Streaming services: From YouTube Music to Spotify, what's the best option?
Pricewatch compares five music streaming services
There are five main streaming services. Photograph: Getty Images
This is the new kid on the block, having only become available in this part of the world in recent weeks. The service offers an ad-supported free model and subscription-based YouTube Music Premium, which costs €9.99 per month. The paid-for version offers background listening and downloads in addition to removing the ads. One of the unique selling points of this service is its parent Google. You can use the search engine’s smart search to track down a song by using a description or some of the lyrics. There are also more “remixes, live performances, covers and music videos that you can’t find anywhere else”, or so the company claims.
With about 45 million songs and all sorts of celebrities doing DJ stints, Apple is a big player in the streaming market and it has the added advantage of being able to synch with your existing iTunes account – and it can still give you access to certain music that other streaming services can’t – although in our experience most things end up on everything eventually. The interface is easy to use and the family deal gives six devices access for €15 a month – the regular packing is a tenner. Their free offering is very limited although the three-month trial for new subscribers is good.
The streaming service with first mover advantage, it seems like it has been with us forever but Spotify is barely five years old. The playlists are nice and easy to use and when explored deeply, will open you to music you may otherwise not have heard. The free service is fine and you get access to the entire library on mobile, tablet and computer. The ads are annoying, the audio quality lower and you can’t download anything to listen offline.
This is the option of choice for many serious music fans and is the most expensive of the services and does not come with any class of free option – outside of a month-long trial when you sign up. Tidal Premium with Normal and High sound quality and HD music videos costs €9.99 per month. While the HiFi option promises lossless High Fidelity sound quality, you will pay double. The sound quality is undoubtedly excellent but the interface can be on the clunky side.
This is closest in terms of quality and price to Spotify, but is a lot less well-known despite offering a wider choice of music. The free version is limited - which may be why it has struggled somewhat in selling itself.