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Streaming music comparison: Spotify vs. Apple vs. Pandora vs. Amazon

The way we listen to music has changed drastically over the years. Vinyl records, 8-track tapes, cassette tapes and CDs are some of the platforms that have come and gone. Speaking of vinyl, you might want to check out your collection as these records are worth big money.

While some are holding on to their favorite CDs for dear life, most of us have cleared up space by getting rid of them. Now, we’ve moved onto streaming services like Spotify or Pandora.

There are tons of music streaming services, but how do you know which one is right for you? We’ve put together a guide to help you decide and we’ve even created a helpful comparison chart that goes over price, audio quality, exclusive songs/artists and more.

What to look for in a music streaming service

This might be hard to believe, but price isn’t always the most important thing to look for when choosing a service. When it comes to music services, you’ll also want to check for audio quality, if the platform allows for multiple users at the same time and if it offers exclusive content, just to name a few.

Many factors help distinguish between a great streaming service and one that’s just OK. Here are a few of our suggestions on what to look for:

Are 35 million songs enough?

Not all music services offer the same content. It’s a competitive market, so many services try to stand apart from the others by signing artists who provide exclusive music you won’t find on other apps. Each service has huge libraries of content, but some are larger than others.

For example, Apple Music has over 50 million songs to choose from. Spotify, on the other hand, has just over 35 million songs available.

While 35 million is nothing to sneeze at, there could be songs you just have to have that are only available on Apple Music or Amazon Music. So make sure you look at available music libraries for the streaming service you’re thinking about subscribing to. If it doesn’t have what you’re looking for, move on to the next.

Do you take advantage of your Prime membership perks?

Amazon Prime doesn’t just offer fast and free shipping, it also comes with a ton of perks you might not even know about. If you don’t want to miss anything, check out our tip on 10 free things every Amazon Prime member gets.

One awesome Prime perk is access to the Amazon Music library. It’s not Amazon Music Unlimited, mind you, so you won’t have access to the 50 million+ songs that come with that; however, you will be able to listen to tons of music.

If you’re a Prime member, check it out and see if this is enough to make you happy. If not, you could always supplement it with another service or even pay for the upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited.

Don’t forget about the kids

Imagine trying to get some work done around the house while jamming to your favorite tunes. All of a sudden the music stops. You turn it back on and it plays for about 10 seconds before stopping again. What in the world happened?

Most likely your kids have just started listening to music using your account, and since the service only allows one stream at a time, you’re having a musical tug-of-war. Not fun.

To avoid scenarios like this, you should look into your streaming service to see if they offer a family plan. That way you can rock out whenever you want without having to worry about someone cutting you off.

Check out the chart

If you want to find out which streaming services offer family plans, how much each plan costs and what audio quality they offer, make sure to take a look at our comparison chart. We’ve gathered everything you need to know all in one place so you can make an educated decision.

The chart compares Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play Music, Pandora, Amazon Music and Tidal. See how each service stacks up against each other, and find the one that fits your entertainment needs. Happy listening!

Tap or click to see our streaming music services comparison chart.

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