Music is an outlet to stimulate the mind. Music made up of a variety of symbols, the most basic of which are the staff, the clefs, and the notes. All music contains these fundamental components, and to learn how to read music, you must first familiarize yourself with these basics.
Right now, I talk about some efficient and easy to access online music player, Spotify or Apple Music would be the first options that come to our minds. But, of course, there are also more choices available than these two.
Apple Music is one of Apple’s efforts to get a stronghold in the music streaming arena. It succeeds iTunes Music which lets users buy songs and albums individually. I guess Apple Music provides the best music subscription plans in terms of value for money, especially, its family plan.
Unlike other Apple apps and services, Apple Music is also available for Android. Recently, Apple launched a web player as well for users who want to use Apple Music in their web browser. So, yes, Apple seems to have realized it can always keep things restricted if it needs to grow further.
Features of Apple music
- The user interface is spotless and clean.
- Apple Music catalogue includes over 45+ million songs.
- Works seamlessly with Apple devices (of, course!).
- “Lyrics to Live by” feature shows song lyrics in real-time.
- Created playlists (based on genres, moods) and charts are good enough.
- Provides data-friendly streaming options for cellular connections.
- Provides a decent selection of internet radio stations across different genres.
- Can sync music from iCloud library.
- Users can automate Apple Music on iOS via Siri Shortcuts app.
Features of Spotify
- Spotify has well-designed music apps for Android and iOS, complemented by an eye-pleasing UI.
- Seamless cross-device experience. You can play/pause songs from different devices.
- Provides a dedicated screen to manage connected devices.
- Spotify’s music catalogue includes over 50 million tracks in various languages and genres.
- Comes with a built-in private mode for listening anonymously.
- In addition to songs and create playlists, users can also listen to Podcasts.
- Spotify’s free version provides decent sound quality and lets users download Podcasts for offline listening.
- The app includes useful features such as gapless audio playback, crossfade between songs, and volume normalize.
- The built-in search feature supports context-based search queries; for example, you can type “songs for road travel” and get relevant results.
- Can directly connect to Facebook and navigation apps.
- Spotify provides the best selection of Charts and Playlists. Personally, I find them more relevant than other music streaming apps.
SoundCloud started out back in 2007 as a platform where artists can easily share their self-composed music. In fact, the main selling point of this music streaming app is that indie artists create most of the songs on this platform and no content is hidden behind a paywall.
One can simply call SoundCloud the best free music streaming app because you can stream unlimited songs without having any ads. Also, it combines the likes of a well-built free music app with tons of songs and podcasts that you can listen to at any time of the day.
Features of SoundCloud
• SoundCloud has a minimalistic UI that works without any visible lags and freezes.
• With more than 200 million tracks, it’s the biggest streaming service in terms of numbers.
• It provides a wide selection of playlists curated by the SoundCloud community.
• Stream section shows updates from artists and friends you have followed on SoundCloud.
• Provides a weekly compilation of songs based on listening history, called SoundCloud Weekly.
• Users can post comments on songs at specific timestamps.
• Skipping and seeking a song track on SoundCloud is the easiest across all the music streaming apps in this list.
It’s a freshly baked music streaming app for Android and iOS that Google has launched to replace Google Play Music. As the name says, YouTube Music is a YouTube spinoff for those who just want to focus on the music part.
The app first came out back in 2015, and since then it has expanded its reach to more than 70 countries in different parts of the globe. One of the selling points is YouTube Music lets you listen to music while keeping its video in the background.
Features of YouTube Music
- The user interface of the app is visually appealing on both Android and iOS.
- Provides relevant recommendations as it pulls users’ YouTube history.
- Shows the playlists users create on YouTube.
- Can play audio files locally stored on the device.
- Contextually aware search bar (it’s Google) that displays well-sorted results.
- Just like regular YouTube, users can double-tap to do fast forward or backward actions.
- Dedicated Hotlist section to display all the trending music videos.
- YouTube Music focuses on music videos instead of audio files, different than Apple Music and Spotify.
- It provides offline download with audio-only option.
Tidal is a name you can’t forget when calling out the best music apps. However, it’s known to less number of people than Apple Music or Spotify because Tidal isn’t present in many regions. But this doesn’t mean it offers anything less than others.
After launching in 2014, Tidal has made its name in the online music streaming space by providing high-quality lossless audio to its listeners. In fact, it was among the few that offered it until Amazon joined the race.
Also, Tidal is different from others because it’s co-owned by various music artists who have made their content available via the streaming app.
Features of Tidal
- Tidal’s user interface is more visually appealing than other music apps in this list.
- It provides a massive catalogue of 60 million songs.
- Also gives access to podcasts, music videos.
- Users can live stream music concerts or watch them later.
- It has a well-designed ‘Explorer’ section where users can find songs based on genre, mood, as well as, new and trending artists.
- Includes Tidal-exclusive content made by various artists.
- Supports features like loudness normalization
- It provides different quality options for streaming and offline downloads.
- Tidal offers Lossless Audio in MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) format that delivers bitrates of up to 1400kbps in comparison to the standard 320kbps
Amazon Prime Music
Amazon Music is a music streaming app owned by the eCommerce giant Amazon. Recently, the company made it to the news for adding support for FLAC lossless audio format, making Amazon Music a robust competitor to Tidal.
One thing you note is that Amazon has created a little confusion regarding its music streaming apps. For example, in the US, there is Amazon Music Unlimited, and there is also Prime Music (a part of Prime bundle offering 2 million songs). But in India, Amazon provides tens of millions of songs to Prime subscribers at no additional cost.
Anyway, here we’ll talk about Amazon Music Unlimited.
Features of Amazon Music
- The user interface is convenient but doesn’t look as good as Spotify and Tidal.
- Provides access to over 50 million songs spread across different genre, and curated into playlists.
- Shows real-time song lyrics just like Apple Music.
- Supports lossless audio format similar to Tidal, known as Amazon Music HD.
- The search bar is efficient but doesn’t support context-based queries.
- Includes built-in sleep timer that turns of music playback automatically.
- Provides a dedicated screen for managing connected devices.
- Amazon Music comes with Alexa-integration for a hands-free experience.
- Supports volume normalization, gives different quality options for streaming and offline downloads.