Which music streaming service is the least expensive?
(NEXSTAR) — Earlier this week, Apple announced its music streaming service, Apple Music, would raise its monthly individual subscription price by $1 — becoming the latest of several services to increase prices recently.
In a statement to CNBC, Apple said the increase was a response to “an increase in licensing costs,” in addition to supporting “innovative features.”
While most recent price hikes have affected video streaming (Netflix raised plan prices $1–2 in January), could the Apple Music increase signal more increases to come for streaming music platforms? While it’s too early to know what affect it’ll have on subscriptions, the news may have you wondering where the biggest music-streaming bang for your buck may be.
Here’s a breakdown of current costs and plans for the major music streaming platforms.
The green music giant currently offers four ad-free paid subscription plans: Individual at $9.99 per month, Duo (two accounts) at $12.99 per month, Family (five accounts) at $15.99 per month, and Student (one account) at $4.99 per month.
Spotify’s Family and Student plans come with some extra bells and whistles, including the ability to block explicit music (Family) and bonus subscriptions to Hulu and Showtime video-streaming services (Student).
There are currently four different Apple Music subscription plans. The recently increased Individual plan costs $10.99 per month, while its Family (six accounts) and Student plans cost $16.99 and $5.99 per month, respectively.
Apple Music’s Voice plan is a newer addition and costs $4.99 per month. The limited-capability service is intended for streaming through Siri on Apple devices and doesn’t include offline streaming.
The cost of the individual Music plan is the only one that increased, though Apple also increased prices on its Apple TV+ video streaming service (now $6.99 per month) and its bundled storage/gaming service Apple One (now $16.95 per month).
Amazon Music Unlimited
Amazon Music Unlimited currently has four subscription plans: Individual at $8.99 per month, Family (six accounts) at $14.99 per month, Student at $0.99 per month, and Single Device (for use with Amazon voice/Fire TV products) for $4.99 per month.
Unlimited is a separate service from Amazon Music Prime, which is a free music streaming service included as part of Prime subscription. According to Amazon, Prime offers two million streamable songs versus 90 million with Unlimited.
The audio-conscious Tidal currently has only two paid subscription plans, HiFi and HiFi Plus, which cost $9.99 per month and $19.99 per month, respectively. Sound quality varies per plan, and the HiFi Plus plan includes what Tidal calls “Direct Artist Payouts,” which means up to 10% of a user’s subscription is directed to the artists they listen to most.
While there aren’t across-the-board cost tiers for users like other music streamers, Tidal instead offers “discounts,” which include 50% plans for Students and 40% off for Military and First Responders. The Family discount offers six accounts at $14.99 per month for HiFi and $29.99 per month for HiFi Plus.
There are currently three paid YouTube Music subscription plans: Individual at $9.99 per month (or $99.99 annually), Family (five accounts) at $14.99 per month, and Student at $4.99 per month.
YouTube Music offers users the ability to upload their own audio to their libraries, making it a good option for people who have files that aren’t already available for streaming.
Which music streaming service is most affordable?
When it comes to the least expensive streaming plan, Amazon Music Unlimited at $8.99 per month appears to be the cheapest of the major options. For family plans, both Amazon and YouTube Music’s $14.99-per-month plans are the least expensive, though Amazon Unlimited’s plan offers six total accounts versus YouTube Music’s five.
Which music streaming service is the right one for me?
While cost is obviously a factor when choosing any streaming service, not all services are geared toward every user’s needs. Since all services will have pros and cons, it’s best to do a little research before choosing your first or making a switch.
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