The future of music is here and if you haven’t gotten into music streaming yet, now is the time to let your ears have a listen at some of the best services available. For this guide, I looked at the major players in the music streaming industry. We’ll take a close look at the pros and cons of each service offered, and see which one might suit you best.

Which Music Streaming Service Is Best For You

Spotify – Founded in 2006 and launched in late 2008, Spotify now boasts over 100 million users. They are a huge player in the music streaming market. It’s easy to use and has a large selection of music. It definitely has my favorite search tool to find any artist genre or song you want, while also being able to search top charts.

Streaming audio quality – 96kbps and 160kbps are available for free users, while the 320kbps for paid subscribers.

Song library size – 30 Million+

What can a free user expect? – Ads, no HD audio, great music selection and no listening time out.

What can a paying user expect? – Premium costs $10 a month and gets you 320kbps with some songs, full mobile access and offline listening.

The nails on the chalkboard

  • Not all songs are 320kbps when using premium
  • No content filter
  • Low royalty fees, meaning that some artists are pulling their songs from the service because they are not getting compensated enough per song played.
  • Not very browser friendly

Final thoughts – Definitely worth looking into, and at $10 a month it’s not badly priced. It’s a solid service and it’s hard not to like using it, unless you want to use it in your browser.

Which Music Streaming Service Is Best For You

Pandora – The oldest streaming service on our list, Pandora was founded in early 2000 and has since risen to great heights. It’s a top pick for its DJ-like interface that picks songs for you, while using your feedback for each song to better improve future choices.

Streaming audio quality – 64kbps for free users and 192kbps for paid subscribers

Song library size – 1 million+

What can a free user expect? – Short ads, limited skips and a great listening experience which allows you to discover new artists.

What can a paying user expect? – No ads, more skips and 192kbps audio

The nails on the chalkboard

  • Small music library, with only 1 million+ songs, you may find this limiting.
  • Audio quality isn’t the best compared to the other options.
  • Ads can be annoying after a while.

Final thoughts – The DJ interface is very nice and its ease of use is fantastic. However I have noticed songs repeat more on this service than any other. It still is one of my top picks though.

Which Music Streaming Service Is Best For You

SoundCloud – Currently based in Berlin, Germany, Soundcloud is a unique tool for artists and listeners alike. By allowing artists to show off their own songs as well as allowing its listeners unlimited access to great sounding audio.

Streaming audio quality – 128kpbs

Song library size – 135 million and quickly growing

What can a free user expect? – Amazing selection of songs and a great tool to create new and unique playlists, as well a cool feature that lets you upload up to 180 minutes of your own audio.

What can a paying user expect? – An ad-free experience, offline listening, unlocked previews and more.

The nails on the chalkboard

  • The interface seems too basic.
  • Less paid content than Spotify, for the same price.

Final thoughts – An excellent choice for music streaming and well worth your time to sign up for, but maybe not the best value, unless you record and upload your own audio. A very cool service that actually offers something different and useful, a great choice all around.

Which Music Streaming Service Is Best For You

SiriusXM – Founded in 1990 as radio-only service, then later offered on the Internet, SiriusXM was actually two companies that merged to form what is now SiriusXM. It provides some of the best content to listeners, while still continuing to innovate with new features, like MySXM.

Streaming audio quality – 64kpbs

Song library size – 150+ channels, each with its own songs

What can a free user expect? – Nothing but a free 30-day trial

What can a paying user expect? – No ads, sports coverage and many very good and unique channels

The nails on the chalkboard

  • Price, the “All-Access” is double that of rivals, plus you have to pay for a streaming add-on.
  • Internet listening is for top tier paid users only.
  • No choice of songs, they pick the playlist for you unless you use “MySXM”.

Final thoughts – Expensive compared to rivals offering music streaming for free, SirusXM is great quality service and I hope they roll out a free steaming service in the future, I would definitely sign up. However for the price, it does offer some of the best content on this list.

So there are some great options out there and there are many more not mentioned on this list. Personally I recommend trying out a few free services to see if one suits you, you can always change to another if it doesn’t. So no matter what you like listening to, enjoy it and never stop discovering new artists, songs and albums.

  • Cory Potts

    I noticed you mention the price on the first service, then forgot to mention any other prices. I am a Pandora One (paid user $4/mo.) and I get as high as 320K or 256K only on computer browser windows but this allows me to use external DACs for a much nicer sounding service than just casual experience. Please update the review.