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

Wildfire Insurance TONIGHT 10PM

5 days ago
Luanne Monson

Wildfire Insurance MONDAY 10PM

5 days ago
air force thunderbirds...
Mike Anderson, KSL TV

‘It’s a boon to our community’: Next weekend’s air show to bring $50 million to Utah

The return of the Warriors Over the Wasatch Air Show at Hill Air Force Base will attract as many as 500,000 visitors next weekend.
14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Choosing The Music Streaming Service That Will Be Music To Your Ears