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Music streaming services

Last updated: 27 August 2013

Online music streaming for computers and smartphones has made many CD collections obsolete. With millions of songs available on demand, these services are a music lover's dream. But which one should you choose? Our test results below can help, as can our music streaming buying guide.

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We review ten popular music streaming services on computer and mobile platforms. Our detailed test reveals which services:

  • have the best range of songs
  • offer the best sound quality
  • consume the least data on computer
  • consume the least data on mobile platforms
  • are the easiest to use.

Our interactive comparison tool also helps you find which services have online radio, PayPal support, standard and premium subscription tiers, offline access and the option to turn off automatic payments. Our Recommended list will help you see quickly which models come out on top.

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List of brands we tested in this review.

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Per month. Premium subscription.

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Sound quality
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Assessed by an expert panel of three judges who listen to one pop song, one rock song and one orchestral piece on each service. These are sourced from the same recordings by the same artist. A CD-quality version is also played for comparative purposes. Music is streamed at the highest available quality.

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Daily mobile consumption (MB/day)
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Daily mobile data consumption based on 50 songs played per day. Mobile data consumption based on ten songs multiplied by five for these results.

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Features

Free version available

Specifications

iOS app
Android app
Windows Phone app

Test results

Music range
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Determined by searching each service for songs from a list of 50 songs from 15 popular artists, 15 mid-level artists, 10 "special interest" artists and 10 small/independent artists. Artist range is also considered.

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Included in this review

Members-only access
  • Overall score
  • Ease of use
  • Music range
  • Sound quality
  • Computer data consumption (MB)
  • Mobile data consumption (MB)
  • Daily PC consumption (MB)
  • Daily mobile consumption (MB/day)
  • Payment via PayPal
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Recommended
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Availability
  • iOS app
  • Android app
  • Windows Phone app
  • Available on other devices
  • Downloadable desktop-based version
  • Free trial
  • Offline access
  • Flash required
  • Free version available
  • Radio channels
  • Disable automatic charges
  • Other payment method
  • Price
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