If you’re a music lover, you know how important it is to have access to a vast library of songs and albums at your fingertips. With so many different streaming services to choose from, it can be tough to know which one is the right fit for you. The pressure gets even worse when you factor in the idea that whichever service you pick will be where you build your catalog over time.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the top music streaming services available in 2023 and help you decide which is the best for your needs. Whether you’re looking for a service with the latest hits, a wide variety of genres, or exclusive content, we’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of music streaming in 2023.
These are in no particular order as we shall be exploring the top players in the streaming space right now. We shall look at the basics including offline listening, customized playlists, and the ability to stream music on multiple devices, and also look at perks that are exclusive to each. Let’s dig into the music streaming services in 2023.
- Price: $11.99/month
Google has a history of being pretty bad with some of its products, axing many and reimagining some. Google Play Music was a brilliant idea but was no match for the competitive space that it found itself.
Like its predecessor, Google Play Music, YouTube Music allows you to upload your own music collection and stream it alongside a library of songs. It boasts standout features like the ability to seamlessly switch between listening to a song and watching a video, courtesy of the power of YouTube.
However, the service has a few sore omissions. YouTube Music also has no podcast support of live radio, something that other players are doubling down on to add a little more value.
Perhaps the biggest drawback for YT Music is the limited availability. For instance, I don’t have official YouTube Music support in Kenya and I had to resort to using VPNs. Also, the free tier is borderline punitive. There are way too many ads, no background playback, and music selection is a hassle.
Also, one thing I found unacceptable is the lyrics implementation on this platform. While other platforms sync the lyrics to the music, YouTube Music dumps the whole text for you to figure it out. For a Google product, this is just bad. Really bad.
These issues aside, the app works and works well. There is no standalone client for Windows or Mac but you can install this as a PWA from your browser and that seems to work well.
In my opinion, it doesn’t really make sense to subscribe to this platform as a standalone. YouTube bundles this service when you purchase YouTube Premium and I think that’s a much more reasonable way of getting access to YT Music. There are better options on this list as you will see shortly.
This service offers a large music library, exclusive content, and the ability to download songs for offline listening. It also integrates with other Apple products and services. It also has a strong focus on curation, Apple Music offers expertly crafted playlists and a wide range of exclusive content.
The Apple Music app on mobile is pretty sleek and smooth but I must say, it feels a little clunky sometimes, even on capable hardware. The search function is not as snappy as I would like but maybe that’s because I have used others that are faster. But in a vacuum, this is negligible.
Cider is an open-source Apple Music client that has made my life a lot easier and is a more befitting desktop companion for Apple Music. It is available on Windows and Linux and fills in the gap for not having a dedicated Apple Music desktop app. Although iTunes works well on Windows, that app is antiquated.
We could talk about how Apple Music supports lossless audio but honestly, most people will never take advantage of this as the difference is virtually indistinguishable from 320kbps or even 256kbps so save your bandwidth and turn that off.
One thing that I absolutely love about Apple Music is Beats Radio. It offers a variety of live and on-demand radio stations, including Beats 1, which features live DJ-curated music and interviews with artists. In addition to Beats 1, Apple Music Radio includes a variety of other stations across a range of genres, such as Pop, Hip Hop, Country, and Rock.
Apple Music does not have a free tier. That said, the pricing varies from country to country, and in Kenya, the Student package costs $1.99 a month, the standard individual plan goes for $3.29 a month while the family plans go for 5.49 a month. There is also a Voice plan in other regions but that isn’t available here.
- Price: Free tier, and a $9.99 per month individual plan
Spotify gives you access to millions of songs, podcasts, and videos from artists all over the world. The platform has a few tiers to suit your needs. You can listen to music for free on the free plan which is ad-supported and has control limits on mobile with a limited number of skips and song selections. Or, you can upgrade to a premium subscription to get access to additional features such as offline listening, ad-free listening, and higher-quality audio.
In addition to individual tracks, Spotify also offers a range of personalized playlists, such as Discover Weekly and Daily Mix, which are based on your listening history and preferences. These are made using the almighty algorithm that’s made Spotify one of the best platforms when it comes to discovering new music.
Spotify is available on a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and smart speakers. There’s also a desktop app for Linux, macOS, and Windows. This is the gold standard in terms of platform support.
Spotify is also going after other audio categories with the recent introduction of audiobooks on top of the already available Podcasts. This makes it a more comprehensive solution for audiophiles.
Deezer is a music streaming service that offers a variety of music, podcasts, and other audio content to users around the world. Like other music streaming services, Deezer allows users to listen to millions of songs and other audio tracks on demand, create and share playlists, and discover new music through personalized recommendations.
Deezer is available on a variety of platforms, including desktop with clients for Windows and Mac and a web version for others like Linux and ChromeOS. There is also support for mobile devices, and home audio systems.
Deezer offers a range of subscription plans to suit different users’ needs. The service is available in over 180 countries, with localized versions available in many regions. Deezer also offers a free, ad-supported tier in addition to paid subscription plans although this limits playback controls, introduces ads and limits audio quality.
As we’ve seen with these other platforms, there is usually a bonus feature that a service offers. For Deezer, that is SoundCatcher. This tool allows Deezer to ‘Shazam’ songs for you and when it identifies it, gives you the option to add it to your library or play it immediately.
Deezer also supports Podcasts but don’t depend on this entirely, especially not for those obscure titles coz the catalog is a little limited. There is also support for Live Radio but then again, the options are limited.
Tidal’s claim to fame is pretty simple. Lossless. This service offers a wide variety of music, including exclusive content, all in high-quality audio format. It also has a selection of music videos and live concerts.
Tidal offers a variety of subscription tiers, including a free tier with limited content and paid tiers with additional features and access to a larger music library. The service is known for its focus on high-quality audio and exclusive content, including exclusive album releases and concerts.
- Tidal and MTN Uganda bring mobile music streaming service to your phone
- TIDAL FAQs: All you need to know about how MTN TIDAL works
Again, I wasn’t able to test this out comprehensively due to the geographical limitations, and even using a VPN which usually works to unlock geo-restricted content didn’t seem to work here.
Tidal is available in a number of countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, and a number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The availability of Tidal may vary depending on your location, and some features may not be available in all countries.
Purely from a music streaming standpoint, many of these options are matched with a few variances here and there but there are some notable differences that we will summarise in this TL:DR.
YouTube Music is a great service as it fits right into the Google Ecosystem. However, it is not widely available so it might not be an option for many. Also, it makes more sense to have it as a bonus after paying for YouTube Premium.
Spotify is a great option with proper cross-platform compatibility. It also supports a massive catalog of podcasts and recently, Audiobooks so if that’s your thing, this is your best pick.
Deezer is also a solid option with nothing particularly wrong with it. It also supports podcasts although I had issues finding some niche ones so the catalog might not be as big as Spotify’s. It also comes with an in-built ‘Shazam’ dubbed SoundCatcher.
Apple Music fits right into the Apple ecosystem so if you’re invested in that, this is your option. Those who care about Lossless audio will also like this. The Radio function is really good for music lovers and its integration with TuneIn means you don’t need another app for Internet radio.
So, what is the best music streaming service in 2023? Well, Spotify is the most wholesome choice, regardless of the platform or ecosystem that you’re into. The widespread availability across regions worldwide and the addition of Podcasts and most recently, Audiobooks, make it a more versatile solution.
That said, regardless of which music streaming platform you choose in 2023, you’re guaranteed a good time as they’ve all grown and offer so much value. The media libraries are massive enough that you are bound to get something that works for you.
So which is your go-to music streaming platform into 2023? Tell us in the comments section below.