CDs have long had their day, instead streaming services such as Amazon, Spotify, Apple and YouTube are conquering the music market. Reason enough for us to take a closer look at the online offers of different providers.

According to the German Music Industry Association (BVMI), the market share of music streaming services is now 46.4 percent in Germany alone. This is the result of a study carried out every year as part of the “Music Consumer Insight Report” by the BVMI umbrella organization IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry). In total, people between the ages of 16 and 64 from 18 countries were interviewed – the result was that the respondents listened to music an average of 17.8 hours a week. The most important number from the study for this article is: 86 percent of the people surveyed use an audio or video streaming service to listen to their favorite music. So it’s hardly surprising why CDs are dying out. But how do the providers actually differ from each other and how much do the online offers cost?

1. Spotify

According to a recent statistic, Spotify is the market leader among music streaming services in terms of paid subscribers, closely followed by Apple Music with 19 percent market share and Amazon Music with 12 percent market share. The Swedish provider scores above all with the many opportunities to listen to your favorite artists and to discover new artists – for a fee, but also free of charge. The free version offers over 50 million songs, but you can only enjoy them in combination with commercial breaks. Furthermore, once a week Spotify puts together an individual playlist for you, which is compiled based on the songs you have been listening to recently. The nice thing about it is that you always get to know new artists. However, the free subscription also has disadvantages: you cannot download songs or listen to them offline, as with a premium subscription, for example. However, here you have the option to try the paid version for three months before paying for the service. The advantages are obvious: you can download and listen to as many songs offline as you want, you won’t be disturbed by any advertising sequences and you can skip unlimited (which is limited with a free subscription).

The paid subscriptions at a glance:

Here you can test a Spotify subscription of your choice for free.

2. Amazon Music Unlimited

Amazon’s music streaming service has also developed positively over the past few years: Whereas in the past you had to have a Prime membership in order to have access to the more than 90 million songs from Prime Music, you can now do so independently (and Prime customers cheaper) take out an extra subscription for Amazon Music Unlimited – and choose between more than 60 million songs and radio plays. In contrast to Spotify, Amazon suggests new releases and charts in particular to its paying customers; there are no individual recommendations at this point. With the corresponding app for smartphones and tablets, the offer is also available offline – unlimited and without advertising breaks. And here, too, you can test Amazon Music Unlimited for 30 days free of charge and cancel at any time before you sign up for a membership.

The paid subscriptions at a glance:

Saving tips:

From June 25 to July 13, 2022 you get:

You can try Amazon Music Unlimited for 30 days for free here.

3. Apple Music

The most important thing for anyone who doesn’t have an iPhone: Apple’s music streaming service can also be used on all Android devices – just without Siri, for example to play your favorite songs via voice control. You can use the app to read the lyrics of over 90 million songs while they are playing. Other member benefits include personal and expert recommendations (including artists, playlists and tracks), live broadcasts from local radio stations, and downloading and listening to songs offline. The music can be played via Apple Watch, Apple TV and CarPlay, but also Airplay, Sonos and HomePod. The disadvantage of this streaming service, however, is that there is no free version – but the subscription can be canceled at any time, as with the other providers.

The paid subscriptions at a glance:

You can test an Apple Music subscription of your choice here.

4. YouTube Music

YouTube has also been offering its own music streaming service since 2018, with the same advantages as the other providers: You can test the subscription for 30 days free of charge, listen to over 40 million songs ad-free (also via Google Home) and cancel at any time. However, what differentiates YouTube from the competition is not uninteresting – the so-called smart downloads simplify music downloads. Because in contrast to Spotify, Amazon and Apple, not only the marked songs are downloaded automatically, but also those that the service provider recognizes as recurring favorite songs. But the best thing about it is yet to come: the songs are saved at night – provided there is a stable WiFi connection – so that they can be played back in offline mode. And every customer can decide for himself how many songs can be downloaded at most, so as not to exceed the available storage space.

The paid subscriptions at a glance:

Here you can test a YouTube Music subscription of your choice.

5. Tidal

Founded in 2014, the music streaming service was taken over in 2015 by none other than Jay-Z. And he’s not the only well-known artist to have stakes in Tidal — artists like Beyoncé, Prince, Rihanna, Kanye West, Daft Punk, Jack White, Madonna, Alicia Keys, Usher, deadmau5, Nicki Minaj, and J. Cole are also on board involved in the service. And what does it offer? In addition to over 80 million songs, the streaming service also includes exclusive interviews, podcasts and over 350,000 videos by popular artists.

The paid subscriptions at a glance:

You can test TIDAL here.


In the end, it’s up to you to decide which music streaming service is right for you. In terms of price, the offers from Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, YouTube Music or Tidal differ only marginally from one another, but the associated services do. Since you can test each subscription for free, it makes sense to try different providers – this is the only way to find the best offer for your individual needs. In any case, remember to always cancel in good time if you only want to try out the membership but don’t want to complete it. Otherwise you will have to pay the full contribution for at least one month.

This article contains so-called affiliate links. There is more information here.