Choosing The Music Streaming Service That Will Be Music To Your Ears

Sep 25, 2018, 7:03 PM | Updated: 7:04 pm

We are buying more streamed audio than CDs, vinyl and even MP3 downloads according to ratings firm, Nielsen. So, KSL looked into six popular music streaming services to find out which one will be music to our ears.

University of Utah student Enée Tiolu says it has been a decade since she has bought an actual CD album.

“Everything is streamed,” Tiolu said. She is an Apple Music subscriber.

“I already have an iPhone, so I figured it would be more convenient for me if I go with Apple Music.”

Olivia Lee is also a University of Utah student, but she streams her music from Spotify.

“It’s more diverse and I can follow my friends and see what they’re listening to for good song recommendations,” said Lee.

That is the same reason why fellow student Isaac Reese uses Spotify.

“You can find a lot of obscure artists. You have the ease of creating playlists and downloading, streaming and listening to new music.”


With over 35 million songs, Spotify’s catalog seems huge. But, competitors Amazon Music and Google Play offer more. Both claim to have at least 40 million songs. Apple Music says it has 50 million tracks but Tidal bests them all with 58 million.

The other service we looked at is Pandora Premium, which claims to have tens-of-millions of tracks.


“I download all my favorite playlists so I have them anywhere,” said U. student, Annie Bonebrake.

Every service we looked at has offline listening, but some are more generous than others.

Spotify lets users stash up to 10,000 songs offline. Google Play’s cap stands at 50,000 tunes while Apple’s limit is 100,000. Amazon Music appears to be the most generous.  Its site says users can download as many tracks as they like.

Both Pandora Premium and Tidal both also allow users to download music for offline listening, though we could not confirm the number of tracks. Tidal has one caveat. Only users of its mobile app will be able to download.


Each service did list the audio bitrate used to encode its streams. Bitrate, (measured in kilobytes per second) is the amount of data transmitted per second and generally speaking, the higher the bitrate the better quality sound a listener should expect.

Pandora Premium offers a 192 kbps, while Amazon Music and Apple Music offers 256 kbps streams. Spotify, Tidal and Google Play offer the highest quality bitrates at 320 kbps.

Many audio experts say at that range from 192 kbps to 320 kbps, the ears on some casual listeners may not pick up on much difference between those rates. Plus, quality may also hinge on several factors like the audio file format and other factors.

If you are an audiophile, you may consider opting for Tidal’s HiFi service.  The cost is $10 more a month, but it delivers a CD quality bitrate.


“I’m not a picky person so I’ll do whatever,” explained Tiolu. “So, price is where it’s at.”

But, pricing gets a little tricky with the six popular services we looked into because, well, they were all at the same price: $9.99 a month. You heard right. Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora Premium, Tidal, Google Play and Amazon Music all have a $9.99 per month individual plan.

Each service also offers a family plan of up to five or six people at $14.99 per month.

And nearly all have the same student rate of $4.99 a month with the exceptions of Google Play and Pandora Premium.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


Luanne Monson

Steal Sell Repeat….TONIGHT 10PM

1 day ago
Luanne Monson

Steal Sell Repeat…THURSDAY 10PM

1 day ago
Signs for Taco Bell, Grinder, McDonalds, Panda Express fast-food restaurant line the streets in the...
Nathaniel Meyersohn

Food franchises are spending millions to oppose raises for their workers

California voters will decide next year on a referendum that could overturn a landmark new state law setting worker conditions and minimum wages up to $22 an hour for fast-food employees in the nation's largest state.
6 days ago
crime scene with numbered markings...
Brooke Williams

SLC Police: four teens in custody after drive-by shooting late Saturday

Three teenagers were arrested after police say they witnessed them in a drive-by shooting late Saturday in Salt Lake City.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Choosing The Music Streaming Service That Will Be Music To Your Ears