Music streaming

The best music streaming services of 2022

The easiest and most convenient way to listen to music is to stream it. You can open an app or use your voice (via a smart assistant like Alexa, Google Home, or Siri) to play virtually any song from any artist, ever. It’s really quite amazing.

There are quite a few music streaming services to choose from in 2022. Spotify and Apple Music continue to be the most popular, but there are other options like Pandora, Amazon Music, Tidal and Deezer (and to name a few). to name a few) which are excellent, too. So, if you are not yet subscribed to a service (or if you plan to change it), how to choose?

In the past, you could more easily separate music streaming services by superlatives – for example, Spotify had the largest library of songs, Amazon Music was the most affordable (especially if it came with Prime), and Tidal had far and away the best selection of high-res tracks – but the truth is that most music streaming services these days are much more alike than they are different.

They all require subscription fees to listen to ad-free music, but all of those fees are now about the same (around $10/month). If you’re willing to pay a little more, some of these streaming services now offer a lossless tier (which, again, are all similarly priced). Each service now has an extensive catalog of music, so you’ll likely find the songs you’re looking for. And they all have very good applications, so the user experience will not be this very different depending on the service.

That said, there are always reasons to choose one music streaming service over another. In 2022, those reasons can mostly be boiled down to these things:

Factors to consider

How will you listen to your music? You want to make sure that the hardware you already havesmartphone, headphones, speakers, wireless receivers – work well with the music streaming service you subscribe to. For example, you want to make sure your wireless speakers support Spotify Connect or AirPlay if you plan to subscribe to Spotify or Apple Music, respectively. Also, many Apple products work best with Apple Music. for example, you need an Apple Music subscription to use “Hey Siri” voice commands with a HomePod. And finally, for those considering a lossless streaming service, you also want to make sure that whatever headphones or speakers you have are capable of playing those high-bitrate tracks properly.

Podcasts. If you plan to listen to a lot of podcasts, the music streaming service you subscribe to is vitally important for two reasons. First, not all music streaming services offer podcasts; Apple Music does not have podcasts because Apple has designated a separate app, Apple Podcasts (no subscription required), for people to listen to and discover podcasts. And secondly, not all podcasts are available everywhere because some music streaming services have signed exclusive agreements so that podcasts only appear on its platform. (This is the case with Spotify for popular podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience, Expert Armchair and Call her daddy.

Family package? It makes sense to use a music streaming service that your family (or friends) use because it makes music sharing easier and if someone has a question or problem, it’s easier to solve. Plus, if you and multiple family members opt for a family plan, it can save you all your money. Most services allow subscribers to upgrade plans and add family members quite easily. (However, many services have also added additional verification and security measures to make it harder to beat the system with a group of friends.)

Lossless, Master-Quality Tracks. And finally, not all music streaming services have lossless tracks. Spotify still doesn’t support lossless tracks (but it will eventually when it launches Spotify HiFi) and neither does Pandora. And not all lossless streaming services have the same number (or quality) of lossless tracks. For example, lossless audio is usually referred to as CD-quality audio (up to 1411kbps), but several services like Tidal HiFi have a large library of Master Quality Authenticated tracks (up to 24bit/96kHz) that are of good quality. best quality.

Free try: If you’re curious about a music streaming service, the best way to see if you actually like it (or notice an improvement in sound quality) is to try it out — and almost every streaming services offer a free trial. These free trials vary in duration, from a week to a month, or sometimes you can get a really good deal for a small fee; Tidal is currently offering three months of its HiFi service for $1.

Why should you trust us

We’ve been writing and reviewing audio products – including speakers, headphones, headphones and other audio components that span the gamut from consumer to hi-fi – for nearly a decade. We also have experience with all of the music streaming services below and test them on a wide variety of wireless speakers and headphones.

Spotify

Spotify has been one of the most popular music streaming services for years. It has a huge catalog of music, arguably the best app experience, the most popular podcasts (many of which are exclusive), and proprietary technology (Spotify Connect) that makes it easy to stream to wireless speakers. The only real downside is that, despite promises that it would arrive by the end of 2021, Spotify has yet to launch a lossless tier of its streaming service.

Number of tracks: over 82 million tracks
Lossless audio? Not yet
Cost: $10/month
Free try: 30 days

Apple Music

Apple flipped the script on the music industry in mid-2021 when it rolled out a lossless streaming tier on its service at no additional cost. In an instant, it became the most popular and affordable lossless streaming service overnight. But if high-fidelity streaming isn’t that important to you, Apple Music is still one of the best services around. In fact, it’s the perfect service for anyone with an iPhone, a large iTunes library, and other Apple products — like a HomePod, AirPods Max, and Apple TV — because they work great today and (most of which ) support new-age immersive technologies like spatial audio and Dolby Atmos.

Number of tracks: over 90 million tracks
Lossless audio? Yes
Cost: $10/month
Free try: 3 months

Tidal HiFi and Tidal HiFi Plus

Tidal is still the king when it comes to lossless music streaming, although it was recently forced to change its business model largely to Apple Music by introducing its own lossless tier. Today, Tidal offers two lossless services: Tidal HiFi and Tidal HiFi Plus. Tidal HiFi costs $10/month and lets you listen to over 80 million tracks in lossless CD-quality audio (up to 1411 kbps), while Tidal HiFi Plus costs $20/month and additionally lets you Listen to Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) tracks (up to 24bit/96kHz) as well as audio tracks like 360 ​​Reality Audio and Dolby Atmos Music. With the Tidal subscription, you also get access to an incredibly large library of music videos.

Number of tracks: more than 80 million
Lossless audio? Yes
Cost: $10/month or $20/month
Free try: 30 days

Amazon Music Unlimited

There are two different tiers for Amazon’s music service. The most entry-level is Amazon Music Prime, which comes included in a $13/month Prime membership and gives you access to two million sounds (not lossless). Then there’s the premium Amazon Music Unlimited, which costs $8/month for Prime members and gives you access to over 75 million songs, a huge catalog of lossless tracks, plus various podcasts and curated playlists. This is obviously a great option for Prime members looking to get a lot of leads without loss.

Number of tracks: more than 75 million
Lossless audio? Yes
Cost: $8/month for Prime members ($10/month for non-Prime members)
Free try: 3 months

Qobuz

Qobuz is another popular lossless streaming service that gives subscribers access to both CD-quality and higher-resolution (up to 24-bit/96kHz) Master Quality Authenticated tracks. The advantage of Qobuz is that a subscription is a little cheaper than Tidal, even if it does not have such a complete catalog or certain exclusives. The other downside is that, at the moment, Qobuz does not support Dolby Atmos or spatial audio tracks.

Number of tracks: over 70 million tracks
Lossless audio? Yes
Cost: $13/month
Free try: 3 months

Deezer Premium and Deezer HiFi

Deezer is a hugely popular lossless streaming service that rivals Tidal in library size, great software, and a diverse feature list (for example, Deezer is one of the few services that works with the Apple Watch for offline downloads and Apple Car Play for easy streaming on the go.). The downside of Deezer is that it maxes out lossless CD quality tracks, so it can’t match the super high-end sound quality of other lossless streaming services. Deezer offers two main subscription services, Premium ($10/month) and HiFi ($15/month), the latter giving you access to immersive tracks supporting Sony’s 360 Reality Audio technology.

Number of tracks: over 73 million tracks
Lossless audio? Yes
Cost: $10/month (for Premium) or $15/month (for HiFi)
Free try: 1 month

YouTube Premium Music

If you listen to a lot of music on your computer and/or watch a lot of videos on YouTube, this service is for you. The big advantage of YouTube Music Premium is that in addition to giving you access to a large catalog of music, it also allows you to watch any video on YouTube without having to watch an advertisement. And it’s a huge time saver.

Number of tracks: over 70 million tracks
Lossless audio? No
Cost: $10
Free try: 1 month

The best active speakers of 2022 (and which you should buy)

Active speakers combine all the traditional components of a stereo system into a pair of speakers. The amplifier is built inside the speaker and it is optimized to provide the best possible sound quality for that specific speaker. Most active speakers have enough inputs for all your playback devices, and in most scenarios a pair of powered or active speakers only requires a power source and a minimum number (if applicable) cable connections.

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