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Let’s not stop the music: We compare Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Google Play Music

The choice of a streaming music service depended a lot on the platform you used. All companies clung to their own platforms, and competition was very exclusive. But as time has gone by that has gradually faded and now almost everything is compatible with everything. Even Apple has its Apple Music app for Android.

So the question remains: to whom do I give a few dollars or dollars each month so I cannot worry about organizing my music and having huge catalogs available in my pocket? We will compare the benefits and weaknesses of four musical services to help you decide: Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Google Play Music.


First of all, we must look at whether these services are available in our country to automatically discard those. No problem at this point, all services are at hand. The territories in which some services are not available are some African and Asian countries.

Catalog and Extras

Let’s look at the catalog: the more songs, the better. But the battle to get exclusives makes each catalog different. In addition, the competition has made each service offer additional content to attract the attention of consumers …

CATALOGUE More than 30 million songs 40 million songs 40 million songs 40 million songs
EXCLUSIVE Without exclusives Yes (last album by Taylor Swift, “Views” by Drake) Yes (direct albums of some artists) Yes (special radio station for Samsung Galaxy S8)
EXTRA CONTENT Podcasts Planet of the Apps, Carpool Karaoke (coming soon), some documentaries Video clips of some songs Subscription to YouTube Red (depending on availability)

Music App
Image Source: Google Image

Deezer, Google and Apple Music win in terms of number of songs, while Spotify lags behind offering “only” 30 million songs and the refusal to offer exclusive content. What they do offer is a platform to subscribe to Podcast, which diversifies the content.


Regarding the extra content, Apple Music stands out with its show Planet of the Apps and the upcoming arrival of Carpool Karaoke. We are talking about video shows and complete documentaries, a content that may be interesting even if it leaves the central focus of music. Special mention also to the fact that Google Play Music includes YouTube Red, although it is only available in a few countries (United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea).

Price and Benefits

Let’s look at the costs of each service. Everyone knows that an individual subscription to a streaming music catalog usually costs 9.99 dollars per month, but there is always some subtle difference that can represent an advantage for certain groups. Let’s take a look …

MONTHLY INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIPTION 9.99 dollars per month 9.99 dollars per month 9.99 dollars per month 9.99 dollars per month
ANNUAL INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIPTION 99 dollars per year, (8.25 dollars per month)
FAMILY SUBSCRIPTION 14.99 dollars per month, to divide up to 6 people (they ask that they all live in the same house) 14.99 dollars per month, to divide up to 6 people (they have to be in an iCloud Family) 14.99 dollars per month, to divide up to 6 people 14.99 dollars per month, to divide up to 6 people
PREMIUM TRIAL PERIOD Free for one month 0.99 dollars for three months of testing    
FREE MODE Yes, with limitations Do not Yes Yes, with the possibility of storing songs online
MODALITY FOR STUDENTS Yes, 4.99 dollars per month Yes, 4.99 dollars per month Do not Do not

What may be of most interest is the price of family accounts: if a group of six people join together in this type of subscription, each one will pay 2.5 dollars per month. It is a much more attractive price than those 9.99 dollars per month, which makes groups of families and friends join to save money.

Music App
Image Source: Google Image

Here the limitation is Apple: people who want to use a family Apple Music account must be already joined in an Apple account group called The Family. This account is strictly for family members and ties you to things like the six people sharing a credit card for the purchases of apps and other content they make from their iPhones.

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That translates into more discomfort to set up an Apple Music family account, which makes those groups that join prefer to use alternatives.

Note that there are also differences in the free modes: not only is it that we will listen to advertisements among some songs. Spotify does not let you play individual songs or specific albums from your smartphone, it forces you to listen to playlists and you have to do it in random order. In tablets, that limitation rises.

Deezer allows only its “mixes” and “flows” in the free mode, a measure that must have been the result of industry pressure. Apple does not even offer free mode, although it does let you pay 0.99 dollars to use it for three months. It is the longest test period of all rivals.

But perhaps the most interesting to use for free is Google Play Music. It does not allow you to hear anything from the catalog, but it does let you upload up to 50000 songs totally free for you to listen to them from the service and wherever you want. For anyone who has a respectable collection on physical discs or MP3s, it’s perfect.


Last but not least, we must know in which devices and platforms we will be able to use each musical service. Maybe depending on what we use our decision can be influenced …

iOS Yes Yes Yes Yes
Android Yes Yes Yes Yes
Web Yes No, just previews Yes Yes
Windows Yes Yes, through iTunes Yes No, only Google Chrome add-on and an app to upload songs
macOS Yes Yes, through iTunes Yes No, only Google Chrome add-on and an app to upload songs
Linux Yes, Debian package that works with Ubuntu, but not officially supported Do not No, but there are unofficial customers No, only add-on for Google Chrome
Music App
Image Source: Google Image

In mobile devices all musical services comply. iOS and Android are fully covered. On the web Apple Music is the only one that fails, forcing you to use iTunes to listen to the songs. That makes it not compatible in Linux. Google Play Music solves that based on a web, and some diehard Deezer have created an unofficial Linux client that you can see on Github.

Spotify is the only service that has struggled a bit to be compatible in Linux, although that effort is not at all ambitious. They warn you in advance that there is no support for the program, and they say they will “try” to be compatible with more Linux distributions in the future. At the moment, we have a package for Debian that “should” work with Ubuntu. With Windows and Mac there are no compatibility problems.

So, what service is the best?

Well, this answer cannot be absolute. There is no better service for everyone, but there is the service that best suits each person. But there is something that has changed over time: compatibility and availability according to which countries have ceased to be a limitation.

So now that we can ignore these variables, choosing the service that we like will depend on the catalog and whether the extra content offered by each service is worth it. If you use a Mac and an iPhone, the most comfortable thing for you can be Apple Music, or the “universality” of Spotify and the comfort of your family accounts can convince you more.

The experience of use also counts, of course: you can prefer the interface of Spotify in the mobile or you can lean for other alternatives (not infrequently I have heard defenses to Spotify for its dark interface). Or if you are one of those who prioritize the robustness, you can defend swashbuckling closed ecosystems such as Apple Music. The latter can be an advantage for those who use only products from the bitten apple.

We have only put side by side all the advantages of each service, but the decision is yours.

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