7 Best Music Streaming Services  – for Audiophiles & Casuals
Discover the best music streaming services for Audiophiles & Casuals music enthusiasts. This comprehensive review explores the finest platforms for accessing an extensive collection of tracks from your favorite artists. We compare the eight best services available in the current year with varying factors such as audio quality, app compatibility, speed, user interface, music library size, and pricing. Prepare to make an informed choice and embark on your music streaming journey!
1. Spotify – Best Music Streaming Services for Audiophiles & Casuals
Spotify, the leading streaming platform globally, holds its position for valid reasons. While it may not fully satisfy devoted audiophiles seeking the utmost audio quality, it remains unmatched for everyday listeners who prioritize convenience and variety.
Spotify stands out with its superior integrations and device compatibility. It offers fast performance, a wide range of features, a generous free tier, excellent podcast integration, and one of the largest music catalogs in the world, with over 80 million tracks and a vast collection of famous artists.
Spotify currently lacks a HiFi option but plans to introduce it. The maximum bitrate for audio streaming is 320 kbps, which may not be noticeable to casual listeners. Additionally, Spotify has lower artist payouts than other platforms, which may impact those who prioritize supporting artists.
- Compatible with a wide range of devices
- Offers outstanding recommendations and discovery
- Provides advanced features
- Includes a reliable free option
- Features an extensive music collection
- Lack of a high-fidelity (HiFi) tier
- Artists receive a low payout
- Subject to controversies
You can begin with Spotify’s free plan; however, it has limitations and includes advertisements. For an enhanced listening experience, Spotify Premium is available for $9.99 per month for individuals or $15.99 per month for a family plan. Additionally, a discounted student plan is priced at $4.99 per month. Try Spotify Free Here!
2. Apple Music – Best Music Streaming Services for Audiophiles & Casuals
If you’re deeply entrenched in Apple’s ecosystem, Apple Music becomes the clear and natural selection. Its seamless integration with Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads and compatibility with Siri, Dolby Atmos for immersive ‘Spatial Audio,’ and other supported devices make it an apparent preference. Additionally, Apple Music holds the distinction of being the second most widely utilized streaming service.
Apple Music offers top-notch AAC audio quality that closely resembles the original recordings. They have added a true HiFi option, allowing subscribers to access the entire catalog in lossless audio compression (ALAC) at resolutions up to 24-bit/192 kHz. The best part? HiFi is included in standard subscriptions without any additional cost.
However, Apple Music has its flaws. In my opinion, the main drawback is the absence of a dedicated Windows app. It may not be the most suitable option if you primarily use Android or Windows devices. And the speed of the Apple Music app could be improved.
- Seamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem
- Support for lossless audio formats
- Exceptional audio quality
- Cost-effective pricing
- Could benefit from improved speed
- No availability of a Windows/Android app
The Apple Voice subscription comes at a monthly cost of $4.99. To fully unlock the extensive capabilities of Apple Music, users can opt for the Individual plan priced at $9.99 per month or choose the Family plan available for $14.99 per month. Try a 1-month free trial today!
3. YouTube Music – Best Music Streaming Services for Audiophiles & Casuals
YouTube Music serves as Google’s response to Spotify, offering users another reliable streaming service option. One notable feature is its integration of music videos, providing a unique and enjoyable experience. Moreover, YouTube Music comes bundled with YouTube Premium at no extra cost. If you were already considering a subscription to YouTube Premium, opting for YouTube Music becomes an obvious choice.
In the app, you can choose between Song or Video mode when playing a track. Video mode lets you watch the music video while listening. YouTube Music performs well, offers good recommendations, and integrates with Google Assistant-powered devices. The downside is the lower audio quality, capped at 256kbps with no HiFi option. However, it remains suitable for casual listeners.
- Compatibility with various devices
- Inclusion of music videos
- Attractive interface
- Fast performance
- Cost-effective option with YouTube Premium
- Limited sound quality (256kbps bitrate)
- Absence of HiFi option
To access YouTube Music Premium, you can subscribe for $9.99 per month ($4.99 for students). Another option is to opt for YouTube Premium at $12 per month, which provides ad-free YouTube videos along with YouTube Music included. Try it Now!
4. Amazon Music – Streaming Services
Amazon Music is an affordable HiFi option if you are an existing Prime member. Additionally, it serves as a reliable choice for streaming music through Alexa devices, such as the popular Amazon Echo. Like Apple Music, Amazon Music offers high-quality audio with CD-quality bitrates of 16-bit on over 75 million tracks and even more in 24-bit.
In addition to the vast music catalog, Amazon Music provides a spatial audio experience for headphones, creating an immersive, surround-sound ambiance. Amazon Music is compatible with various devices through the web player or desktop app, including Android and iOS apps and desktops.
Integration with Amazon home speaker products, such as the Amazon Echo, is unmatched by other streaming services. However, Amazon Music’s app interface could be improved regarding the organization and user experience. Certain limitations, like the inability to favorite artists, can be frustrating compared to other platforms.
- Seamless integration with smart devices
- High-quality HiFi audio
- Affordable for Prime subscribers
- Extensive music catalog
- Subpar user experience
- Concerns regarding support for Amazon due to controversies
Amazon Music Unlimited subscriptions begin at $9.99 or $8.99 monthly for individuals with a Prime membership. A complimentary trial period of three months is also provided. Get Free 30 days trial!
5. Deezer – Streaming Services
Deezer stands as an excellent streaming platform that merits exploration. With a vast library of more than 90 million HiFi songs, users can enjoy the immersive experience of lossless, top-notch audio formats. Moreover, Deezer offers an expanding collection of 360 Reality Audio tracks to enhance your listening pleasure further.
Deezer offers a Lyrics feature for singing along, a download function for offline listening, and a SongCatcher tool that identifies and adds songs playing around you to your playlist. Deezer is comparable to Spotify in terms of apps and integrations, available in most locations and even somewhere Spotify isn’t accessible.
Like Tidal, Deezer employs a user-centric payout system that directs subscription payments to the artists you listen to the most. However, be aware of Deezer’s content limits, such as caps on the number of tracks, playlists, and artists you can add to your favorites.
- Unique functionalities Availability across various platforms
- Supportive of artists
- High-fidelity audio experience
- Room for improvement in the user interface
- Restrictions on content quantity
Deezer provides a Free plan supported by ads. The Premium plan is priced at $10.99 monthly, while the Family plan is available for $17.99 monthly. You can enjoy a complimentary one-month trial period to test it out.
6. IDAGIO – Streaming Services
IDAGIO is the premier music streaming service designed specifically for classical music lovers, akin to Spotify for this genre. It is the only audio streaming and concert subscription service dedicated to classical music, aiming to unite artists and passionate listeners. With a vast collection of curated classical pieces, IDAGIO offers a seamless browsing experience with comprehensive metadata for easy exploration of composers, conductors, instruments, genres, and more. Discover essential listening and themed playlists with the click of a button.
Additionally, IDAGIO goes beyond traditional streaming services. It features exclusive live performances on prestigious stages through its concert hall, fosters networking among classical music enthusiasts and artists in interactive creative spaces, and offers more unique features to enhance the classical music experience.
- Thoughtfully curated collection of classical music
- Comprehensive metadata
- Impressive exploration options
- Live to stream of concerts
- Limited to classical music genre only
- Availability on fewer devices compared to Spotify
IDAGIO provides a free basic plan for users. Paid subscription options begin at $9.99 per month. Subscribe now!
7. Tidal – Streaming Services
Tidal is renowned as a superior music streaming service, especially favored by audiophiles due to its excellent high-fidelity platform. The sound quality is remarkable, offering diverse audio formats catering to individual preferences.
Tidal provides users with three primary format options for music streaming:
- The ‘Normal’ AAC format (160 kbps) for efficient data usage.
- The ‘HiFi’ Lossless / FLAC format (1411 kbps) for a superior streaming experience with CD-quality sound.
- The ‘Master’ high-res MQA format (2304-9216 kbps) for the utmost authenticity and flawless audio, replicating the artist’s original intent (available exclusively on HiFi Plus).
Some experts question the effectiveness of MQA, suggesting it may be inferior to the FLAC format. However, it’s still worth trying if you’re interested. HiFi Plus subscribers can enjoy innovative audio formats like Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio for an enhanced listening experience.
Tidal stands out in its support for artists, offering better payouts than other platforms. Up to 10% of your subscription fee goes directly to the artists you listen to the most. Tidal’s appealing features include its sleek interface, integration with Plex Media Service, and compatibility with various devices. Drawbacks have concerns with MQA formats, occasional app bugs, and room for improvement in the discovery and shuffle algorithms.
- Platform prioritizes artists with a sound payout system
- Outstanding HiFi audio quality
- Sleek and appealing interface
- Strong integration capabilities.
- Occasional bugs
- Concerns with MQA format Discovery
- Shuffle algorithms could be improved.
For a standard HiFi subscription, the monthly cost is $9.99. Opting for HiFi Plus, which offers MQA and immersive audio options, will set you back $19.99 monthly. Additionally, Tidal provides Family plans and discounted options for further flexibility. Try a Free Trial Here!
To wrap up our review of the top music streaming services, here are our recommendations: Spotify is a solid choice if you prefer a casual listening experience and prioritize features, user interface, and compatibility over HiFi audio quality. If you are already subscribed to YouTube Premium or enjoy watching music videos alongside your music, YouTube Music is a suitable option. Apple Music is worth considering for those deeply integrated into the Apple ecosystem and seeking to listen on Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad, or Macbook, or if HiFi audio quality is a priority.