Is there a better alternative to Apple Music?

Apple Music launched in 2015 as Apple’s music streaming service, providing access to over 75 million songs as well as exclusive content like radio shows hosted by artists. The service costs $9.99/month for an individual plan and competes in a crowded streaming music landscape against services like Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music.

While Apple Music offers robust integration with Apple devices and exclusives for subscribers, there are some compelling alternatives worth considering. Each service has its own strengths in terms of price, library size, platform availability, and unique features. This article will examine and compare the top Apple Music alternatives to determine if there may be a better choice based on your listening habits and preferences.


Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming services with over 422 million monthly active users. It offers access to over 82 million songs and 4 billion playlists (Source).

Some of Spotify’s key features include:

  • Ability to search for and play any song, album, artist, or playlist
  • Personalized recommendations based on listening history and preferences
  • Playlists curated by Spotify’s editors and algorithms
  • Social features like sharing playlists with friends
  • Sync music for offline listening
  • Cross-platform support across mobile, desktop, gaming consoles, etc.

Compared to Apple Music, some pros of Spotify include its superior algorithms for recommendations, broader platform support including Windows, and a very user-friendly interface. However, Spotify offers slightly lower audio quality than Apple Music and lacks some exclusives like Taylor Swift’s recent albums.

Spotify has a few pricing tiers:

  • Free ad-supported plan
  • Premium Individual ($9.99/month)
  • Premium Family ($15.99/month for up to 6 users)
  • Premium Student ($4.99/month)

Overall, Spotify provides a very robust streaming music experience especially with its personalized recommendations and playlist curation.

YouTube Music

YouTube Music is a music streaming service developed by YouTube. It provides streaming access to songs, albums, playlists and music videos from YouTube’s catalog. Some key features of YouTube Music include:

  • Streaming of official songs, albums, playlists and music videos
  • Personalized recommendations based on listening history and YouTube activity
  • Offline downloading for ad-free listening without an internet connection
  • Integration with YouTube for easy access to live performances, covers, remixes and music videos

YouTube Music is deeply integrated with YouTube, allowing users to switch seamlessly between music and music videos. This integration gives YouTube Music access to a much wider variety of content compared to the catalogs of Apple Music or Spotify. However, the focus remains on official licensed music rather than user-generated content.

Compared to Apple Music, YouTube Music has a larger catalog of songs and videos, smarter recommendations based on YouTube activity, and lower pricing of $9.99 per month. However, Apple Music offers higher quality audio, better editorial content such as playlists and radio, and tighter integration with Apple devices and services.[1]

The pros of YouTube Music include its deep YouTube integration, unique content breadth, smart recommendations and ad-supported free tier. Cons are lower audio quality compared to Apple Music and less polish in terms of curation, playlists and device integration.

Amazon Music

Amazon Music offers more than 70 million songs ad-free, offline listening, high-quality streaming options for better sound, and Alexa integration.

One of the key features of Amazon Music is its deep integration with Alexa and Echo devices. You can ask Alexa to play music, control playback, and search for songs just using your voice. Alexa can also make personalized recommendations and create customized playlists based on your listening preferences.

Amazon Music has a few pricing tiers and plan options. The free tier provides access to top playlists and stations but requires an Amazon Prime membership. Amazon Music Unlimited provides access to the full catalog of songs for $7.99/month for an individual plan or $79/year for an annual subscription. The HD streaming tier is $9.99/month for lossless and spatial audio from Dolby Atmos tracks.[1]


Overview and key features: Tidal is a music streaming service that focuses on high fidelity audio and exclusive content. The company was originally founded in 2014 in Norway and allows users to stream over 80 million tracks in lossless HiFi quality, with options for CD quality lossless or standard quality MP3s (Trusted Reviews). Tidal offers superior sound quality compared to competitors like Apple Music and Spotify.

Tidal has two premium subscription plans – HiFi and HiFi Plus. The HiFi tier offers CD-quality lossless audio at 44.1kHz / 16 bit while HiFi Plus provides master quality audio at 96kHz / 24 bit. This allows audiophiles to hear music as the artists intended without any data compression. Tidal also offers immersive sound through Dolby Atmos Music and Sony 360 Reality Audio.

In terms of exclusive content, Tidal often gets access to artist exclusives like early album releases or live concert streams. Fans can discover unique content like Tidal Rising for emerging artists or Tidal X events. Overall, Tidal stands out for its superior audio quality and focus on exclusive artist content for fans.


Pandora is one of the original streaming music services, launching in 2000 with their customizable radio stations. Unlike Apple Music, Pandora relies primarily on stations and playlists based on your tastes rather than offering an on-demand catalog of songs (source).

The key features of Pandora include:

  • Stations based on artists, songs, or genres
  • Thumbs up/down feedback to further customize stations
  • Discovery of new music tailored to your tastes
  • Limited on-demand playback of specific songs
  • Premium option removes ads and provides unlimited skips

Pandora shines when it comes to effortless music discovery based on your existing preferences. The stations continuously play music matched to your taste without needing to pick specific songs. You can find new artists and songs within the style you already enjoy. While Apple Music provides some curated playlists, the focus remains on searching for and playing exactly what you want rather than Pandora’s leanback radio experience (source).


SoundCloud is a music and audio streaming platform that focuses on emerging and independent artists. With over 300 million tracks and 225 million monthly users, SoundCloud has built a large community of creators and listeners (Source).

One of the key differentiators of SoundCloud is the prominence it gives to unsigned and up-and-coming musicians. The platform makes it easy for new artists to share their music and connect with potential fans. This provides a launchpad for independent musicians to build an audience.

In addition to music streaming, SoundCloud enables collaborative creation through simple audio editing tools. Users can comment on tracks, repost songs they like, and interact with each other. This sense of community is a big part of SoundCloud’s appeal for both artists and listeners.


Deezer is a popular streaming service headquartered in France that focuses on international markets. With over 73 million licensed tracks, Deezer is available in over 180 countries and offers support for 43 languages (source).

One of Deezer’s key strengths is its international focus and multi-lingual support. This makes it an appealing option for users looking for non-English and local language music. Deezer has done a good job tailoring its service to different markets, down to offering localized playlists and radio stations.

In terms of pricing, Deezer has several plans to choose from:

  • Deezer Free – A free, ad-supported plan limited to shuffle play.
  • Deezer Premium – $9.99 per month with standard streaming features but limited to online only (no downloads).
  • Deezer HiFi – $14.99 per month lossless CD-quality audio streaming.
  • Deezer Family – $14.99 per month for up to 6 accounts.
  • Deezer Student – Discounted rate for eligible students.

Overall, Deezer may appeal most to users looking for music discovery around international or non-English music. The multi-lingual support and localized music selections help Deezer stand out. For pricing, it is very competitively aligned with major rivals like Spotify and Apple Music.


Qobuz, the French music streaming service aimed at audiophiles, could be a better alternative for those seeking higher audio quality. Unlike Apple Music, Qobuz offers uncompressed lossless CD quality up to 24 bit/192 kHz hi-res streaming across their entire catalog of over 70 million tracks. So for those who value sound quality above all else, Qobuz provides “studio-grade fidelity,” as they claim on their website.

In addition to high fidelity audio, Qobuz also offers expertly curated editorial content like album articles, bios, reviews, and recommendations written by professional critics. This gives more context for exploring new music. As this comparison review states, “Overall, Qobuz doesn’t actually sound much better than Apple Music but people seem to be under the impression it does.”

Qobuz has a few pricing tiers depending on your needs: their Studio Premier plan with lossless CD quality is $14.99/month (the same as Apple Music) while their Studio Sublime plan goes up to $249.99/year for hi-res 24 bit streaming. So while Qobuz may not be cheap, it could suit audiophiles seeking higher fidelity and more niche content.


There are several notable streaming music alternatives to Apple Music, depending on your needs and preferences:

  • Spotify – The market leader in music streaming, with the largest song catalog, cross-device syncing, and extensive social features.
  • YouTube Music – A great option for those who want a streaming service integrated with YouTube. Includes official songs, covers, and live performances.
  • Amazon Music Unlimited – An affordable option for Amazon Prime members, with access to over 60 million songs.
  • Tidal – Offers high fidelity lossless audio quality, as well as exclusive content and livestreams.

There is no definitive “best” Apple Music alternative for every user. Spotify remains the most well-rounded option for most mainstream listeners. YouTube Music appeals to users focused on music videos and related content. Amazon Music Unlimited provides additional value for existing Amazon Prime subscribers. Audiophiles may prefer Tidal for lossless audio quality.

When deciding, consider factors like price, catalog size, audio quality, device availability, social integration, and extra perks offered. Evaluate which features are most significant for your personal listening preferences and habits.

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