Rock, hip-hop, blues – there are a multitude of choices when it comes to music. And now there are almost as many decisions to make about how to stream it. We spoke with Nicholas Deleon from Consumer Reports to find out which streaming service is right for you!
1. Apple Music
First on our list is Apple Music. “The key difference with Apple Music is that there actually is no free tier,” says Nicholas. “They do give you a three-month free trial, so if you test it out to see, you know whether you like the user interface, or whether or not your favorite band's on there.” Apple Music might be your best bet if you've already spent a lot of money on iTunes. “Because then all your songs that you bought from the iTunes Music Store back in the day will be integrated into Apple Music,” says Nicholas. Makes sense to us!
2. Google Play Music
Next, you may have heard of a little company called Google – which has Google Play Music, YouTube Music, and YouTube Red to sort out. Google Play Music offers at least one possible advantage. “If you own songs that you ripped from CDs back in the day, you can basically upload your music to Google's cloud, and then stream those songs back to your phone,” Nicholas explains.
Google also offers YouTube Music, which is a free, ad-supported app. You can go ad-free with YouTube Red, which gets you commercial-free YouTube. But wait, there’s more! “They also kind of throw in YouTube Music, which is basically like Google Play Music in that it gives you access to tens of millions of songs that you can listen to on your phone. So I would recommend, if you're even reasonably into YouTube, it might make sense just get YouTube Red and then have access to the music almost as like an additional side benefit.” Sounds like a good idea!
And, finally, there’s Amazon – which has Amazon Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited. “If you already have Amazon Prime for the free shipping, Amazon Prime Music is a throw-in, but with a much smaller library,” shares Nicholas. “I believe it's around two million songs.” If you want to unlock the full library, it's a little cheaper than usual at eight bucks a month, or eighty bucks for the year. But that's in addition to Prime, which just went up from 99 to 119 dollars a year. For non-Prime members, it's the usual ten bucks a month.
Shop around: it's the most common piece of advice. Now you know enough about the three major streaming services to pick the right one for you!