Best Online Music Services for Streaming Songs

Listen to millions of songs on your computer, smartphone, tablet or TV

Happy woman with cell phone listening to music on headphones at brick wall
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Streaming music services offer huge libraries of songs that you can listen to on a variety of different devices. This flexibility means you don't need to download your favorite songs to all your devices, and with some services offering a free account or trial, it's also a great way to discover new music at zero cost.

Most streaming services enable you to search for your favorite artist or song so you can start listening straight away. Services of this type usually have built-in music discovery engines that recommend similar artists that fit the type of music you listen to.

As well as basic audio streaming, music services also offer additional music options. Depending on the service you choose, you can create custom playlists, watch streaming music videos, share your discoveries on social networking sites, or make your own radio stations.

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Spotify is one of the top online services for streaming music. What makes this service great for listening to songs on portable devices is its Offline Mode. This enables you to download your favorite songs from Spotify and listen to them without having to be connected to the internet.

As well as offering a premium subscription plan, this service gives you the chance to try before you buy. You can sign up for Spotify Free, which is an ad-supported account. It doesn't expire, so it is a great way to test-drive the service before subscribing.

With a web player for desktops and facilities to stream music to mobile devices, game consoles, cars, TVs, and home stereo systems, Spotify is a serious contender in the streaming music market. More »

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Apple Music is a full-fledged subscription streaming music service that compares favorably with other top cloud music services such as Spotify and Pandora Radio. It has excellent mobile support and also has good music discovery options.

Rather than relying solely on algorithms to suggest new music, the service also uses expert-curated playlists to serve up suggestions.

Apple offers a three-month trial of ad-free music to try out its 45 million songs. Apple Music streams to mobile devices, desktop computers, Apple-branded HomePod and AirPods, headphones and other devices. More »

If you're looking for a simple music discovery website that streams music, then Pandora is a good choice. Pandora is an intelligent internet radio service that plays music based on your feedback. Once you have entered an artist's name or a song title, the service automatically suggests similar tracks that you can agree with or reject. Pandora remembers your answers and fine-tunes future recommendations. Many of the songs have lyrics available for view.

Pandora offers a free ad-supported radio and two subscriptions: Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium, both with free trial periods.

The music streams to mobile devices, desktop computers, TVs, and cars. More »

Slacker Radio is a stellar online music service that you can use to listen to hundreds of compiled radio stations. This service provides an interactive experience that allows you to build custom-made stations of your own too. Although this service is subscription driven, Slacker offers a free account for you to try out the service at no cost. This freebie, called Slacker Basic Radio, is surprisingly feature-rich and includes mobile music support. There's a good range of mobile apps on offer to hook up your portable device, and you can share your music discoveries on popular social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

If mobile music is your thing, there's also an offline mode that enables you to listen to your favorite stations, songs, and albums without the need to be connected to the internet. More »

If you already have an Amazon Prime account, you have full access to Amazon Music as a benefit of your Prime membership. The library isn't as large as some of the other streaming services—approximately 2 million songs—but you get unlimited access to those songs ad-free as well as curated playlists.

Into Echo and Alexa? Prime Music is just a request away. The streaming service is also available on iOS and Android phones and tablets, computers, cars, and home entertainment systems.

Amazon also offers Amazon Music Unlimited by subscription. The service features tens of millions of songs that are ad-free and can be downloaded for offline listening.   More »

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SoundCloud's free account gives you access to streaming music from undiscovered and small-name artists. Its Go+  subscription makes listening offline and ad-free possible.

SoundCloud is for Indie music fans who are happy to sift through its songs looking for that perfect tune. It has a 200 million-member active community, many of whom upload their new music to the site.   More »

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Tidal is not for everyone, but for audiophiles (and Jay Z fans) who refuse to compromise on sound quality, it is the only game in town. Tidal's premium subscription is roughly double the cost of other music services, and its edge is only appreciated on high-quality audio gear, but it has its following. 

Tidal audio is uncompressed 24-bit audio. Tidal also offers a compressed audio stream for people who don't own the expensive stereo systems necessary to hear the difference. A free trial is available. More »