Early in 2022, Spotify found itself embroiled in controversy because of one of its most popular podcasters, Joe Rogan. Artists such as Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, and Neil Young pulled their songs from the streaming giant, calling Rogan “irresponsible” for allowing his guests to spread “misinformation” about the pandemic.
It wasn’t long before fans of these rock legends started following suit and looking for a Spotify alternative.
However, even if you’re not concerned about controversies, you may still be looking for alternatives to Spotify. Neil Young himself pointed out that Spotify has failed to offer the promised lossless audio that gives better sound quality, an option that both Apple Music and Amazon Music provide.
There is also the matter of cost. How many streaming services are we expected to pay for, anyhow? Spotify has a free version, but the free Spotify can be a frustrating experience because of the ads and skips.
If you’re thinking about ditching Spotify, the good news is that there are actually lots of music streaming services out there.
What are the best Spotify alternatives? Let’s dive in and see your best options for streaming your tunes.
1. Amazon Music
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you’re probably already familiar with Amazon Music Unlimited. If you’ve not tried it out, no doubt you’ve seen the retail giant’s on-site ads for the service.
Amazon Music Unlimited can be played on most devices, including:
- Amazon Echo Studio
- iOS devices
- Android devices
- Dolby Atmos soundbars
Amazon Prime Music is an excellent choice for Amazon Prime members because it comes free with a membership. However, an affordable upgrade will allow you to listen to Amazon Music Unlimited, which offers an expanded catalog and even more features.
Currently, Amazon offers the following plans for unlimited music.
- $7.99 per month (individual with Amazon Prime membership)
- $9.99 per month (individual without Prime membership)
- $15 per month (family plan)
- $4 per month (single device)
- $5 per month (student)
- Hi-res and spatial audio from Sony 360 Reality Studio and Dolby Atmos
- Free music stations for Amazon Echo products and Amazon Tap
- Song lyrics that show on the “Now Playing” screen
- Amazon Music is reasonably priced for both Prime members and non-Prime members.
- The interface is familiar and easy to use for anyone who is accustomed to using Amazon’s website.
- Amazon Music has a huge library of music.
- There are no biographies on artist profiles.
- The music locker feature is no longer available.
- Amazon Music is a little clunky on smaller devices.
- No video content is currently available.
- There is no ad-free free tier available.
The Tidal streaming service has become increasingly popular in the wake of Spotify’s woes. Tidal was first launched in 2014, but in March 2015, rapper Jay-Z relaunched the service.
The Tidal interface is similar to Spotify, but there are two key differences. First, the service advertises itself as being “artist-owned,” which means that artists get a higher profit share.
Second, if listeners pay for the highest tier of the service, they get Hi-Fi sound that’s CD-quality.
Tidal is a great streaming service for audiophiles, especially if you’re passionate about artists being compensated for their music. Along with great music, Tidal also has great content with entertaining stories, music videos, video outtakes, and a lot of amazing behind-the-scenes backstage footage.
Tidal offers a free plan with good sound quality and more than 90 million songs. However, they also offer two premium plans with HiFi sound.
- HiFi: $9.99 per month
- HiFi Plus: $19.99 per month
HiFi Plus allows you to give 10% of your subscription fee to the artists you listen to. Tidal offers a 30-day free trial of both premium plans
- Hi-fi music streams
- Dolby Atmos Surround mixes
- Concert live streams
- A free tier is available.
- Artist profiles and record reviews are available on every page.
- Up-and-coming artists are spotlighted.
- Mobile apps and the web player aren’t as intuitive as other familiar streaming apps.
- Most of the Hi-res songs use MQA, which requires a special decoder.
- Tidal’s music catalog isn’t as robust as services such as Apple Music, Amazon Music, or Spotify.
SoundCloud has a huge music library with more than 265 million podcasts and songs. However, to access the full content library, SoundCloud requires that listeners have a SoundCloud Go+ subscription.
Go+ subscribers can dub multiple tracks over the other and create their own unique remixes. This is super handy for people who enjoy hosting house parties.
With the more affordable SoundCloud Go account, you can get unlimited downloads and enjoy partial access to the more extensive audio library.
SoundCloud offers a free plan, but they also have two premium plans.
- SoundCloud Go: $5.99 for iOS, $4.99 for Android/web
- SoundCloud Go+: $12.99 for iOS, $9.99 for Android/web
- Huge music libary
- DJ engine that allows listeners to mix their own tracks
- Unlimited downloads
- Offline mode
- The library has more than 265 million podcasts and songs.
- The DJ engine with Go+ allows you to mix your own unique tracks.
- The less affordable tier doesn’t allow you to access the full library.
4. Apple Music
With more than 75 million songs, Apple Music is Spotify’s strongest competitor. Users of Apple devices such as iPhones will be familiar with the intuitive and slick interface that’s super easy for beginners to navigate.
One thing to note is that the Apple Music experience is much more enjoyable on larger screens because the app’s icons are large on smaller screens. If you’re an iPhone user, you’ll love how easy it is to integrate your music with Siri.
Apple Music is great for users who enjoy using Apple products. You can listen to Apple Music on Apple devices and even on some other devices, including Android smartphones, Amazon’s Alexa, and PCs.
Apple Music offers three payment tiers.
- $9.99 per month (individual)
- $14.99 per month (family of up to six people)
- $4.99 per month (voice, student)
- Lossless audio
- Dolby Atmos support
- 24/7 digital radio and music video channels
- Hi-Res Audi
- Siri compatibility
- Integration with Apple Pay
- Apple Music has a huge library of music.
- Lossless and spatial audio guarantees premium sound.
- You can integrate Apple Music with your personal music library (although it’s not super easy to do).
- There is an amazing music discovery feature.
- Apple Music’s recommendations feature is not as robust as that of Spotify.
- You have to use a separate app for podcasts.
- The mobile app can sometimes be buggy.
- Getting your personal music library to your device isn’t an intuitive process.
5. LiveOne (Slacker)
Slacker powers LiveOne, and the fantastic music stream service combines the power of Slacker’s curated radio stations with the live performances available on LiveOne. This pairing is something that is unique in the world of streaming services.
LiveOne is a great option for people who love live music experiences. When your favorite artists come to your area, you can buy tickets and go see them perform in person or watch them on live stream.
Like most of the other plans on our list, LiveOne offers a free version of its service. However, the free version is flooded with both audio and video ads that make it nearly impossible to enjoy the music.
When you upgrade to the ad-free Plus plan, you enjoy a 320Kbps playback bit rate with unlimited skips.
LiveOne Premium costs $9.99 per month.
- Deep video library
- Tons of podcasts
- Well-curated channels
- LIve-streaming of your favorite artist’s concerts
- LiveOne has well-curated channels and playlists.
- You can buy tickets for live events and watch them in person or stream them in the app (or both!).
- The service has a huge video offering and tons of podcasts.
- The DJs are very informative.
- Expect a clunky interface with LiveOne.
- There are no Hi-res audio options.
- The service doesn’t offer a family plan.
- Lyrics are unavailable.
6. YouTube Music
For years, many of us have been going to YouTube to hear our favorite songs and watch the videos, but this isn’t ideal for when you’re working out, working at your job, or driving.
With YouTube Music, you have some amazing features that will be familiar to you if you’re comfortable using YouTube. If you’re already a YouTube Premium member, you can enjoy YouTube Music for free.
You can listen to YouTube Music free with advertisements. However, YouTube also offers three paid plans.
- Individual: $9.99 per month
- Family: $14.99 per month
- Student: $4.99 per month
You can save money by buying YouTube’s annual plan. YouTube also offers a one-month free trial on all plans, and sometimes they run a special offering a three-month free trial.
- Customized playlists
- Search by lyrics
- Community uploads
- Official studio releases
- Easily switch between watching a song’s video and listening to audio.
- Excellent time and location-based playlists.
- Find songs by doing a search for lyrics.
- Create collaborative playlists with friends and family members.
- Tiers are affordable and they have offerings for families and students.
- There is a free tier.
- YouTube doesn’t offer Hi-res audio.
- There is very little non-music programming.
7. Pandora Premium
Pandora is the OG (original gangster) of the music streaming universe, and it was the first to offer playlists to cater to a listener’s preferences.
Currently, Pandora is owned by SiriusXM Holdings, and it was introduced in 2005. Since then, it has gone through several changes. For example, in the original plan offerings, users were only allowed to stream 40 hours per month.
Pandora has a free plan that allows listeners to view an ad to unlock music. The company also offers two paid plans.
- Pandora Plus: $4.99 per month
- Pandora Premium: $9.99 per month
- Pandora Premium Family: $14.99 per month
- Pandora Premium Student: $4.99 per month
- Pandora Premium Military: $7.99 per month
You can get a 30-day free trial for Pandora Plus, or a 60-day free trial for Pandora Premium.
- Free version available
- Lots of podcasts to choose from
- Share playlists
- Pandora has fewer songs than some of the other services.
Another rising star in the streaming service industry is Qobuz. You can listen to music on
Qobuz’s platform on a high-end music sound system or an Android phone, and both devices will give you great quality.
As far as a streaming library, Qobuz has about as many tracks as Tidal and Spotify (about 70 million). However, some of the Qobuz artists are more obscure.
Qobuz is a great fit for people who enjoy jazz and classical music because the Hi-res audio gives superior quality listening. For rock fans, there is also an excellent selection of music to listen to.
Qobuz has pricing tiers that can be confusing. They offer Studio and Sublime, and underneath both of those umbrellas, Qobuz also has plans that are for individuals, duos, and families.
- Studio Solo: $12.99 per month/$129 per year
- Studio Duo (for 2 people): $17.99 per month/$179.88 per year
- Studio Family: $21.90 per month/$215.88 per year
The Sublime plan has its own pricing tear.
- Sublime Solo: $179.99 per year
- Sublime Duo: $269.89 per year
- Sublime Family: $349.99 per year
You can try either of Qobuz’s plans for one month for free.
- Hi-res music
- Large library of more obscure artists
- 24-bit music without a special decoder needed
- Download store
- No MQA decoder is needed to listen to Hi-res songs.
- There are a lot of up-and-coming artists who are more obscure.
- Quobuz is more affordable than many other options.
- The app is fun to use, as well as easy and clean.
- You won’t find all of the most popular artists on Quobuz.
- There is no spatial audio.
- Qobuz doesn’t offer a free listening tier.
- Social components aren’t included.
- There are no live stations or podcasts.
- Quobuz lacks smart speaker support.
Deezer has a somewhat modest offering and makes a fairly small footprint in the crowded universe of music streaming services. Nevertheless, the company offers a solid service with high-quality music streaming.
Deezer’s pricing is much more affordable than services such as Spotify. The company broke out in 2016, and they offer several different listening options.
Deezer is a great option for people who are accustomed to buying their music. You can easily import the MP3 files that are already on your computer. All you need to do is upload them to your Deezer account through their website.
Once you’ve done that, you can stream all of your old and new favorites from anywhere on your devices. This is also a great option for people who frequently buy music from local artists.
You can listen to music on Deezer free with ads. However, they also offer three paid plans.
- $9.99 per month (individual)
- $14.99 per month (HiFi, family)
- $5 per month (student)
If you pay for an entire year in advance, you can save 25% on the premium plan and 50% on the discounted student plan.
All of Deezer’s plans offer a one-month free trial. You can cancel at any time.
- Live radio
- Streaming music
- Exclusive videos
- You get excellent quality on Deezer’s free tier.
- The original music selection and video content options are excellent.
- Upload the MP3 files from your computer to the website, then listen on all of your devices.
- Only 30-song snippets are available on the free tier.
- You can’t upload MP3s through the mobile app.
- It’s not possible to rewind live radio streams.
Bandcamp considers itself to be an “online record store and music community” where independent podcasts and musicians are directly paid for by their fans. Bandcamp says that their artists collect between 80 and 85 percent of every sale.
The exception to the above is on Bandcamp Fridays, which happens on the first Friday of every month. On these Fridays, the company gives 100% of its revenue share to the artists.
Bandcamp is free for listeners. What you can do is listen to featured artists’ tracks and then purchase physical or digital albums from your favorite artists.
- No interruptions
- No advertising
- Most of the money collected goes directly to the artists.
- Stream concerns from local and independent artists.
- There are only about 5 million digital albums on Bandcamp as of 2020.
- Many hugely popular artists aren’t on Bandcamp.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.