Spotify alternatives: a comparison of 6 streaming services
Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming services, and makes it possible to listen to songs both online and offline. Using Spotify, users can stream DRM-protected music online or download it for later listening.
The Swedish online company has offered its music streaming service since 2006 – and it’s now available in more than 60 countries. It follows the so-called freemium model: The basic services are free, but the full version is available only with the purchase of a paid subscription – it offers many additional features that the free version does not.
Many Spotify alternatives also use this freemium business model, where you’re required to purchase a subscription in order to smoothly use services both online and offline. Music on streaming services is generally available for offline listening with a subscription.
The best alternatives to Spotify
Music streaming services have long since established themselves on the market, and there are many free alternatives to Spotify. Which Spotify alternative is ideal for you fundamentally depends on your personal requirements. Not all streaming services offer the same range and functions. In the following, we present six different streaming services.
Deezer is an alternative to Spotify that provides free access to more than 43 million songs in standard quality (128 KB/s). With a subscription, users can also create their own playlists and share them with friends. A subscription also lets you download songs – as well as enjoy better sound quality. Deezer offers a lyrics function, too, which gives you the words so you can sing along with your favorite songs. Podcasts and audio books are also available with the premium subscription and can be accessed both on- and offline.
For the cost of $9.99/month you can also use Deezer to listen to music in HD quality.
|Deezer without subscription||Included with $9.99/month subscription||Deezer Family for $14.99/month|
|43 million songs||Share your own playlists on social networks||6 user profiles with unlimited access|
|Songs in standard quality||Offline use and no ads||User profile for children|
|Unlimited music on PC and tablet||Lyric function|
|Access to 35 online radios|
If you’re looking for a free alternative to Spotify and don’t have a problem with advertisements, then Last.fm is the perfect music platform for you. This Spotify alternative can be used completely for free. Based on the songs in the playlist, Last.fm will independently search for music recommendations that match the listening habits of the user. It also displays recommendations for concerts taking place in the area. If you would like to use Last.fm without ads, you have to pay around $3 per month. In terms of price, Last.fm is a good alternative to Spotify.
Cheap membership isn’t the only attractive feature that Last.fm offers. It also shows what the majority of Last.fm users are listening to at the moment. With the scroll function, you can simply browse through the displayed songs until you discover something new. Last.fm also offers functions for exploring bands of various genres from other decades. You can specify two categories for the search: genre and year. With just a few clicks, you can create a small playlist with the most popular songs of the chosen genre and decade.
The website also offers a world map where you can see what is currently being listened to in different countries, and which songs are the most popular where.
|Last.fm without subscription||Included with $3/month subscription|
|Recommendations and advice based on user’s listening habits||Use without ads|
|100 billion songs|
|Scroll functions and world map with most popular songs|
SoundCloud is not only a music streaming service, but also a podcast streaming platform that has a particular draw for as-yet unknown artists. There, you can upload your own songs and share them with others.
This Spotify alternative can also be used on all popular iPhone and Android devices. If you want to listen to your favorite songs offline as well, then you have to subscribe to the SoundCloud service called SoundCloud Go+.
SoundCloud promotes the world’s largest music streaming catalogue. With a subscription, you get complete access to songs offered by the streaming service.
|SoundCloud without subscription||Included with $4.99/month subscription||Included with $9.99/month subscription|
|150 million songs||Upload your own songs||Access to all songs and podcasts|
|Offline use without ads|
Google Play Music
Google Play Music gives you enough time with a 90-day trial version to get a good impression of the streaming service’s premium subscription. This Spotify alternative offers an ordinary subscription as well as a model for families: For a small price, up to 5 family members can use all the music capabilities of Google Play Music at the same time.
Google Play doesn’t offer any exclusive content (such as audio books or live recordings, for example), but makes the direct purchase of songs and albums possible. Another disadvantage is that linking to Google Wallet requires you to create an account and specify your credit card details.
|Google Play without subscription||Google Play Unlimited for $9.99/month||Google Play Family for $14.99/month|
|Upload up to 50,000 songs||Function to skip any number of titles||5 user accounts can access music at the same time|
|Music recommendations||Various radio stations to stream|
|Offline use possible|
The music streaming service from Apple, similar to Spotify, has more than 30 million titles available. With Apple Music, it’s possible to follow artists and ‘like’ as well as comment on entries – a clear advantage in comparison to Spotify. Apple Music isn’t only available for Apple devices, but can also be used on Windows and Android. The service is free for the first three months.
|Apple Music without subscription||Single person for $9.99/month||Family for $14.99/month|
|3-month trial version||Skip any number of titles||6 user profiles with unlimited access|
|Available for iOS, Mac OS X, Windows, and Android||Discounted student subscription for $4.99/month possible||Share iTunes purchases|
|Upload up to 40,000 songs Ad-free|
|Original recordings, concerts, and exclusive content|
All subscriptions for the streaming services presented here are paid by the month and can be canceled at any time. This way, you can easily switch to another streaming service if its offer seems more enticing. Many of the streaming services are also an interesting alternative to Spotify due to their student and family subscriptions.
|Trial period||Music selection (in songs)||Free basic model||Monthly subscription price||Extras|
|Deezer||30 days||43 million||Yes||Free/$9.99, Family $14.99||Lyric function|
|Last.FM||30 days||100 billion||Yes||Free/$3||Recommendations based on listening habits|
|SoundCloud||30 days||150 million||Yes||Free/$9.99||Podcast streaming|
|Google Play||90 days||35 million||Yes||$9.99, Family $14.99||Family offer|
|Apple Music||3 months||30 million||No||$9.99, Student $4.99, Family $14.99||Follow artists and comment|