I’ve checked out the big names, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube Music, as well as smaller ones such as Tidal, Qobuz, Napster, Deezer and Pandora Premium, to see how each platform stacks up for your subscription dollar. Most of the services feature music catalogs of around 100 million tracks, and are supported by a host of different devices.
Given that the catalog size is largely a nonissue, one thing to consider is your monthly cost. Until recently, prices were stable at around $10 a month, but Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, YouTube Music and now Spotify have all experienced rate hikes to $11. At the other end of the spectrum, Tidal is the most expensive at $20 a month.
In addition, the two biggest services — Spotify and Apple Music — offer plenty of features including classical music, karaoke, podcasts and audiobooks, but you may not need those. Sound quality is also important, and services such as Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited and Tidal are now offering lossless or even Dolby Atmos music at no extra charge. Meanwhile, Spotify’s planned HiFi (lossless) tier is still MIA, though it’s rumored to appear in October 2023.
If you like to buy your own digital music, Apple Music is the only one of our top three with a digital locker to store your own library of songs — YouTube Music, below that, is the other music locker option.