The cheapest music streaming services we recommend are the free, ad-supported subscriptions from Spotify and Pandora. Most streaming services are priced the same for individuals, families and students. However, Spotify offers better value for couples. Amazon also has some great deals.
There’s an abundance of streaming music services on the market to choose from, but which one is the best deal for your situation? We have collected the most popular services and compared the prices in a few categories.
Free streaming music plans
The cheapest streaming music service is the one you don’t have to pay for. If you don’t mind a few ads, there are several streaming music services that offer free tiers.
Spotify is one of the most popular streaming music services, and it has an ad-supported free tier. How many ads do you have to go through? Some users have reported up to three consecutive 30-second ads every third or fourth song. There are other limitations with free Spotify as well.
RELATED: What is Spotify and is it free?
Pandora is another popular choice if you’re looking for a free music streaming service. The free plan is ad-supported – around four minutes of ads per hour – and you can only use the “radio” feature for streaming.
The last “free” service we mention isn’t technically free, but you may already have it. Amazon Music Prime is included with a Prime membership, and while it’s ad-free, it only offers two million songs. Amazon also has a completely free option, but it is extremely limited.
RELATED: How to stream free music with Amazon Prime
Cheapest subscriptions for ad-free music streaming
Free options aside, streaming music services have largely aligned themselves with pricing. For a single person, Amazon Music Unlimited (for non-Prime members), Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Tidal and YouTube Music cost $10 per month.
Amazon Music Unlimited has a slight advantage if you’re already a Prime member, as the price drops to $9. And if you have an Amazon Echo device, you can sign up with your voice for just $5 per month. However, you are limited to using the service on only that Echo device.
Similarly, Apple offers the “Apple Music Voice” plan. For $5 per month, you have full access to Apple Music, but only through Siri-enabled devices. You can only use the Service with Siri and your voice.
Cheapest streaming music service for families
What if you want a streaming music subscription for more people? All the big names also offer family plans, and they’ve pretty much adjusted their prices as well. Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, Pandora, Tidal and YouTube Music all have family subscriptions for $15 per month – Spotify is $16.
The services mentioned all support up to six family members. There are really no noticeable differences between the family plans; it just comes down to which service you prefer. If you are looking for the platform with the most songs, you should choose Apple Music.
Spotify has a multi-user plan that no other service offers called “Premium Duo.” It’s for two people – perfect for couples and friends – and costs just $13 per month. If six people is more than you need, the Duo plan is a good choice.
RELATED: What is Spotify Duo and is it right for you?
Cheapest streaming music service for students
Most of the popular music streaming services offer discounts to students. Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music offer $5 student plans, but Spotify has the best benefits.
In addition to the Spotify Premium subscription, the student plan includes access to Hulu (ad supported) and Showtime. That puts the value of Spotify’s student plan at around $28, which is a very good deal.
It is the overview of streaming music services and their pricing models. In a way, it’s nice that the popular services all cost about the same, but it makes it harder to save money if those prices aren’t good enough. If you’re industrious, you can create your own streaming music service.
RELATED: How to create your own music streaming service with Plex