CD and MP3 were yesterday – now the music streaming services have taken over. There should be at least a dozen providers by now. But how do the individual services differ?

Listen to all the albums of your favorite band, indulge in nostalgia with playlists and, above all, get to know new things: Music streaming services offer all this and more in a very simple way – and often for offline use without internet access.

Using the music catalogs of the services to make a judgment about their quality is virtually impossible. Because the providers have millions and millions of titles on offer. Soundcloud , for example, has a scoop more , which has more than 120 million titles in its catalog because many artists also upload music directly there. Or also on Google’s Youtube Music , which like its sister offer Play Music can be used alternately by customers of both services, explains Marinus Martin from the IT portal “On Youtube you can therefore also find artists who are not represented on conventional streaming platforms are.”

Deezer, Soundcloud, Spotify and Youtube Music also have free offers

With just under ten euros per month, almost all services are priced in a comparable range. For example, Deezer , Soundcloud, Spotify or Youtube Music also have a free service variant, but users have to accept advertising and cannot use the offers offline.

In addition, there are family tariffs at Amazon Music Unlimited , Apple Music, Deezer, Google Play Music, Juke , Spotify, Tidal * or Youtube Music, through which up to five other family members can usually use the respective service. The cost point: around 15 euros per month.

If you are willing to spend around 20 euros a month, providers such as Deezer, Tidal or Qobuz offer a so-called hifi option. You can then stream music in lossless FLAC format at 16-bit resolution – depending on the provider, however, this may not be possible on all devices and with restrictions on offline use. Tidal and Qobuz even have recordings or subscriptions for music in studio master quality (FLAC with 24 bit and 192 kilohertz).

The experts from recommend, however, to forego streaming in the best transmission quality, at least on the go, if this can be set: “On the one hand, large amounts of data are transmitted, on the other hand, depending on the network availability at the location, interested parties have to experience interruptions in higher quality streams expect the music transmission. “

Stiftung Warentest compared the sound quality of streaming services with that of CDs

In a comparison, Stiftung Warentest compared the sound quality of streaming from various providers with that of CDs. “The music streaming services can absolutely keep up”, is the conclusion of the testers. “Even at the lowest level, they all sound at least good.” Differences to CD are unlikely to be audible for most users – especially not when listening to music with headphones while on the move. With the hi-fi tariffs, experts were actually able to measure a larger frequency range of the music in the laboratory. However, this did not improve the hearing quality in the test.

Classical lovers rely on Idagio or Alpha Play

Classical lovers will in principle find what they are looking for in all services. But when it comes to compositions that are not so familiar, gaps appear. And basically it is rather difficult to find what you are looking for, especially with classical music: “Even because of the mostly poor metadata, it is not easy to find exactly the right recording. The editor or composer of the work is ”, reports Special services such as Idagio or Alpha Play are therefore more suitable for classical music enthusiasts .

In principle, all services offer at least one free trial month. In this way you can find out who has the offer that is best tailored to personal needs. The services tend to have more and more radio plays and audio books in their program – both for adults and for children. Since most services can usually be canceled on a monthly basis even after a subscription has been taken out, there is nothing against trying out several services or switching from time to time.

If you attach great importance to the fact that already existing networked systems or loudspeakers can play the respective streaming service directly, you should make sure which services are supported by your device before taking out a subscription.

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