By Mitch Rice
Everyone wants to listen to good music on the go, and smartphones let you do just that! Remember when you had to download songs from all over the place into your phone’s native music players? Well, that hassle is now over with the wide variety of apps and streaming services available on the internet. These let you access millions of songs in one place, with the option to create your own playlists and have playlists curated for you. All you need is a decent internet connection, such as the one you’d get with Spectrum packages. These streaming services also take up minimal data when you’re running on 4G or 5G services, without compromising too much on quality.
However, not all music services are built the same. Although their libraries may not differ by much with each other, it is the curation algorithms which determine their value. Some services automatically create playlists which you’ll like by noting your music choices. A few companies do this really well, while many others really need to improve their algorithms. Another factor is that many of these apps have geographical restrictions, and do not offer all their content in every location. However, there are a few really well-made streaming services out there you must explore in 2021.
Spotify is arguably the most well-known music streaming service available online. It really shines when it comes to its curation algorithms. It gives you daily playlists according to your preferences and listening history, and usually gives you excellent suggestions for new artists.
Furthermore, its audio quality is quite satisfactory, so with the right set of headphones, you can really appreciate your songs in depth. Its Premium service costs only $10 per month and streams songs at speeds of up to 320 kbps, which quite enough is considering the average headphones everyone uses.
Even though Deezer is not very popular in the US, it is an option that cannot be ignored. If you’re an audiophile who wants to access your music everywhere, this is the app for you. It operates basically everywhere, and its desktop version even offers a HiFi option, which offers lossless audio streaming.
Its premium subscription starts from $9.99, but its free option is pretty good too. In addition, once you start using it, its Flow function is excellent at predicting what songs you’ll like, and lets you discover artists you never knew about. Furthermore, its own editors curate playlists that tend to be quite amazing, and are worth exploring.
This app has recently started gaining steam due to its high audio quality and increasingly large music library. It previously focused on hip-hop tracks, but now covers other genres as well. If you’re an audiophile with top-notch audio gear, you must try its HiFi option, which streams lossless audio at up to 1,411 Kbps. It even has a ‘Master’ option for a few songs, which goes up to a phenomenal 9,216 Kbps. However, you need to have really good gear to truly appreciate this quality.
Therefore, if you’re an audiophile, and love investing in audio gear, Tidal is the best option for you. It has a library of around 70 million songs, and is adding to this all the time.
Even though YouTube Music is highly underrated, it has an excellent layout with some really nice navigation mechanisms. It lets you shift between audio and video streaming, and has over 60 million songs in its catalog.
It also lets you see the songs you’ve liked in an artist’s collection, and does not make you listen to their whole catalog. If you subscribe to YouTube Premium, you’ll get free access to YouTube Music. Do not underestimate its benefits.
Even though Apple Music is an Apple product, it also has an Android version. However, its discovery options are more human-curated, so aren’t as effective as Spotify’s automated ones. What makes it stand out, though, is that it lets you listen to the songs you’ve liked in an artist’s playlist, instead of making you listen to all their music.
Apple Music does not have a free or lossless version, but offers one plan worth $10 a month, with 256 Kbps streaming, which is not really discernible from the standard 320 Kbps, so is worth exploring.
In conclusion, there are hundreds of music streaming services out there, but these are the ones worth exploring in 2021, with excellent curation and high-quality audio.