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Streaming music breakdown: How to choose the best option for you

Posted at 5:32 PM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-27 17:33:08-05

Over the past decade, streaming music has surpassed both digital downloads and physical products like CDs and records—and is now 80% of the U.S. music

That according to the Recording Industry Association of America. But with so many streaming services— how do you know which one to choose?

Consumer Reports takes a look at some of the options out there. Most services offer consumers a wide selection of music for around $10 a month for a single account… more for a family account.

These services can be used on most devices, including your smart speaker. Some of the most popular are Apple Music and Spotify. CR experts say, Apple Music is nice if you have a lot of Apple products because it plays with the ecosystem really well.

Spotify has really been investing in podcasts a lot over the past couple of years and one of the nice features that they have now is you can listen to podcasts and other kinds of audio directly within the same app, which can be really convenient. But, if you’re an audiophile and you really care about the quality of the music you’re streaming, check out Tidal and Amazon Music HD.

You can expect to pay a little more for higher quality audio. Tidal’s high-resolution audio tier costs $20 a month and Amazon Music HD is $15 a month. $13 if you’re a Prime member. Keep in mind higher quality audio uses more data. And if you’re into classical music, there are a couple of options for you as well like Idagio and Primephonic, which are two services that are tailored for classical music and let you do things like sort by composer or performer.

Related: The 'pawfect' playlist: Spotify makes playlist for pets

The good news is almost every option has a free trial period that you can sign up for before you commit to monthly payments. CR also says to make sure you read the fine print before signing up for any plan.