The music industry is ever-changing. While digital music distribution is still quite popular, many users have now gravitated towards music streaming. Even music labels are finally on board with this fledgeling trend and Spotify is often considered to be the biggest music streaming platform, with the best discovery and recommendation system too. However, it’s not perfect in every aspect. And that’s what has led us to line up the 12 best Spotify alternatives for the folks who are hunting for a better substitute.
Top Spotify Alternatives You Should Try
- Spotify – Why and Why Not?
- Apple Music
- Amazon Music
- TIDAL Music
- YouTube Music
- Wynk Music
- Hungama Music
- Frequently Asked Questions
Spotify – Why and Why Not?
One of the most popular music streaming services today is Spotify, with a massive 299 million userbase and around 138 million paid subscribers. It has made its mark in the music industry over the past couple of years, building itself as the greatest hotspot for music consumption and capturing the interest of music labels and artists alike.
Spotify is accessible from a wide variety of devices, be it the browser on your desktop, smartphones, tablets, TVs, gaming consoles, and even screens in your cars. It offers a platform for users to listen to the latest tracks from their favorite artists, build out their song collection, and organize the same via playlists.
As for the reason Spotify has garnered such a subscriber base is its recommendations system, which is one of the best among the lot. It lets you gain access to new artists, albums, and more based on genre, likes, listening history, and more. There’s a social networking aspect of Spotify as well, where you can connect with friends to see what they’re listening to.
While all this sounds amazing, Spotify’s free tier is limiting and you need to shell out a whopping $9.99/ month for the premium subscription. However, the $9.99 gets you ad-free streaming, offline downloads, and most importantly, the ability to skip and play all tracks instead of being stuck with random shuffles. The premium feature set here looks limited for the asking price.
So, if you’re for an affordable alternative to Spotify, an absolutely free music streaming service perhaps, or aren’t content with the music suggestions or collection offered by it, these alternatives can live up to your demand.
1. Apple Music
Apple Music is one of the most popular music streaming services, with more than 60 million paid subscribers worldwide but it still lags behind Spotify by a huge margin.
The service gives you access to a catalog of over 60 million tracks for streaming and syncs your iTunes library, as well as gives you the ability to upload your music library to the platform. The recommendation system isn’t the best here, but it is okayish from what I’ve learned in my experience with it.
One of the notable features of Apple Music is exclusive album launches and 24×7 Beats1 radio station, curated playlists, and more. It is lush with features, including Apple Watch and Siri integration but the social experience is now being phased out and there’s the lack of a free tier– which is a major plus for Spotify. You can pick between the free tier, a monthly subscription, with the cheaper student and family plans.
- Catalog of over 60 million tracks
- Works seamlessly with iDevices
- 24×7 Beats1 radio station
- Curated playlists
- Recommendations are below par
- Doesn’t feel as intuitive as Spotify
- Doesn’t offer a full-fledged free model
2. Amazon Music
From selling music digitally to music streaming, Amazon has also dipped its toes in this fledgling segment. Amazon Music lets you listen to a massive catalog of songs via your Prime subscription but Amazon Music Unlimited opens up the entire library of more than 60 million songs to you. It presents you with an ad-free experience, unlimited skips, the ability to download tracks, and control playback with Alexa.
Amazon Music may have a huge library and new releases available on time, but the one thing that I dislike about the Amazon Music app is its UI. It’s dated, similar to Amazon’s official app (which is slowly but steadily improving), as well as clunky too.
Users will not really be drawn to using the streaming service if it wasn’t for Prime subscription and the Alexa voice integration in the app that makes the masses curious. Everything considered; Amazon Music is one of the best Spotify alternatives right now.
- Library of more than 60 million songs
- Personalized recommendations
- Alexa voice integration
- Lacks a modern-looking UI
Pandora is not only one of the oldest, but one of the more popular streaming services as well. It has been around since 2002 and currently boasts around 80 million active users, even though it’s a pioneer of the streaming industry.
It still has one of the largest music libraries but makes it available in the form of radio stations, which are awesome. I won’t have found a ton of good rappers if not for the Mac Miller station, so its recommendation system is pretty good.
The free plan limits your song-skipping ability and includes some ads between songs and on the playback screen – which I found to be really annoying. The monthly subscription, with no ads, higher quality audio, unlimited skips, and replays, is available using Pandora Plus subscription for just $3.99/ month (with a 30-day free trial).
Unfortunately, due to DMCA regulations, Pandora is only available in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
- On-demand music
- Personalized suggestions
- One of the largest music libraries
- A great library of podcasts
- The interface doesn’t feel snappier
- Freemium version is quite limited
4. TIDAL Music
Tidal is a subscription-based music streaming service, owned by renowned rap star Jay-Z. It combines lossless audio and high fidelity (HiFi) music videos with curated editorial.
The service prides itself on providing users with the highest quality of music possible and also doling out the highest percentage of royalties to music artists and songwriters in contrast to its competitors. Then, there’s the Tidal X experience that brings listeners closer to their favorite artists.
Currently, the platform has over 60 million tracks and thousands of music videos in its library with over 3 million subscribers – which is pretty low next to its rivals.
If you are a true audiophile, who has no problem paying a little extra for improved quality, and have decent Internet connectivity, then you’ll fall in love with Tidal. There’s a 30-day free trial, post which the service costs $9.99/month for the standard quality and $25.99/month for high-fidelity music. Overall, Tidal Music can easily stake the claim of being among the top Spotify alternatives.
- Pretty neat interface
- Delivers high-fidelity music
- Personalized suggestions are top-notch
- Music library management seems a bit tedious
5. YouTube Music
There is a lot to like on YouTube Music. So, if you are hunting for a full-fledged alternative to Spotify, do not miss out on YouTube Music.
First and foremost, YouTube Music has got one of the largest collections of songs. So, irrespective of what sort of music you love to tune into, it has got both the number and variety to live up to your taste.
Probably the best part about YouTube Music is the song recommendations that can comfortably beat Spotify’s song suggestions. It offers suggestions based on several things including your interest, location, and even time of day. So, finding the song that can get along nicely with your mood shouldn’t be a big deal.
What’s more, YouTube Music also offers a hotlist of all the trending songs. Just in case you prefer to stay in sync with the trending songs, the hotlist can prove to be a game-changer. Do note that you will need to upgrade to YouTube Music Premium ($12.99/month) to be able to download songs and enjoy music without any interruption.
- Mammoth collection of songs
- Music recommendations are top-notch
- Hotlist of all the trending songs
- Doesn’t offer full-on music customization
Deezer is one of the most reputed and oldest music streaming platforms, which is now known to offer users a collection of over 56 million licensed tracks, over 30,000 radio channels, podcasts, and more. It currently has around 14 million monthly active users, which pales in comparison to Spotify.
The streaming platform allows you to listen to songs, create and rate custom playlists – based on your favorites, and group songs or artists into radio stations. The highlight is, however, called Flow and it’s a non-stop mix of songs customized to your liking to not simply give you a dose of your favorite tracks but introduce you to new artists as well.
The free version of Deezer is feature-rich but laden with ads. So, if you are ready to shell out some money, $5.99 – $9.99/ month, then Deezer will enable the Hi-Fi streaming option, with 16-bit FLAC quality for you and there is nothing better. It will also elevate the experience by removing ads, enabling offline support, shuffling, and skips.
- Hi-Fi streaming option
- 16-bit FLAC quality
- Pretty good personalized recommendations
- Offline mode
- Music organizing tools could be better
Well, if you are looking for some fresh indie music or an up-and-coming rapper – the likes of Post Malone, then Soundcloud is the perfect music streaming platform for you. It’s one of the popular platforms among creators, with its whole collection adding up to over 200 million tracks including popular songs and indie ones. Now, that’s a massive library for a melophile like me, even bigger than Spotify, who likes to go on a new artist hunting spree every so often.
Soundcloud is constantly adding new features to make discovery easier. The Upload is a feature that was added just recently and it surfaces the latest music uploaded by indie artists in a playlist – curated just for you. Apart from the huge collection, SoundCloud is known to pack all common features like playlists, a stream of artists you follow, and the ability to skip tracks. There’s a social element to SoundCloud as well and I love it.
If you want to remove ads and want to support emerging artists, well, SoundCloud Go is the perfect way to go about it. It’s a $4.99/ month subscription that shares revenue with creators, brings offline support, and more. It’s cheaper than Spotify and equally fun.
- A massive library of over 200 million tracks
- Offers recommendations based on your taste
- Option to interact directly with artists
- Curated playlists
- Curated playlists seem a bit lackluster
Both in terms of personalized music listening experience and versatility, iHeartRadio can make a match with Spotify. Just like Spotify, it’s also a great platform for music, radio, and podcasts. Thanks largely to thousands of live radio stations and plenty of customization on offer, iHeartRadio has a clear edge over Spotify in terms of radio listening.
Beyond radio listening, iHeartRadio is equally competent when it comes to podcasts. It features podcasts from well-known channels like ESPN, NPR, Gimlet, How Stuff Works, Podcasts, TED, Wondery, and Big Money Players Network. As for music, it may not be on par with what Spotify has to offer, but you may not have much to complain.
Based on your interest and favorite artists, you can create personalized music stations to listen to only the songs that appeal to your fantasy. Its music library consists of several genres including Country, Top 40, Pop, Hip Hop, R&B, EDM, Rock, Alternative, Folk, Gospel, Christian, Dance, and Classical. So, streaming music from a variety of genres shouldn’t be a problem. Taking everything into account, iHeartRadio can be one of the better replacements for Spotify for radio and podcast listening.
- Great for listening to Radio
- Option to creation music station based on artists
- Allows you to create unlimited playlists
- Huge collection of podcasts
- Music recommendations need some enhancement
If you are in quest of a Spotify substitute for better music discovery, look no further than SoundHound. It’s by far the best app to discover music playing around you. Besides, you can also sing or hum the tune to find out the music that seems to get stuck in your mind.
The app features a built-in YouTube player so that you can listen to songs and view their lyrics. In terms of customization, SoundHound is up to the mark. You can use it to create personalized playlists and even share them on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Notably, the app allows you to connect to Spotify and Apple Music for enhanced music listening experience. Though SoundHound is available for free, you need to pay $6.99/month to access all the features without any restrictions. In a nutshell, SoundHound is the best substitute for Spotify for music discovery.
- Excellent tool for music discovery
- Built-in YouTube player
- Ability to connect to Spotify and Apple Music
- Create personalized playlists
- Creating personalized playlists is a bit tedious affair
Best Spotify Alternatives for Bollywood Songs
Spotify recently arrived in India, and so far, we’d recommend you to not switch to it. Still, if you’re craving Bollywood music, I’m sure that some of these aforementioned apps can come to your rescue.
However, if you want a fulfilling experience, a homegrown music streaming service may be your best bet. So, here are the top Spotify alternatives to make that desi heart of yours move to the beat:
While Gaana once claimed itself to be the number one music streaming service in India, there’s a new victor in town and it’s all thanks to Reliance Jio. Saavn and Jio Music have recently been merged to create the biggest streaming service in India called JioSaavn.
I mostly stick to Spotify but I switched to JioSaavn for a week and well, the UI is surely a breath of fresh air and the recommendations are decent too.
JioSaavn boasts of over 55 million songs across Bollywood, English, Hindi, independent artists, and many different regional languages like Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, and more as well. You’ll get ad-laden unlimited playback, curated playlists, radio stations, exclusive podcasts, and more for free.
You also get a 90-day free trial if you’re an existing Jio user, however, if you pick the Pro subscription then JioSaavn removes the ads, offers unlimited skips, download tracks, and stream music at 320kbps as well. It’s on par with Spotify in terms of features and music collection as well, which is just great.
- A huge library of over 55 million songs
- Option to stream music at 320kbps
- A solid collection of podcasts
- Curated playlists and radio stations
- Music recommendations need improvement
Coming to Gaana next, well, it’s not really far behind from JioSaavn in terms of features and usability. The streaming service offers a wide collection of more than 45 million Bollywood and English tracks.
This is supplemented by millions of regional tracks in Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bhojpuri, Punjabi, Malayalam, and more. Gaana is also crammed with curated playlists, radio stations, including 20 Radio Mirchi stations for users who’re lacking a Radio app.
Gaana has a pretty neat and simple UI, which is inviting to the users, and one thing I really love about its discovery and recommendation system is that it sticks to your initial choices.
I don’t listen to regional content, nor do the latest Bollywood songs interest me, so picking the western artists I listen to curated the whole service accordingly. Gaana is free but an affordable Plus subscription gets you high-fidelity playback, offline mode, and the ability to sync your songs.
- Pretty neat UI
- high-fidelity playback
- Recommendations are up to the mark
- Easy way to download music
- Downloaded songs may not play in the desired sequence
12. Wynk Music
If you’re an Airtel user, you would have surely heard of Wynk Music, the music streaming service from the telecom giant. The platform has tons of Bollywood content, along with a hoard of western and regional content to round off its collection.
You will most likely find the song you’re searching for here with ease, with a huge 3 million free song library. The platform includes high-quality streaming, curated playlists, a personalized radio station, and a lot more.
While the free tier of Wynk Music is great and gives you access to most of the features, you’ll no longer see ads and get offline download functionality with a paid subscription. Airtel users have the Pro features available to them at a measly Rs. 49 per month fee, which is an added bonus.
- A solid collection of Bollywood songs
- High-quality streaming
- Curated playlists, a personalized radio station
- Doesn’t score well in terms of personalization
Bonus: Hungama Music
Hungama Music is a well-known name in the music streaming industry in India, but with the introduction of Saavn and Gaana, paired with their growing popularity over the years, Hungama Music has lost its touch.
It still has a decent music library, with more than 10 million songs ranging from Bollywood, rock, pop, rap, hip-hop, jazz, and regional tracks. The differentiating factor for Hungama Music is the availability of videos on the platform, alongside the music tracks.
Hungama Music isn’t the best streaming service on the list but it has a clean UI and you get a ton of features such as online radio, song lyrics, multi-login, a point-based reward system, and more. The Hungama Pro subscription gets you ad-free playback, an offline download option, high-quality streaming, and an enhanced experience.
In addition, if you want to stream music and don’t want yet another app on your device then you’ll need to own a Xiaomi smartphone. Yeah, Xiaomi devices in India come pre-loaded with the Mi Music app, and Hungama’s entire library of songs is available via the same.
- An impressive collection of Bollywood songs
- Clean UI
- Ability to stream high-quality music
- Offline mode
- Lacks a huge music library
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best alternative to Spotify?
Along with Apple Music, YouTube Music is the best alternative to Spotify.
Are there free alternatives to Spotify?
Yes. YouTube Music and Amazon Music are great free alternatives to Spotify.
Is Deezer better than Spotify?
In terms of sound quality, Deezer does have an edge over Spotify. However, if you take everything into account, Spotify is better.
Can you use Spotify without an account?
No. You need to have an account to sign in to Spotify before being able to stream music or listen to podcasts.
Top Spotify Alternatives You Can Try
Spotify has my heart and soul, all because of its outstanding recommendation algorithms. However, I did not land on the perfect choice for me right away. I had to check out many different services to find the right fit.
So, if you’re ready to do so too, just pick from the aforementioned streaming services and kickstart your melodious journey. Do let us know which music streaming service you chose to use and why in the comments down below.