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What is the cheapest music streaming service?

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The cheapest music streaming services we recommend are Spotify and Pandora’s free ad-supported plans. Most streaming services are priced similarly for individuals, families, and students. However, Spotify is a better value for couples. Amazon also has some great deals.

There are a plethora of music streaming services on the market to choose from, but which one is the best deal for your situation? We rounded up the most popular services and compared prices in a few categories.

Free music streaming plans

The cheapest streaming music service is the one you don’t have to pay for. If you don’t mind some ads, there are several streaming music services that offer free tiers.

Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming services and has a free tier with advertising. How many ads do you have to see? Some users have reported up to three 30-second ads in a row every three or four songs. There are also other limitations with Spotify free.

RELATED: What is Spotify and is it free?

Pandora is another popular option if you’re looking for a free music streaming service. The free plan is ad-supported (about four minutes of ads per hour) and you can only use the “radio” streaming feature.

The last “free” service we’ll mention isn’t technically free, but you may already have it. Amazon Music Prime is included with a Prime membership, and while it’s ad-free, it only offers two million songs. Amazon also has a completely free option, but it’s extremely limited.

RELATED: How to stream music for free with Amazon Prime

Cheapest Music Streaming Plans with No Ads

amazon music logo

Free options aside, streaming music services have mostly aligned on price. For a single person, Amazon Music Unlimited (for non-Prime members), Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, and YouTube Music are $10 per month.

Amazon Music Unlimited has a slight edge if you’re already a Prime member, as the price drops to $9. And if you have an Amazon Echo device, you can sign up with your voice for just $5 a month. However, you are limited to using the service only on that Echo device.

Similarly, Apple offers the “Apple Music Voice” plan. For $5 per month, you get full access to Apple Music, but only through Siri-enabled devices. You can only use the service with Siri and your voice.

The cheapest music streaming service for families

spotify and apple music logos

What if you want a streaming music subscription for multiple people? All the big names also offer family plans, and they too have mostly aligned on price. Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, Pandora, Tidal, and YouTube Music all have family plans for $15 per month; Spotify costs $16.

All the services mentioned admit up to six members of the family. There really aren’t any noticeable differences between the family plans; it all comes down to which service you prefer. If you’re looking for the platform with the most songs, you’ll want to go with Apple Music.

Spotify has a multi-user plan that no other service offers called “Premium Duo”. It’s for two people, which is perfect for couples and friends, and it’s only $13 per month. If six people is more than you need, the Duo plan is a good option.

RELATED: What is Spotify Duo and is it right for you?

The cheapest music streaming service for students

spotify logo

Most of the popular music streaming services offer discounts to students. Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music offer $5 student plans, but Spotify has the best benefits.

In addition to the Spotify Premium subscription, the student plan includes access to Hulu (ad-supported) and Showtime. That puts the value of Spotify’s student plan at about $28, which is a pretty good deal.


That’s the rundown of music streaming services and their pricing models. In a way, it’s nice that all the popular services cost about the same, but it makes it harder to save money if those prices aren’t good enough. If you are a worker, you can create your own music streaming service.

RELATED: How to create your own music streaming service with Plex

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