Today, almost no one needs to explain what music streaming is. Music streaming services today have reached 80% of the revenue generated by the global music industry. But the use of these services is not always free. Of course, some streaming services have basic free versions, but their features are largely limited. For example, there is no way to download songs, often scroll through tracks, you have to put up with intrusive ads, and so on.
Some music services, such as Amazon Music, Deezer, or Spotify, offer completely free plans where you can be bombarded with music for free. So why should you pay for music streaming in the first place? If you use music services such as radio – with ads, by the way, regardless of sound quality – free plans are perfect for you and switching to a paid subscription is not recommended. For everyone else, there are good reasons for premium rates.
They are ad-free and, unlike the free versions, offer an offline mode where you can easily download songs, albums and playlists. In addition, songs can be played directly and skipped endlessly. On most free plans, the music plays randomly and you can often only skip about six songs per hour. Another difference is the sound quality. Most services reduce this in free plans. Those who want to listen to music in high quality can only do so after purchasing a premium subscription. But in this case, each subscriber immediately gets access to all the functionality of the streaming service and a free trial version lasting 30 days or three months (in Apple Music).
In the free plans of various providers, you get rather mediocre sound with an average value of 128 kilobits per second. On the other hand, in the paid offering, most services provide music at a maximum speed of 320 kilobits per second, which promises really good sound. Only a few providers, such as Apple Music, stream at a maximum speed of 256 kilobits per second. However, you will only hear the difference on high-quality headphones or speakers.
With almost all well-known music services, you pay 9.99 euros per month as a single user for access, for families there are often plans for 14.99 euros, with which up to six members can use the corresponding service. Students enjoy discounts from almost all providers and usually pay €4.99 per month.
It becomes more expensive if you choose the so-called high fidelity rates, which promise lossless music enjoyment in the highest quality. These currently include Deezer, Tidal and Amazon Music. If you want to listen to high-definition music, you’ll have to dig deep into your pocket. Prices here range from 14.99 to 19.99 euros per month – for single users.