Sign Up for One of These Music-Streaming Apps, And You Can Say Goodbye to Ads Forever

Access millions of songs anytime, anywhere!

music streaming services best 2018
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We love vinyl as much as anybody else, but streaming is the future of music. It's cheap and gives you instant access to millions of tracks anywhere and anytime. With so many streaming services to choose from, we want to help you find the best music streaming service to subscribe to. Because let's be real, your iPhone's home screen is probably already cluttered with apps you don't use. Whether you love discovering music on your own, want to peek at what your friends are listening to, or are an audiophile who needs the high-fidelity tunes, we'll help you find the best streaming service for your needs and budget.

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Spotify

from $9.99 per month

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Best Overall Streaming Service

With more than 30 million songs, 170 million monthly active users, and 75 million paid subscribers, it's clear that Spotify is the king of streaming music. Its mobile and desktop applications provide users with an easy way to access and browse music, create playlists, and discover new tunes.

We also love the social element to Spotify. You can see what your friends are listening to and even share and recommend specific tracks, albums, and playlists to each other. Spotify's key feature is its algorithmic curation of music to help you experience new music each day. We're big fans of the Discover Daily playlists and New Music Friday Playlists that Spotify automatically curates for you. With Spotify, you'll have something to listen to for any occasion.

More: Take the Party Anywhere With One of These Top Bluetooth Speakers

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Amazon Music Unlimited

from $9.99 per month

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Best for Amazon Echo Owners

Prime members get access to 2 million songs on Amazon Prime Music, but Music Unlimited — which isn't a part of an Amazon Prime membership — has a much larger catalog of songs, so it's worth the upgrade. Prime members can enroll for just $7.99 each month. If you're an Echo smart speaker or Fire TV owner, you can get a plan for only $3.99 each month, which leaves everyone else with the standard $9.99 per month package.

Music Unlimited has clear 256 Kbps bitrate audio and karaoke-like scrolling lyrics, and it offers listeners tracks that feature behind-the-scenes commentary from all your favorite artists. Fun fact: It's also the only streaming service that lets you listen to Garth Brooks' entire collection of songs.

Our favorite Amazon Music Unlimited feature is that you can ask your Echo to play songs that are on the tip of your tongue, but you can't quite remember the name of the song. For example, you could ask Alexa to "Play the song that goes 'Blue jean baby, L.A. lady,'" and it'll play "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John.

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Apple Music

from $9.99 per month

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Best for Apple Users

Apple Music provides users access to 45 million songs, making it the largest streaming music service in terms of catalog size. Besides the sheer volume of songs available, several artists like Drake, Taylor Swift, and Frank Ocean frequently choose to exclusively stream their discographies on Apple Music, so if you're an Apple Music subscriber, you should feel pretty confident you can stream the artists that you know and love.

Not only that, but Apple Music is one of the few streaming services that has a live 24/7 radio station. The station, called Beats 1, is frequently hosted by Zane Lowe, and it plays a mix of pop, indie, and rap music. The most compelling reason to subscribe to Apple Music is its clever integration with Apple devices. You can ask Siri to search for songs, playlists, or albums and queue them up on your HomePod smart speaker.

More: Our Full Review on the HomePod Smart Speaker

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Google Play Music

from $9.99 per month

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Best for Android or Google Home Users

You probably use Google and YouTube already to find music, but you should really consider subscribing to Google's streaming music service, too. Play Music not only provides you with access to 40 million songs, but you can also upload 50,000 of your own so you can stream your personal collection of songs anywhere.

Google's music app and web player both have intuitive user interfaces that are easy to operate. Additionally, Play Music offers channels designed to fit your mood based on time of day, a feature you'll take advantage of more often than you may think you would.

Best of all, a subscription to Google Music grants you access to YouTube Premium, which means no more ads on YouTube. YouTube Premium also has exclusive content, and it lets you play videos while using other apps or when your smartphone's screen is off.

More: The Best Speakers to Use With Google Play Music

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Pandora

$9.99 per month

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Best for Passive Listening

Pandora is one of the early streaming services that has managed to stay relevant after almost two decades of operating. Its $9.99 per month premium service lets you create stations and playlists, plus download songs for offline listening. It features a large 40 million track catalog with unlimited skips and no ads.

Pandora is probably the best streaming radio service you can use to drown out everyday background noise, thanks to its outstanding algorithms, large subscriber base, and user-generated ratings.

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iHeartRadio

from $9.99 per month

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Best for Keeping Up With Trends

iHeartRadio is one of the most personalized music-streaming apps available. The service recommends stations and songs based on your listening habits and favorite genres that you input when creating your account. You can access over a thousand live radio streams throughout the country, including local channels.

iHeartRadio All Access has unlimited skips, and it lets you save or replay songs from the radio. If you don't have service, the app even supports offline listening. iHeartRadio is worth checking out if you want a streaming service that combines the spontaneity of radio with a way to listen to specific songs uninterrupted, too.

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Tidal

from $9.99 per month

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Best for High-Fidelity Audio

For most streaming music services, convenience trumps quality. Most apps offer low-quality streams that'll make an audiophile's ears cry — but not Tidal. If you're looking for high-fidelity, 24-bit, CD-quality audio, look no further than here. You can stream HD videos and exclusive albums like Beyoncé and Jay-Z's joint album, Everything is Love.

Our only complaint: Tidal's HiFi plan costs $19.99 each month (a standard sound quality plan is $9.99 a month), which is twice as much as most other streaming services. To be fair, one FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) album download will run you about $20, and Tidal gives you access to millions of high-quality albums for the same price.

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SoundCloud

from $4.99 per month

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Best for Music Discovery

SoundCloud features one of the most gorgeous and well-designed music players on a mobile app. However, SoundCloud's premium music-streaming service isn't for everyone. It's for the indie music lovers who dig deep to find undiscovered artists and remixes and who like to listen to live performances of songs.

You're not going to stream full albums or Top 40 with this app, but you'll be able to interact with underground artists, comment on tracks, meet other die-hard music fans, and even upload music of your own.

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Slacker Radio

from $3.99 per month

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Best for Live Content

Slacker Radio is one of the few streaming services that has a non-musical component to it, which we love. Sure, you can stream thousands of songs on-demand, listen to a number of stations, playlists, and DJs free from ads — but Slacker radio also offers a way to listen to news, sports, podcasts, lifestyle channels, and the weather. It even streams music festivals on occasion.

At the time of publishing, Slacker was live-streaming Switzerland's eclectic Montreux Jazz Festival. If you want a streaming service that doubles as a radio, Slacker may be the one for you.

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Deezer
Deezer

from $9.99 per month

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Best Newcomer

Deezer is probably the streaming service you've never heard of. Despite not being as popular as the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, Deezer still manages to compete. It provides a collection of 53 million songs to stream, and it offers a Hi-Fi streaming option with 16-bit FLAC quality for the same price of a Tidal subscription.

The service offers curated playlists, an offline mode, built-in lyrics, and no ads. Like other big streaming music players, Deezer offers discounted family bundles and student plans. Cricket prepaid customers can sign up for just $6 a month, too!