A discussion of the best music streaming services can be quite subjective based on the needs and likes of those having the discussion. Some services are light on some of the music I like. The playlists on my devices have classic rock, reggae, Brazilian pop, Samba, and rockabilly throughout them. Some of the services I’ve tried locked me into listening to one format.
6 Best Music Streaming Services
I enlisted the help of several friends recently to come up with a list of a few music services that we could all agree upon are awesome.
Google Play Tops the List
Google Play is the one service that addresses the most concerns when deciding between using a mobile device for music and choosing a music streaming service. Google Play works on all mobile devices, including those running iOS. There are two pricing options, free and about $10 a month. The free service lets you store up to 20,000 of your own songs, so if you can’t find some of your favorites from the list of available songs. Even better, there’s no annoying ads like with the free options from other services.
Amazon Cloud Player
The Amazon Cloud Player is a music locker like Google Play, where you’re able to upload your own music and access it from Samsung’s Smart TV, Roku, Sonos, desktops and laptops, and mobile devices. The range of devices that you can use to stream from the Amazon Cloud is what puts the service near the top of this list of the best music streaming services.
However, free accounts are limited to 250 songs in your music locker, with any purchases you make from the Amazon MP3 store not counting towards that limit. If you want to be able to upload more than 250 songs, you’re going to have to fork over about $25 a year.
Creating a profile on Last.fm is free. Like the other services, Last.fm offers free and paid options, with the free version being supported by banner ads in the mobile apps and browser windows. Like the Amazon service, the fact that it can be used across all platforms puts it high on the list. Another cool thing is that the service offers recommendations based upon your music listening history. For less than $5 a month, which you pay via PayPal, you can eliminate the banner ads.
Beats Music: The New Kid in Town
While there is no free option for Beats Music, it hits this list for two main reasons. The first reason is they actually mention the fact that they have a Windows Phone app available, whereas the others don’t. The other reason is my biggest reason: You can tailor your playlist to your likes, meaning you aren’t stuck in specific genres or categories of music. I can go from Elton John to Jimmy Buffett, followed by some Jimi Hendrix and then Bob Marley, which will segue me into some Claudia Leite and Roberto Carlos, just like the playlists I have now.
There’s a new update to the app that even lets you listen offline, which is cool for people working in companies that ban music and video streaming. About $10 a month lets you install the app on up to three devices.
Get Groovy with Grooveshark
Like, far out man, Grooveshark is groovy. All you need to get your streaming experience going is a browser. No need to download an app and install it, although one is offered if you like. The free version is ad-supported, which is a pain, but for about $10 a month (or about $90 a year), those go away. Grooveshark lets you space out on a music visualizer. There’s also a video mode. You can even upload your favorite songs and create a playlist that you can share with other users.
Open Pandora’s Box
Pandora is the only streaming service on this list that I know specifically blocks users from certain countries. If you live or travel in the U.S., Australia, or New Zealand you’re lucky, you can stream from Pandora. If you live anywhere else, you can’t. Another minus is that many companies specifically target Pandora, so the fact there is no offline mode makes it hard to use at work. Pandora hits this list because it has mobile options and desktop options and the paid version only costs about $5 a month.
There are other ones that are knocking on the door of the best streaming music services, like Songza, Spotify or Xbox Music, but we’ll save those for another time.