Spotify Alternatives: 5 Other Music Streaming Services You Can Subscribe To
Spotify has, for quite a while now, been the market leader of the music streaming space, so much so that it has essentially become synonymous with the service. The Sweden-based company, however, has also dealt with its fair share of controversies over the years, from problems about artist royalty payments to content that spreads misinformation, prompting some subscribers to seek out alternatives.
After all, Spotify is no longer the only player in town. So regardless if you’re boycotting the platform or are looking to explore your options, here are five other music streaming services you can subscribe to.
Apple Music is perhaps Spotify's closest competitor. When comparing music libraries, Apple has the advantage with an estimate of over 90 million songs versus Spotify’s 75 million, which also includes two million or so podcasts. This means that, for songs alone, Apple is the winner. Then again, unless you’re after niche tracks, you’ll likely find the song you want to listen to on either service. If you’re also after podcasts, Apple put theirs in a separate service aptly called Apple Podcasts.
What Apple Music has that Spotify doesn’t – or at least not yet – is “CD-quality” streaming for audiophiles who have the hardware to support it. The lossless, HiFi version of a song will expectedly sound better than its compressed counterpart. Apple Music additionally features dynamic head tracking and spatial audio support for the company’s earphones and headphones.
Spotify is expected to launch a premium HiFi tier soon, though we have yet to hear more about it.
Apple Music, unlike Spotify, doesn’t have a free tier, with subscriptions starting at S$4.98 per month for students and S$9.98 per month for individuals. It’s almost the same as Spotify’s monthly fee of S$9.90.
If you’re already in the Apple system, Apple Music should be your top option. Using Apple-branded audio equipment lets you enjoy extra features on the service that might not necessarily be available elsewhere. If you also want lossless quality music, this is one of your best options.
YouTube Music is another great alternative to Spotify. It has tens of millions of songs from different genres and eras. It has personalised playlists to suit whatever mood you’re in. And it’s priced competitively at S$9.98 per month for the individual plan.
The service also features a wide selection of music videos for you to stream, which saves you from having to go to the YouTube app to watch them. It’s a neat addition that can enhance your music streaming experience.
The YouTube Music subscription also includes YouTube Premium, which removes those pesky ad interruptions when you’re watching videos on the platform. It gives you access to several useful YouTube features as well, including the ability to play HD videos offline or in the background.
But it’s worth noting that in terms of music curation and streaming rate, Apple Music and Spotify beat YouTube Music. These probably won’t matter in typical day-to-day use, but it’s important to mention all the same. As such, this is a service that’s more suited for those who love to watch videos and listen to music.
If you find yourself using YouTube a lot, a YouTube Music subscription, which, as mentioned, comes bundled with YouTube Premium, is a pretty sweet deal.
For Asian music, there’s no better platform than KKBox. The Taiwan-based service has an expansive library of Mandarin, Cantonese and Korean songs, including the latest K-pop and J-pop hits.
What’s more, it offers Hi-Fi streaming, though it’s not available for all songs. The representation of different Asian artists can also be quite inconsistent, with some having their entire discography while others are missing an album or two. There are some English tracks as well, but what’s here doesn’t compare to what you might find on, say, Spotify or Apple Music.
Sure, there's room for improvement, but KKBox is still a service worth considering with a more niche library. And it costs the same as Spotify at S$9.90 per month for an individual plan. Stans of BTS, Arashi and other uber-popular K-pop and J-pop groups will likely find plenty to dig into here.
Tidal brands itself as the go-to destination for listening to music the way the artists intended, touting true high-resolution sound and audio formats not found elsewhere. The platform’s HiFi tier streams at 1,411kbps, which dwarfs Spotify’s 320kbps. The tier above, HiFi Plus, buys you 360 Reality Audio and Dolby Atmos spatial audio for tracks that support them. There are also now millions of titles on the platform that uses MQA technology, which essentially lets you enjoy the original master recording with little to no loss in quality.
Content-wise, Tidal is also no slouch, with a library of over 80 million songs, including a number of platform exclusives. It even includes thousands of music videos and artist interviews.
Tidal’s plans start at S$9.90 per month for the HiFi tier. However, you’ll have to pay more for the HiFi Plus tier. But there’s also no other service that offers this level of quality in streaming. So if you’re an audiophile and you have the hardware to support this type of quality, there’s no question that Tidal is the way to go.
If it also means anything, Tidal recently expanded how it supports artists with fan-centred royalties. The brand says that 10% of your HiFi Plus account’s subscription fee goes directly to the artists you listen to the most. This makes the platform the best place to show your favourite artists some love.
Among the entries on this list, Deezer is probably the closest you can get to what Spotify offers. Both platforms have a huge catalogue of songs, podcasts and radio shows. Both also feature personalised playlists and algorithm-based recommendations.
Deezer’s advantage right now is that it already has a HiFi subscription tier that allows you to stream lossless audio. Spotify’s HiFi tier, as mentioned earlier, has yet to arrive. The catch of course is that the Deezer’s HiFi subscription costs more than Premium, priced at S$14.85 per month and S$9.90 per month, respectively.
Also, Deezer has a feature called SongCatcher, which essentially works like Shazam. For the uninitiated, Shazam is an app that identifies music based on a short sample that a device’s mic picks up. So, say, you hear a song playing in the mall and you want to know its title, you can use the feature to get this information. It’s a nifty bonus that makes finding songs you want to listen to much easier.
Deezer is not as popular as some of the other entries on this list and it doesn’t do a whole lot to set itself apart from the pack. But the platform offers an excellent and easy-to-use service. So if none of the previous entries particularly interest you, why not try this one?
In summary, you have a wealth of options in the music streaming space and each of them has at least one unique feature to offer. Find the one that best suits your personal listening needs and budget, then try it out. These platforms typically let you enjoy a brief trial period before charging your subscription.