Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music: Which Is Best?

Dan Helyer Updated 02-12-2019

There are lots of music streaming services around, and three of the biggest are Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music.


Right now, each service competes with the others on pretty equal footing. The problem is, you only need to subscribe to one of them.

So, in this article we take a closer look at the price, audio quality, library, and features of each service to help you choose the best one for you.


All things considered, price is the biggest determining factor for most people’s purchase decisions. However, Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music all costs around the same price.


Spotify offers a range of tiers:

  • Free, ad-supported
  • $4.99/month student subscription
  • $9.99/month individual subscription
  • $14.99/month family subscription

The free tier is ad-supported, meaning you need to listen to adverts between every four or five songs. You also get a limited number of skips, can’t download songs for offline listening, and are restricted to shuffle mode when listening to albums on mobile.


Spotify Premium three-month offer

Any of the paid premium tiers are what you think of as Spotify proper. You get unlimited access to Spotify’s catalog, ad-free, with the ability to download tracks for offline listening on any device.

You can sign up for a recurring monthly subscription or just get a single month at a time. You can also pay for a full year up front, but won’t save any money doing so.

The $14.99/month family tier unlocks all the premium features for up to six connected accounts, including your own. Each user needs to live at the same place, so make sure the addresses in your Spotify accounts match up.


Finally, higher education students can get up to 50 percent off their premium subscription along with free access to Hulu and SHOWTIME. Spotify uses SheerID to make sure you’re eligible and limits student subscriptions to a maximum of four years.

Apple Music

Apple Music has three similar paid plans:

  • $4.99/month student subscription
  • $9.99/month individual subscription
  • $14.99/month family subscription

Instead of offering a free tier, Apple Music has a three-month free trial. After that, you need to start paying, but at least there are never any ads or other limitations.

Apple Music three-month trial and pricings


Apple’s regular tier is just what you’d expect. For $9.99/month, you get access to the full library, on any device, with the ability to download songs for offline listening.

The family plan is the same as Spotify’s. For $14.99/month, six people (including you) get unlimited access to Apple Music. The catch is you all need to link your Apple ID accounts in the same Family Sharing group.

Apple Music offers a $4.99/month plan for students. This is only for college students and Apple uses UNiDAYS to verify your eligibility. Unfortunately, Apple Music limits student discounts to 48 months, which is half of what Spotify gives you.

Google Play Music

Google Play Music only has two paid tiers on offer:

  • $9.99/month individual subscription
  • $14.99/month family subscription

What’s really different about Google Play Music is its free offering. This doesn’t let you stream anything from Google’s music catalog, but you can upload 50,000 of your own songs to stream from any device.

Google Play Music free tier explanation

A subscription to Google Play Music gets you all the same benefits as other services: unlimited access to Google’s catalog, the ability to download music on any device, and an entirely ad-free experience. You can get a free 30-day trial to test it out.

Just like Spotify and Apple Music, the family subscription links up to six accounts together. For this to work, you all need to live in the same country and be part of the same Google family group.

Unlike Spotify or Apple Music, there’s no student discount available for Google Play Music.

Winner: Spotify

If you’re just one person signing up, all three services have the same asking price. That said, Apple Music gives you the first three months for free.

Family subscriptions are the same across each service, with small logistical differences in the way you link accounts together.

Students should go for Spotify, which gives you a discount for twice as long as Apple Music while getting you free access to Hulu and SHOWTIME.

Finally, if you don’t care about ads or other limitations and just want to listen for free, Spotify is the only option.

Audio Quality

Not all music files are created equal. The higher the bitrate of a file, the better it sounds. If you’re paying for a music subscription, here’s how to make your music streaming app sound better How to Make Your Music Streaming App Sound Better Streaming music services generally don't sound as good as vinyl and CDs. Thankfully there are ways to make your streaming music app of choice sound better. Read More . Even if only audiophiles will be able to tell the difference.


Spotify streams tracks at 160 kbps by default, but with a premium subscription you can turn on an option to stream at 320 kbps. This is about the point where, at least on standard audio equipment, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between a compressed file and the original.

Spotify settings showing very high music quality option

Apple Music

Apple Music streams songs at 256 kbps, switching to a lower bitrate by default when you’re using cellular data. Most people listening to music with computer speakers or earphones won’t hear any difference between this and Spotify’s higher bitrate tracks.

Google Play Music

Like Spotify, Google Play Music also streams tracks at a maximum bitrate of 320 kbps, despite Google limiting YouTube Music to 256 kbps. If your internet connection is slower, Google Play Music automatically streams at a lower bitrate.

Winner: Spotify and Google Play Music

Both Spotify and Google Play Music stream at 320 kbps. If you really care about audio quality, go with one of them. Although you probably won’t notice a difference between that and Apple Music unless you’ve got professional quality speakers or headphones.

Library and Selection

There’s no use paying for a music service if it doesn’t have the artists you want to listen to. Granted, there’s little chance of that happening these days, with each service offering millions of the world’s most popular songs.


Spotify boasts over 50 million tracks in its library. Assuming each track is three minutes long, that’s over 285 years of non-stop music, with almost everything you’d ever want to listen to.

Over the years, several big artists have kept their music off Spotify. Sometimes its because they signed exclusive deals with competing services, but other times its because they disagreed with Spotify’s free service.

However, these days, pretty much everyone has relented. Tool, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and The Beatles are all on Spotify now, even though they weren’t before. It seems the only big star missing at this point is Jay-Z.

Apple Music

Apple Music 60 million songs banner image

This is where Apple Music shines. Artists have rarely taken issue with the service since it doesn’t offer a free tier, and now Apple Music offers 60 million songs to enjoy. There is a large amount of overlap with Spotify, as both services have veered away from exclusives.

Google Play Music

Once again, Google Play Music comes up short with an offering of 40 million songs. Most major artists put their music on every streaming service, but there’s a bigger chance of missing out on your favorite new releases with Google Play Music.

Winner: Apple Music

While there are some variations between the different libraries, for the most part, you won’t notice it. Artists rarely offer exclusive albums to different streaming services these days, and when they do it’s normally only for a couple of weeks.

That said, Apple Music has 10 million more tracks than anyone else so it’s a clear winner.


There’s more to a music streaming service than just getting access to a lot of songs. The best features help you discover new artists, keep up with what your friends are listening to, and hand off music to all your other devices.

So let’s see how the features from these three services stack up.


Spotify discovery playlists

Spotify has phenomenal tools for discovering new music, and the best social sharing options. Every week, you get new tracks to listen to in the Release Radar, and Spotify uses its massive amount of listener data to create personalized playlists for you.

Spotify also links with Facebook to show what your friends are listening to right now. You can share tracks on any social media service, send them directly to other Spotify users, and even create collaborative playlists.

Finally, Spotify also has the best handoff capabilities, letting you seamlessly transfer music from one device to another without skipping a beat.

Apple Music

There are plenty of Apple Music features worth using 10 Apple Music Features to Use on Your iPhone Apple Music boasts a variety of cool features. Here are the best Apple Music features you really need to use on your iPhone. Read More , including the Beats 1 radio station. Before Apple Music launched, Apple hired Zane Lowe to curate the station. If you like the nostalgia of listening to a proper radio station, then Beats 1 might be a big feature for you.

Although Apple Music doesn’t link directly with other social media platforms, you can follow friends using their Apple ID account. This shows a more general overview of what people are listening to, rather than giving a by-the-minute rundown, like Spotify does.

Surprisingly, Apple Music doesn’t offer much in the way of handoff. You can send music to a HomePod, but it’s not possible to handoff music between other Apple devices.

Google Play Music

Google Play Music on multiple different devices

When you sign up for Google Play Music, you also get free access to YouTube Music. This is fantastic for music videos and you can use it for listening to music regularly as well.

Google Play Music is generally more limited in features than Spotify or Apple Music. It offers online radio and music discovery playlists, but they don’t match the quality you get from other services.

Winner: Spotify

Spotify’s playlists and social features are commonly regarded as the best available, possibly thanks to the head start it had over Apple Music and Google Play Music. What’s more, it works equally well on all platforms and transfers music between devices wonderfully.

If you like the ease of having a radio station to throw on, Apple Music with Beats 1 is a good choice. Whereas if you watch a lot of music videos, Google Play Music with YouTube Music is a great option.

The Final Verdict

When comparing these three music streaming services, the truth is that Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music all offer pretty much the exact same thing.

For any advantages one service has, it usually has disadvantages too. If we had to choose, we would say Spotify is probably the best all-round option, despite having a smaller library than Apple Music.

The fact is there is no bad choice; all of the major players offer brilliant music streaming services. And depending on your specific needs, any one of them could be the best music streaming service for you How to Pick the Best Music Streaming Service for You Do you use a music streaming service? If so, how do you know you're using the best one for you personally? Read More .

Related topics: Apple Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Streaming Music.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Ueritom Ribeiro Borges
    January 11, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Why haven't you included Deezer?

  2. Davin Peterson
    December 4, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Google Play Music allows you to store the music you bought/downloaded on their site which I like. It is separate from Google Drive. I don't like Apple and hate that Apple Music gets recognized all the time and not Google Play Music. Google Play Music has been around years before Apple Music. For example, NBC's The Voice uses Apple Music, but not Google Play Music.

  3. Kevin - Concerty.com
    December 3, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    I agree with your choice of Spotify at end. Actually we choose to integrate Spotify in our project https://concerty.com/ for the feature to listen songs from artists setlists.

    For example here it's the profile for Metallica where we can listen thanks to spotify the setlist : https://concerty.com/artist/65f4f0c5-ef9e-490c-aee3-909e7ae6b2ab

  4. Liam Parker
    September 1, 2019 at 8:54 am

    I had Spotify but switched to Google Music. It didn't turn out well so I recently switched back to Spotify. My biggest dilemma was how to import all my tracks because I didn't want to create playlists all over again. My friend recommended the MusConv tool and it did all the work for me.

  5. Rutsmau5
    May 22, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    I have a large music library (24,000+ files) purchased from Apple and purchased CDs ripped into iTunes. Apple Music “greyed-out” approximately 60% of my legally purchased library, presumably because they don’t have the right to stream the songs, resulting in my being unable to listen to songs legally purchased, including purchased from Apple. Once I cancelled my Apple Music subscription and subscribed to Spotify the “greying-out” ceased and I was able to listen to my complete library. I would NOT recommend Apple Music to anyone with a large library of purchased music. Spotify is the only way to keep it intact and accessible.

  6. Mia Green
    July 16, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    MusConv tools is the best for this type of work. just try and get results

  7. Luis
    March 11, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Currently I'm using Apple for my music - but looking for an option
    seriously considering Spotify -- this article helped me decide thank you - I'm making the change

    • Liam Parker
      September 1, 2019 at 8:59 am

      I also switched back to Spotify! And I used MusConv tool that my friend recommended to me when I transferred all my tracks. It was convenient and helpful. Hope they can feature it here.

  8. steve001
    January 10, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Right off the bat, the higher number might make Spotify look better, but in reality the two use separate compression formats. Apple Music is streamed at 256Kbps in AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format, while Spotify offers the Ogg Vorbis format at 320Kbps. Many would argue 256 AAC sounds better than Spotify.

  9. smith
    November 23, 2017 at 6:35 am

    I know this page is about a year old, but now Tayler Swift is now on all three

  10. Barry Green
    September 27, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Since I learned of Google musics ability to merge subscribed and uploaded music to one playlist I shifted all playlist using the MusConv. com tool. I don't regret it.

  11. damianmann
    September 6, 2017 at 3:55 am

    I don't think you put enough emphasis on Google Play Music's cloud feature. You can upload something like 20,000 songs. If you're like me, I like to digitize my vinyl so it stays in great shape. Can't scratch a digital copy. Alsi, it's kind of hard to carry around albums and a turntable. They do have portable turntables with little speakers (ala 1960s)
    Anyway, that's completely free. You can't share the songs or anything. BUT, I haven't come close to uploading 2,000 songs, let alone 20,000.

    Here's one way to upload your library :
    Open Chrome .
    Make sure you're signed in to Chrome using the same Google account you use with Google Play Music.
    Go to the Google Play Music web player.
    Select Menu Upload music.
    Drag and drop files or choose files to upload with Select from your computer.
    Near the bottom of your screen, track your upload progress.

    He's the best way. This tool allows you to upload and download. Links to player


    Its called music manager. It's completely free
    I don't condone pirating music. This is a tool that can be used to upload any music that you want off your PC or phone ( saves a lot of space on your devices)
    Maybe your library is getting too big, filling up your local storage space. Uploading it to any old cloud service is a pain. You have to download the files again to play them. If you upload to Play Music, the player is built in. So it's perfect.

    Spotify has the best discovery feature. The social aspect is weak. And the ui is kind of ugly.

    Amazon just did a major overhaul. And they found a way to charge you more for things you should have had included in Prime. The improvements are cool. But, charging on top of charging is outrageous. The free version is complete garbage.
    Is there an Amazon cloud? I haven't tried it with music. I doubt it's a part of the overall package, the way Play Music is.
    Apple is my least favorite. Everything about it, from constantly forgetting my password...
    ON THEIR END, to crashing like it's Windows 95 era technology, stinks.

    Overall, Id have to go with whatever one is offering a free month, and then canceling on the last day. I do that. But, with Play Music having all my favorite music that I was able to upload for free, that I can stream for free, no commercials, it wins. I've paid for the vinyl, or the cd I rip it into FLAC files (high quality audio) and I get to enjoy it anywhere. Don't tell Google they're giving something away for free though.

    As for Google shutting down the service. It could happen. As long as they warn us in advance, so I can download everything back on my laptop, Im not worried.

    The best dream streaming service would charge $19.99 a month. They let you download two albums ( up to 15 songs(?) and an EP. Plus you can get unlimited streaming.
    Or maybe a service that lets you diagnosed exclusive live albums or remixes. A guy can dream, can't he.

    Btw, Last F.M. has an in-browser player and a good social set up. Somebody with vision could remake the site, improve the player, improve the social aspect. It could be considered one of the best. I still scrobble. Do you scrobble?

  12. Tom Snyder
    June 8, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Signed up for Spotify Premium, but can't detect the high quality sound. Too many duplicate albums for a given artist (same songs done on numerous "live" albums).

    Grooveshark was the best. Excellent sound and variety of songs. And it was free...

  13. Paul
    March 29, 2017 at 1:30 am

    I used to love Spotify until I ran up against its ridiculous 10,000 song limit. You cannot add more than 10,000 songs to your music library. Looking into Google Play and Apple Music as an alternative since they have much more reasonable limits.

  14. Monica
    February 18, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Hi! Spotify actually still offers the Premium Student plan. You just sign into your Spotify account and select "Upgrade" next to your user photo, click on the "See more offers" hyperlink underneath the "Start Spotify Premium" box and then it gives you a details and price summary on all 3 of the Premium plans--Family, Student, Premium (Individual). However, the "Student Premium plan looks like it's $4.99/month for only 12 months, as opposed to Apple Music's 48-month cap, so for the students attending school longer, I'd just go with Apple Music's student discount plan. I know this article is old, but I just wanted to give you a headsup. Thanks for all the great info in this article!

  15. Jerry Rocteur
    January 28, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Over the years I've subscribed to these plus Deezer and Rdio (RIP) and others. The important things for me are 1) to be able to listen to the music I want (like) 2) not listen to listen to music I don't want to liste to (unlike) and 3) the radios have to work, i.e. if I want to listen to music like Miley Cyrus, I don't want to hear Celine Dion.. I am happy with Google Music, I'm disappointed there is no Family offer yet in Belgium but the radio is the best and I'm happy with the like and unlike system.

  16. JudsonL
    January 23, 2017 at 3:53 am

    One advantage of Google music and i think Apple music over Spotify is the ability to combine purchased, uploaded and subscribed to music in one playlist.

  17. John Small
    January 13, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Using Spotify free option with the ads for one simple reason. I'm an old Luddite and I'm following directions from the knowledgable nippers..........don't you just hate that!!!!
    Found it easy to look up all the long ago sold albums and pretend to be 20 again
    Finally something free cannot be sniffed at. The advert breaks are time to stick the kettle on or take the medication (joke !!!!)
    I'm wallowing in the stuff I remember from when I were a mere lad
    All hail Spotify!!!!

  18. CKCP
    January 4, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    The best thing about Google Music is not even mentioned in this article -- you can upload all your music to their service and stream it. In other words, if you have a lot of music already and just want the ability to store it/stream it, Google Music is great and you can use their free tier to do this. So, on my phone I don't have the storage space to hold all of my 30,000 songs. No problem, upload them to Google Music from my harddrive/external drive and then stream them from my phone. As far as I know Apple and Spotify do not permit that.

    • Rick
      February 25, 2017 at 12:18 am

      It was for this capability that I switched to Google Play Music a few years ago, even though the UI wasn't impressive. I own a few favorite records that aren't in the standard libraries. With Spotify, I was able to load the recordings on a particular device, but that didn't give me access to them on any other device. Google Play Music lets me upload so that I can then access from whatever I happen to be using at the time. If Spotify were to provide this capability, I'd probably switch back, since IFTTT can control Spotify.

  19. Erwin Lius
    December 22, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    I honestly love Spotify compared to all other subscriptions but Google play killed it with the collaboration with Youtube Red access.

    first of all, Google play do offer Family plan ($14.99) and here are the reasons why i choose Google play over everything else :

    1. the family access will let 6 family members enjoy the full services.
    2. they bundle you with free access to Youtube Red (what is so nice about it? ) :
    a. youtube Red access allow you to watch exclusive youtube red production
    b. youtube Red access allow you to watch all videos and audio without the stupid ads.
    c. it allows you to enjoy the music or video on the background while you're texting or
    opening other apps that doesnt require audio device.
    d. it also give you the capability to download any videos to your devices so your toddler
    can watch their favorites videos OFFLINE.
    e. this apply to all youtube app and youtube Kids app that you have on your devices.
    3. Google play have the huge music banks as well.
    4. what can Beat VIDEO and AUDIO FULL ACCESS on BOTH Google play and YOUTUBE ?

    thats how i see it :)

    Hope that helps guys.

  20. Karl Johan Rune
    December 19, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    So far Spotify has given me trouble with their search engine.

  21. Powsniffer0110
    December 7, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    Spotify definitely still has the student discount! It unapplied to my account I had to go manually do it again but it worked! $4.99 plus tax a month! Win! Been using this for years..

  22. chris
    September 27, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I have tried every music service from napster, tidal, google play, spotify, apple music and others. Google Play and Apple Music are my top two competitors and I switch back and forth in using both. I am currently using apple music for the exclusives.

    • Harry Guinness
      September 28, 2016 at 7:32 am

      Oh wow, how do you find switching? It'd drive me mad having to rebuild all my playlists!

  23. Francisco
    September 24, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    I want to add that for those who listen to Latin music (from merengue to bossa nova) Google Play Music have a VERY LIMITED library. Before I switch from an iPhone to an Android, iTunes catalogue a VAST Latin music library. Does anyone knows how well stocked is Spotify Latin music library?

    • Harry Guinness
      September 28, 2016 at 7:33 am

      I'm not sure, but maybe one of the other commenters will know.

    • moscalo
      September 29, 2016 at 8:13 am

      For merengue there is some play list. I search bossa nova, and I found one playlist with 49 song. I found a lot of latin music (cumbia, reggaeton, criolla). Last christmas I found a latin christmas playlist, it is very nice:). But you can try it, because it is free, maybe you like some special band, so you can search it.

    • HG
      October 20, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      I am Spotify customer, and I play Flamenco myself. I think because they are European their stock of music from rest of the world is richer than American companies. Having said that, my experience with Apple and Google music is almost non-existent. Basically I can't judge the others, but Spotify is pretty good in that area.

  24. poo
    August 15, 2016 at 12:55 am

    Google Play Music has a Family plan, SMH

  25. Anonymous
    July 2, 2016 at 3:30 am

    Definitely, Spotify. I am extremely satisfied with the Free service.

    • Harry Guinness
      September 28, 2016 at 7:34 am

      Yeah, Spotify's my choice but I can see why people would go with one of the others.

  26. Alan
    June 30, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    While all 3 may be fairly equal for music on the major charts or from major charts, how are they for finding lesser known artists, foreign artists, or children's music? I have searched all 3 for Israeli artists, and only found Apple Music to have a wide selection. Same for kid's music fro my granddaughter. Can someone shed light on this?

    • chris
      September 27, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      in other genres, like r&B there are albums that only Google play has that I haven't found in the other two, tank and Jay Sean are missing albums as well as hip hop artist B.o.B.

    • Harry Guinness
      September 28, 2016 at 7:34 am

      I'd recommend checking out the free trials and seeing what's there. Different services have better catalogues for different genres.

  27. JasonM
    June 29, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    I use Spotify more than anything, and I love it. One disadvantage it has, though, is not being able to upload your own tracks. Over the years, I amassed a large library of my own music files, both from friend's bands and from from ripping physical music I owned, and I had a massive set of Dead bootleg shows (once a wall of cassettes). With Google, I was able to add those in addition to the streaming service. I assume iTunes users could as well, (I've never used iTunes or Apple Music) but Spotify doesn't have that. So if you have your own library of music files, whatever it may be, that may be a consideration as well.

    • Loucosp
      July 9, 2016 at 12:53 am

      You can add your own music using Spotify, but you need to use your computer and Spotify desktop version to synchronized data with you mobile or tablet.

  28. Volodymyr
    June 28, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    I like Apple Music, BUT you need to install iTunes on Mac or PC (I won't say anything about Linux). And Android app doesn't work on old devices :(

  29. Sergio López
    June 21, 2016 at 2:14 am

    spotify student is actually working at

  30. Anonymous
    June 20, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Streaming music is not my future. While I do subscribe to Google Play Music, I wouldn't have done so if it hadn't had an option to download to my devices in order to save bandwidth. I currently have unlimited data with my carrier, but only 10GB of high-speed data. After that, the data rate drops to an abysmal 128 kbps. Even with high-speed 4G LTE, there are occasional glitches despite streaming services' caching setups.

    If I didn't have unlimited data, I would never have signed up. Storage is too cheap and bandwidth is too artificially expensive.

    • Otto Vanluchene
      July 12, 2016 at 9:29 am

      All the service have offline play...

  31. John D Whitson
    June 20, 2016 at 4:29 am

    FYI.. Google Play has family plan Up to 6 members @ $14.99mthly charge.

  32. Lisa
    June 20, 2016 at 2:48 am

    I am 100% Google Play Music! My husband and I are android users, and our older son is all about Apple. We have the $14 monthly family plan that we all love (personalized unlimited music and YouTube). Even our younger son is enjoying these features. We love it!

  33. Wayne
    June 20, 2016 at 1:54 am

    I love Google Play music and I also use iBroadcast for my own music. I know I can do that on Google, too, but I liked thje option for a seperate service for my own music.

  34. Adam
    June 20, 2016 at 12:56 am

    I was a Spotify user for several months. I bought a nice big fat Micro SD card so I could download my favorite tracks for offline listening. I was working in a place that had no usable cell service or wifi, so this was the best option. I had over 20,000 songs in my library but Spotify had (maybe still does) a database limit that would only allow about 3600 songs that could be downloaded offline. So, I switched to Google, because they have no limit and they also allow you to upload up to 50,000 of your own tracks. Easy choice for me.

  35. Bimmersport
    June 19, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Google play music does offer a family package for up to 6 members for 14.99. Please update your article

  36. Itay Grinberg
    June 19, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    I would also add that the google play app works so much better on android than any other music services I've used for years (Spotify and Rdio). The UI is easy to use and the performance is flawless. I'm sticking with Google play music for now. Great service.

  37. Ivan
    June 19, 2016 at 3:31 am

    I use Deezer. Yes, not listed, forgotten Deezer. And I have tried others: Napster, Spotify and Google Music. I haven't tried Apple Music just because I don't have an iPhone, and 256kb/s is not good enough for me.

    Napster was dissapointing for me, but a good start. It's just kind of... "boring" (I know it's not a very technical way of saying it, but I don't really know other way to express it). Spotify is nice, good user interface and all, but, if a song or artist is not there, then forget about it. So, when I discovered that Google Music allows you to upload MP3 files, for the sake of completeness, I switched. But Google Play user interface is just too basic, and it lacks any true "recommendations" or "radio" features. I mean, they exist, but these are only algorithms, a computer deciding which songs you MAY like, and in my case at least, it falied 90% of the time.

    So I began the search for an app that allows me to upload missing tunes, with a nice interface and (please, oh please!) HUMAN-made recommendations, curated playlists and that stuff. And, to me, Deezer was the answer: nice user interface, I can upload missing music, 320 kb/s files (in Premium account), and curated playlists and recommendations. For me, the winner.

    I know Deezer is not known in the USA, a big flaw if you want to become "famous" in app-world, and has less active users than Spotify, but, IMHO it works, and it works fine.

    Cheers =)

  38. Anonymous
    June 19, 2016 at 2:52 am

    No love for Amazon?

  39. Hendri
    June 18, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Apple music for subscription, cheaper family plan in my country, more asian music, also more interactive way or interface to search for particular music or artists. Downside is bad playlists, and for this, I turn to spotify for randomly music with free tier. Google music not available for me currently

  40. Amanda
    June 18, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks for saying " tailor swift is the biggest pop artist in the world With a possible exception of Beyoncé" I was gonna stop reading if you didn't acknowledge the Queen. ?

  41. Michael Mason
    June 17, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    I'm a fan of iTunes Match.

    $25/yr, any song in the iTunes catalog can be matched with your song from ANY source. Then iTunes gives you a high quality AAC file you can either stream off their servers or download to your devices.

  42. Steven McCartney
    June 17, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Fair play actually responding to everyone pointing out the Google family plan and doing your best not to repeat yourself word for word. Hehe. The downside of delayed comments I guess :)

  43. Anna
    June 17, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Google Play Music still has a family plan. It's $14.99 a month for up to 6 users


    and you can send gift subscriptions https://play.google.com/music/gift?u=0

    • Harry Guinness
      June 17, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      Ah cool, good find. I couldn't find the info on the main site.

  44. Andrew
    June 17, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    It's a buyer's market FOR SURE!

    I was with Spotify for a couple years, then added Apple Music, but found it WAY too convoluted. Then when I tried Discover Weekly on Spotify, that was it for Apple Music. It's magical!

    What I do is keep iTunes Match for things that are missing on Spotify, but mainly do Spotify. For instance, when I need a Prince fix, I just go to iTunes, and all my stuff is there, as it has been for years.

    It may have taken close to 20 years, but now music fans are in the driver's seat.

  45. Jeremy
    June 17, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Spotify also has a 4.99/month student rate.

    • Harry Guinness
      June 17, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      They had in the past, but the signup link was broken when I tried to use it and the page redirected.

  46. Dave
    June 17, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Google Play Family Plan: https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/6317786?hl=en

    "I could find no student or family offers."

    Umm... http://lmgtfy.com/?q=google+play+family+plan

    haha. Just bustin' your balls...

    • Harry Guinness
      June 17, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      Bust away! I took all the sign up info straight from the main pages of the sites. Apple and Spotify trumpet it, Google didn't mention it.

  47. Xavier Mack
    June 17, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    It may not be a huge feature, but you forgot to mention the fact that Google Play Music's Radio service is far superior to Spotify and even Apple Music.

    Creating a radio station with an album, song, or playlist with Google Music is by far the easiest way to find new music that you'll actually want to listen to, whereas on Spotify or Apple Music, creating a radio station simply makes a playlist of similar artists. Google Music's radio-building are far more nuanced, in that they (as far as I know) analyze the songs themselves to makes sure that the playlist is uniform, instead of just playing a bunch of songs by similar artists.

  48. Rob Mendez
    June 17, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Like Alex said, Google not only has a family plan out for six months, it also includes YouTube Red. IMO, that makes Google the clear winner. If you really need Taylor Swift, just buy a CD and upload it to Google Music. It's cheaper in the long run than paying Apple every month for the privilege.

    How to set up a Google Play Music family plan http://www.androidcentral.com/how-set-google-play-music-family-plan

    • Harry Guinness
      June 17, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      Good find, I took all the pricing info from the main page of the website. However, I still don't think it pips it. It depends on what service you're looking for.

  49. FandBan
    June 17, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    No mention of the ability to upload up to 50,000 of your own songs to Google Play Music with the premium plan? As someone who collects and listens to a lot of live concert recordings, this feature sets Play Music apart from the other services. If only their UI wasn't so awful, I wouldn't be considering a move to Spotify...

    • Harry Guinness
      June 17, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      I felt Apple Match does much the same, and Spotify lets you play stuff from your device. There was limited space so I ran with the features I felt relevant to the majority of people.

    • Rick
      February 25, 2017 at 12:09 am

      I used to have Spotify Premium, and it was precisely because of this capability that I switched to Google Play Music. I had certain favorite recordings that weren't available from the library, so I needed to upload them. With Spotify, I was able to add my own recordings, but only per device. With Google Play Music, I could upload and then access from whatever device I was using to listen.

  50. Alex
    June 17, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Google had family plan for a while. Also 15 per month up to 6 members who will get their own recommendations and playlist individually.

    • Harry Guinness
      June 17, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      I took the info off the website's main page. Apple and Spotify paint it big and large. Google don't. My bad!

  51. norweeg
    June 17, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Google Play music has a $14.99/month family plan that can be shared among 6 people. You forgot to mention that! Also you forgot to mention that its free-tier service is music stations (like pandora), podcasts, and your own personal library uploaded from your PC. It doesn't let you stream any song in their library, but with ads like spotify does

    • Harry Guinness
      June 17, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      I took the pricing info off the website's front pages. Apple and Spotify make a big deal out of them, Google don't. My bad!

  52. diablo
    June 17, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    What about Pandora? Don't see how you can omit them from the comparison

    • rui silva
      June 17, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      US only. Enough said.

      • diablo
        June 17, 2016 at 12:51 pm

        didnt know that valid point

        June 20, 2016 at 4:25 am

        Still using it. Haven't found a good enough reason to leave it.

        • Paul
          January 10, 2020 at 10:57 pm

          Exactly. Pandora for me. Had to ditch Spotify because it behaved very badly on my phone ... would start on its own, and often at the most inconvenient moments. Sheesh.

  53. Steven McCartney
    June 17, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Google Music has a family plan for 6 at $14.99. It's in the settings menu to upgrade but as far as I am aware it's offered at sign up too. Not sure why you couldn't find any information on it. It was reported on extensively when launched.

    • Harry Guinness
      June 17, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      It wasn't on the front page of the website where it was for Apple and Spotify. My bad!

  54. Dbrosius
    June 17, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Spotify rate are per month, not per year.