be the first to offer such together with high fidelity videos with curated playlists as well as original content.
You can access Tidal content for free for 30-days (trial) but of course, you’ll be limited to their curated selections of both audio & video tracks. You can also access their full selection of more than 70 million songs if you opt for a subscription.
This Norwegian-based streaming platform boasts lossless audio quality with high-definition music.
Their plans are based on music quality. The Premium plan ($9.99 / month) streams music at Standard sound quality (320 KBPS), and the HiFi plan ($19.99 per month) streams music at HiFi sound quality (1411 KBPS).
- Premium plan: $9.99 / month (320 Kbps sound)
- HiFi plan: $19.99 / month (1411 KBPS)
Bandcamp is a music streaming platform and community that emphasizes giving artists or aspiring musicians the opportunity to put their music out and get fair compensation for their work. They can successfully gain fans on the platform and eventually start a career.
Bandcamp’s many programs aim to shine the spotlight on underground or lesser-known artists to serve as a platform where they will eventually be discovered by the mainstream.
Pretty much, it’s more than just a place to listen to music on but a platform and a community that is pro-musician.
They offer advanced analytics to better track your numbers whether you are on the rise or need to put in more work to widen your fan-base and eventually get people to listen to your songs.
You can create an account as either a Creator Artist or a Fan on the platform. It is Free for Fans.
- Free for Fans
- Artists Account: Free but BandCamp takes some percent in revenue share.
- BandCamp Pro: $10 / month
iHearRadio is the radio streaming platform of iHeartMedia arguably the largest radio broadcaster in the US. You may listen to your favorite songs, podcasts, & radio stations on it completely for free.
You can also listen to news, sports, and many more so it’s definitely not just for music. iHeartRadio is known for its live shows and performances by the top bands, acts, or artists in the country which further helps their brand as a staple for anything music.
Speaking of versatile content, Tune In Radio won’t be left behind. It’s a radio streaming service that offers not only music but also news, radio, music, sports, podcasts.
They have 75 million active users monthly and they are based in San Francisco, California.
They, of course, have an ad-free tier. Tune In Radio is just a one-stop-shop for content and they are one of the biggest streaming platforms in the country. Their ad-free tier is also quite affordable so anyone can definitely take advantage of it.
They offer one of the best free Internet Radio streaming content though so there probably won’t be any need to upgrade, just saying.
- Premium: $9.99 / month
8tracks offers a different dynamic when it comes to listening to music. Well, for one, it’s not just an internet radio but a social networking platform at the same time. Their concept is to allow users to curate a playlist that will then only consist of 8 tracks.
They also have a paid subscription tier but is only available for anyone living within North America. 8tracks though has some royalty payment issues and stopped their services in 2019 but has since resumed last April 2020.
You can enjoy millions of free songs from indie artists curated by people around the world.
- Free plan
- Paid Plan: $4.99 / month
Shark Music is one of the music streaming platforms that boasts high-quality music and at the same time, ease when it comes to creating playlists.
Have you heard about Grooveshark? Well, the Shark Music app allows for easy searching of Grooveshark playlists although they are not affiliated with them.
This streaming app will also allow for easy access to your favorite singers and songs. It’s got a smooth interface, fun playlists that will automatically give you the kind of mood you’re looking for, has a very quick but accurate search engine, and at the same time, a responsive player.
It may not be as popular as the rest of the apps or streaming platforms we’ve featured on this list but it offers just as good a listening experience.
You probably have heard of Vevo without us even discussing what it is. But since it is one of the best alternatives for Spotify, we are going to talk about it a little bit. Vevo is short for Video Evolution.
And they are a multinational video hosting service provider. They are perhaps famous for their music videos by some of the top artists around the world (as played on Youtube among other platforms).
This platform came to be as a collaboration between 3 of the largest record companies perhaps in the world, EMI, Sony Music, and Universal Music Group.
They have an enormous reach and have countless music videos that have millions even billions of views online.
Shazam is perhaps the biggest competitor of Soundhound. As you can remember, Soundhound was a song finder app that offers a lot of other services and Shazam is pretty much the same.
It helps you discover music, charts, and also including song lyrics. What’s more is that Shazam can more than just identify music but also movies, TV shows, and even commercials based on just a few seconds of audio you’ll let it deduce from through your device’s mic.
Innovative, right? Go check it out!