Which Streaming Service is the Best in 2020?
The streaming industry in 2020 is dominated by three major companies: Spotify, Apple, and Amazon. With each of these giants offering a music streaming service at roughly the same cost (for a single user, ad-free experience at a monthly fee), which is the most worthy of your hard-earned cash? We’ve compiled all the important information on each service to ensure you get the best experience – whether you’re a casual listener or a hardcore audiophile.
With 96 million premium subscribers and roughly 170 million users overall, Spotify remains the undisputed king of musical streaming in purely statistical terms. It’s easy to see why when the service offers a decent enough free version (so long as you don’t mind adverts every few songs), an excellent array of other content like podcasts and plenty of choice in terms of subscriptions, like the recently launched ‘duo’ package which offers two premium accounts for a discounted price of $12.99 – a bargain when considering that a single premium subscription typically costs $9.99.
The service is also favored by many for the fact it has a native app for pretty much every device and operating system, avoiding the need to stream through a web browser that can often be an incredibly lackluster experience.
Pros: Native app, free version, streams at 320kbps (higher than Apple Music), and a large choice of subscription models.
Cons: No live content, smaller music library.
Apple’s streaming service is Spotify’s main foe in the battle for streaming supremacy, offering an incredibly similar premium model for the same price of $9.99 per month (though, unlike Spotify, does not offer a free alternative). The subscription unlocks a massive library of 60 million songs (compared to Spotify’s 50 million) as well as offering live content like Beats 1 radio, alongside podcasts, comedy, and other content.
It is arguably the best choice for iOS users, given how well the service integrates with aspects of Apple’s software such as Siri. The service also works nicely if you already have a decent catalog of iTunes music.
As mentioned before, Apple offers subscription models that are near-enough the same as Spotify’s – the family pass allows up to six users for one fixed price and students get a 50% discount – but offer a much larger free trial period of three months compared to Spotify’s one month trial; many people may appreciate the extra time to decide if the service is for them.
Pros: Massive content library, live content, free 90-day trial, well-integrated with iOS.
Cons: No free version, lower streaming quality than Spotify Premium.
Amazon Music Unlimited/Music HD
Amazon already offers a streaming service, Prime Music, to all Amazon Prime subscribers but Unlimited represents a fully-fledged experience, upgrading the music library from a mere 2 million to an insane 60 million.
As per usual, the service is available for $9.99 per month but prime subscribers can get it for the lower price of $7.99 as well as household plans and student discounts.
Also available is Music HD, offering streaming at double the bitrate of its competitors as well as Ultra HD on some songs which offers up to 10x the normal bitrate – some of the highest fidelity streaming available. This inevitably costs slightly more at $14.99 per month ($12.99 for Prime subscribers).
Unlimited also integrates well with Amazon Echo devices and is available on a single device for the heavily discounted price of $3.99 per month, which may be worth considering if you only casually stream music.
Pros: Free version, Ultra HD streaming, large catalog of music.
Cons: Lacking in live content & podcasts, expensive when considering price of Amazon Prime subscription.
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