Music sure has come a long way since people were loading up Napster and Limewire to, uh, “legally” download “backups” of their favorite tracks. Never before have we had such choice for so little cash. For the price of a monthly Taco Bell lunch, we can access quality recordings unaccompanied by shifty viruses, and without needing to clear storage space on our devices or wait for lengthy downloads. There are lots of choices for streaming music these days, but not all of them are worth your fistful of dollars.
The things that separate streaming services are the quality of music discovery—whether that’s based on algorithms or human curation—the experience on desktop and mobile apps, what devices you can use them with, and their sound quality. All of these services’ libraries pretty much mirror each other, with tens of millions of songs ranging from the popular to the obscure. Most of them have free tiers, but the experience improves if you subscribe and pay a monthly fee. We put ’em all to the test to bring you our favorites. Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including the Best Wireless Headphones, Best Wirefree Earbuds, and Best Cheap Headphones.
Updated May 2023: We’ve updated song catalog counts and descriptions.
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