My 250 CD collection was stolen shortly after college. That was quite some time ago.
Now losing a music collection isn’t a concern since music is all streamed any time and anywhere and anything.
I think Spotify and its alternatives are amazing. We have a premium Spotify account as well as Apple Music. I love them both. I’ve yet to look for a song that’s not on either.
However, Spotify and Apple Music aren’t the only options. There are several other options. As a big music listener, I’m always trying out new music sources. Here are 14 to check out.
Pandora may be the best among the Spotify alternatives, particularly because of its unique method for recommending songs. The application analyzes over 2,000 traits in your musical choices to choose songs to add to your playlists, while also providing information that tells you why each song was chosen. Over time, this system helps Pandora create the ideal station for each user.
- Uses a “thumbs up” or “Thumbs down” system to identify your musical tastes
- Over 800,000 tracks ensures anyone will find a station to their liking
- Features a free or premium service
- The free version features frequent advertisements
- The free version plays songs at a 128 kpbs bitrate, while the premium service provides a 192 kbps bitrate
- Artists are paid less, so some artists may not be available
SoundCloud is another service that tries to cater to your tastes by analyzing your preferences. It offers recommendations for new songs, which are based on whatever song you’re currently listening to in the app. Additionally, listeners can subscribe to their favorite artists, so they’ll be informed of news and upcoming releases.
- Lets you follow other listeners with similar tastes
- Explore tab shows trending new music by genre
- Newer labels release music here first
- User interface needs improving
- Trouble receiving notifications
- Only the premium version is ad-free
3. Deezer Music
Deezer Music is also a streaming app that’s growing in popularity with access in more than 182 countries. The service is also growing in terms of content, boasting over 40 million songs in its vast library.
- Displays the lyrics for any song in play
- Available in a variety of modes, including Windows, Mac, and most mobile devices
- The premium service, aka Elite Service, offers CD quality sounds
- Tends to skip songs occasionally
- Free version plays music at a lower quality
- Cuts songs early instead of playing through the final chords
Last.fm wants to be your last choice in streaming service, so they go a step further by analyzing the songs you listen to most often. Based on that information, they select similar songs that may appeal to you. It works as an app on a variety of mobile devices and can also be accessed with a computer and internet connection.
- Keeps track of your music preferences (Scrobbles) for better selections
- Accesses multiple platforms and third-party apps to provide better service
- Low audio quality
- Lacks some basic features
- No live content
5. 8 Tracks
8 Tracks provides a more personalized experience, which it does through lists curated by users. Instead of an automated algorithm, 8 Tracks relies on other users to provide a personal feel.
- Easily find users who share your interests
- Discover new artists within your preferred genres
- Create your own playlists
- Service outside North America is limited
- Unable to skip songs in playlists
- Users aren’t able to search for specific songs
Featuring a 1,411Kbps bit rate, Tidal offers one of the highest quality sounds of all streaming services. This is a premium service that pays artists more for each play, so users can find almost any song they want and listen to it at CD quality.
- Built-in audio search feature
- University students can receive a 50% discount
- High quality sounds that make the premium-only service worthwhile
- No free version
- Buffering can take up to 10 seconds, before a song plays
- Smaller music library limits what can be played
7. Slacker Radio
Slacker Radio is another service curated by real people, instead of relying solely on computer algorithms. The difference here is that the people curating playlists aren’t just users. Professional DJs help determine which songs should be included in the stations available on Slacker Radio.
- Professionally curated stations makes music flow more organic
- Large library to appeal to any taste
- A three tier subscription service, including a free version
- Frequent ads on the free version
- Embedded social media posts distract from the user experience
- Lower sound quality in free version
8. Groove Music
Among the most expansive Spotify alternatives, Groove Music offers more than 40 million songs in its library. Additionally, it can be accessed via a desktop or mobile device, allowing users to sign into the service from anyplace.
- Integrates with OneDrive, so users can upload their own music
- An updated interface creates a better user experience
- If the service is missing a song, users can file a request to have it added
- Does not provide song lyrics
- The apps aren’t integrated with social media platforms
- Sound is delivered at a slightly lower bitrate
Clementine makes use of data analytics to create smart playlists for each user. By identifying the genres, artists, and songs you listen to most frequently, the service tailors music selection to fit your tastes. Additionally, search features are enhanced, allowing users to locate specific songs and add them to their playlists.
- Supports multiple services, including Spotify
- Offers an easy to use interface
- An equalizer and format conversion tool make it easier for users to improve sound quality
- Default settings are very basic, so users may need to tweak the app’s features
- Takes time to learn the system, due to a lack of support documentation
- Can draw too much power, which can cause mobile devices to run slowly
The Resonic player is a newer service, which is still in beta and may need additional updates in the future. It relies on low memory usage to provide a faster and more efficient experience, while providing a one-click feature that makes it easy to add songs to a playlist.
- The user interface is simple and easy to figure out for new users
- Features a waveform seekbar and enhanced visualizations
- Supports all file formats for easier integration
- No method of recommending new music
- No user curated playlists
- Its limited features may not appeal to advanced users
11. YouTube Music
While it was limited in earlier incarnations, the latest version of YouTube Music offers much more for users. It’s currently available in more than 1q7 countries, making it a more versatile version of the app. Additionally, it utilizes Google AI technology to help build customized playlists for each user.
- Accesses the main YouTube site for more content
- Available in both free and premium services
- Accessible via multiple devices
- Free version features frequent advertisements
- The app stops working once the screen turns off
- Browser version may not be available in all countries
MusicUp is an entirely free to use application that boasts all of the same content as Spotify. You can either create your own private playlists, or you can collaborate with other users on building public playlists.
- It is completely free to use
- You can download playlists from YouTube
- Album art is automatically downloaded
- Lacks its own library, relying on other services for content
- No premium version
- Users can’t download music
Musique relies on a simplified user interface to maximize the experience, which may be its greatest feature. By eliminating the clutter found on similar user interfaces, the Musique app lets users find the information they need more quickly. A player queue shows the songs in the current playlist, while also making it easy to add, remove, or reorder songs.
- Free to use
- Easy to switch between playlists, even in different genres
- Can be used on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems
- Meta data doesn’t distinguish between album artist and track artist
- Music queues can’t be saved for future use
- Controls in Linux apps are buggy
14. iTunes / Apple Music
Finally, there’s the iTunes app/Apple Music, which provides services based on user tastes and experiences. Users can select a number of different criteria for building their own customized playlists, while the Genius algorithm can be used to build a playlist around a single song.
- Synchronization is optimized, so you can access content on multiple devices
- Auto-imports CDs, so all content is instantly downloaded into the application
- Features iCloud storage and integration
- Updates require more memory, while adding little more of value
- The app has its share of bugs, primarily in assigning wrong meta data to tracks
- Tends to duplicate media files