There has never been a better time to introduce yourself to paid music streaming services. Although Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, and Spotify all offer similar features, each includes unique characteristics worth considering.
In this article, you’ll learn more about Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music, and discover how to subscribe to each of them. We’ll also give you some invaluable advice to help you decide which one would be best for you to subscribe to personally.
Not to be confused with Amazon Music, Amazon Music Unlimited is a music streaming service that offers 50 million songs with new releases from today’s most popular artists. Like other premium music streaming services, Amazon Music Unlimited allows you to listen to your favorite songs on-demand. You can also download songs to your devices for offline use.
Isn’t This Amazon Prime Music?
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you already have access to over 2 million songs at no additional cost. You also receive access to 1,000 playlists and stations programmed by Amazon’s music experts. A membership to Amazon Music Unlimited, by contrast, increases the number of songs available considerably. You also gain access to new genres and styles of music.
The best way to explain the difference between the two services (in addition to the library size) is how each handles new music releases. Amazon Music Unlimited will almost certainly have the latest album from your favorite artist on the first day of its release. Amazon Prime Music probably won’t.
Not surprisingly, Amazon Music Unlimited works with Amazon Alexa voice controls, found on devices such as the Echo, Dot, and Tap. For example, you can say “Alexa, play the Bird Box soundtrack” or “Alexa, play the latest album by JoJo.” You can also try commands like “Alexa, play the most popular rock from the 80s” or “Alexa, play music for a dinner party.”
Amazon Music Unlimited Availability
Amazon Music Unlimited is available on multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Fire TV, Fire tablets, and on the web. Additionally, it works with home entertainment products such as Sonos, Roku, and Bose. The service is also available in cars from Ford, BMW, and Mini.
At the time of this writing, Amazon Music Unlimited is only available in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, and Japan.
Amazon Prime members can subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited for $7.99/month, which is $2 off the standard monthly price. You can save a little extra by paying $79/year upfront. Amazon also offers a family plan for $14.99/month or $149.99/year. With the family plan, you and your family can stream music on up to six devices at the same time.
If you only want to stream music from your Amazon Alexa device, the company offers a low-cost option for $3.99/month for each device.
New users can try Amazon Music Unlimited free for 30 days. If you check it out, see our guide to managing your Amazon music playlists.
First launched in June 2015, Apple Music provides all of the on-demand music you’ll ever need. As with Spotify, there are also playlists, and here’s how to get started using Apple Music playlists. As with Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music allows you to download music for offline use as long as you continue being a subscriber.
When it first launched, Apple Music placed great emphasis on the service’s Beats 1 internet radio station and a blog platform for artists called Connect. Offering live broadcasts 24 hours a day, the Beats 1 station features DJ Zane Lowe, among others, and continues to this day. Connect was discontinued at the end of 2018, although artists can still share their music and playlists with friends and followers.
In late 2016, Apple Music began rolling out personalized music playlists. Initially, these included a “New Music Mix” and “Favorite Mix.” The former is similar to Spotify’s popular “Discover Weekly” playlist. There’s also a “Chill Mix” and “Friends Mix.” Each offers music based on listening history. You can also watch music videos on Apple Music.
Apple Music Availability
Apple Music is available across all of Apple key products, including iOS devices, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. It’s also available through iTunes on Mac/PC and Android devices. You can also stream Apple Music through CarPlay and Sonos systems and on Amazon Echo products.
Apple Music is available in over 100 countries around the world. If you’re reading this article, it’s likely Apple Music is available where you live.
An individual Apple Music plan costs $9.99/month or $99.99/year. A family plan, which is good for up to six people, is priced at $14.99/month. Student plans are available at $4.99/month.
New subscribers can try Apple Music free for three months, while Verizon Wireless customers can claim six months for free.
If you’re staying away from Apple Music simply because it’s Apple or you don’t own and iOS device, check out these things you should never say to an iPhone user.
Unlike Apple Music, Spotify offers a free plan that includes ads. Though highly restrictive, this allows would-be subscribers to experience Spotify without paying a dime. However, this type of availability seems to be working, as there are currently 180 million Spotify total users worldwide as of mid-2018.
Like the other two services on this list, Spotify Premium gives you the ability to play any song, both on-demand and offline. Where Spotify Premium excels is with its “Discover Weekly” feature, which suggests music based on your music preferences and listening history. You also have access to custom playlists, which are put together by theme, decades, and genre.
Even better, you can scrobble your Spotify music with Last.FM to get recommendations based on your tastes.
You can find Spotify nearly everywhere, including iOS, Android, Amazon devices, Samsung devices, Roku, PlayStation, Sonos, on the web, and more.
First introduced in Sweden in 2006, the Spotify Premium service is available in all corners of the world, including most of Europe, the Americas, and parts of Asia.
Spotify Premium is available for $9.99/month for an individual subscription and $14.99/month for a family plan. Students can purchase a subscription for $4.99/month. New subscribers can try Spotify Premium free for 30 days.
Which Music Streaming Service Is Best?
In general terms, Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, and Spotify Premium offer the same underlying features. These include on-demand music and the ability to download songs for offline listening. From there, each provides unique extras worth considering.
Amazon Music Unlimited is an excellent choice for Amazon Prime subscribers because of the extra discount it provides. Hardcore Amazon Alexa users can also benefit from selecting this service.
By contrast, if your world revolves around Apple products, Apple Music is probably the one for you. One of the most significant advantages of going this route is that Apple Music automatically merges your streaming content with what you’ve purchased from iTunes. This feature is a big deal if you’re looking to expand your current library across multiple devices.
Spotify Premium, meanwhile, is the best service for music discovery. This fact is an important point to consider if you’re the type of person that appreciates finding new music and artists.
As you can see, all three premium music streaming services have their advantages. You should pick the best music streaming service for you. Our advice: take advantage of the free trials to determine which service is right for you!
Want more to consider? Check out our article on Spotify vs. YouTube Music.