If not Spotify… then what?

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If not Spotify… then what?

streaming services
(Image: Haithem Ferdi & Viktor Forgacs)
Words by Benjamin Lamb

A look at four alternative music streaming services on offer

With all the daily news and drama surrounding Spotify at the moment, many music fans are looking at other ways to listen to their favourite songs, they’re looking for somewhere that has better music, cheaper rates, and most importantly, a service that supports their artists.

Luckily for us, there’s no shortage of music streaming services, there’s four main sites that each bring something cool to the world of music listening. Today we’re looking at some of the best steaming services and detailing their audio quality, price, content, and a whole lot more, there’s no doubt you’ll find one you like!


It’s often lauded as the best music streaming service, and it’s had some pretty famous faces behind the scenes like Jay-Z and Lil Wayne, and it’s one of the only services supported by Prince, who was famously against many streaming services and the low rates they pay musicians.

Tidal deals in high fidelity sound coupled with lossless audio, which is purely a higher-class production of sound. Music is restructured between recording and release, and often some elements are lost in the process, but Tidal’s audio makes the song exactly like the musician wanted it to be heard. Unlike any of the other streaming services out there.

Due to licensing agreements happening different to that of TV, it’s difficult to have exclusivity on a music streaming platform, but Tidal has over 10 million more songs on their service than that of Spotify. It’s also important to note that because the service was made by musos, it pays them one of the highest rates per stream, currently sitting around $0.016 per stream.

For the fancier audio sound, more tunes and better user interface, you’d think you’d have to pay an arm and a leg for Tidal, but it’s extremely affordable, only $12 a month. Or if you’re a music buff who wants that little bit more out of your listening, you can pay $24 a month for Tidal HiFi plus, where everything’s just that little bit better.

For finding new music, Tidal’s Explore function provides its users with some well-tailored music and podcast suggestions, there’s no doubt you’ll find your new favourite.

Check out more info about Tidal here.

Apple Music

Apple Music is by far one of the nicest looking services on this list, Apple’s laid back and effortless aesthetic following through to the digital form.

Once again, due to Spotify’s low streaming quality, many of these services come out on top, with Apple Music providing audio to listeners with much less compression. Recently introducing their new Spatial Audio service, which has garnered a lot of positive buzz from fans an industry people alike. It’s too much to explain here, check out more info here.

There’s also a bunch of awesome curated radios and playlists, so you can find a new niche genre, a cool new artist, or kill some time getting to know a great musician.

You’ll find a lot of the same content on Apple Music as you’d find on other services, but where they stand apart is with some great video content from Zane Lowe, who creates great accompaniments that further the experience of listening to a song or truly understanding what an album’s about. Like the one below, which gives listeners a behind the scenes look of Olivia Rodrigo’s hit album Sour.

It’s not too expensive either, starting at only $5.99, dive into all the different plans here.

Amazon Music

It’s not as popular as Apple Music or Spotify, but Amazon Music is one of the best services on offer.

For their standard pack, there’s not a lot online about its audio quality, but there’s a few reports that it’s got a similar kbps rate as Spotify, but unlike the green-branded service, you can pay a little bit extra for a premium service, which gives audiences a bit of a better listening experience.

On the content side, there’s a lot of the same stuff as any other streaming service, but any extra content is limited, but there’s clearly room for a lot of expansion over the next few years.

Where Amazon really comes up strong is in the price, you can get three months for free, which is unparalleled with streaming services in this day and age. If you’ve already got a Prime account as well, you can get Amazon Music for free, which makes those late night Prime orders much more worth it.

Check out more info on Amazon Music here.

YouTube Music

It’s perhaps one of the lesser used services on this list, but YouTube Music can definitely hold its own when it comes to music streaming.

It’s a bit lacking when it comes to audio quality, but it’s still a little better than Spotify, there are three levels of streaming quality – aptly titled low, normal and high. The audio quality for each the latter two are 128kbps and 256kbps, which is pretty good compared to Spotify’s 98kbps normal rate.

In terms of content, it’s pretty much what you’d get on the video component of YouTube, so you’re bound to find something up your alley.

It basically just takes anything off YouTube, and gives you a higher quality version of it (based on what audio quality you choose). YouTube Music will also recommend some great music based on previous YouTube searches.

It’s relatively cheap as well, only $10 a month.

Start your subscription and check out some more info on YouTube Music here.