1 February 2022

Spotify is not the only music streaming service

The world’s largest music streaming platform has faced an avalanche of criticism after Neil Young and Joni Mitchell removed their music from the platform over the airing of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.  This sparked a #deletespotify movement on social media and has seen Spotify’s shares plunge. 

For many of us, Spotify is the only music streaming service we’ve ever used – so what else is there? Especially for those of us Gen Xers who have long since sold all our old LPs and CDs?  

Caitlin Cherry (Gen X) asked our own technology specialist, Nick Gelling (Millennial), about the state of music streaming.

CAITLIN: I’m one of those people who thought Spotify was pretty much it – so what are the other music streaming options?    

NICK: There are plenty! Deezer is probably the closest like-for-like alternative, with near-identical music libraries and functionality (including a free ad-supported option). If you use iOS or Mac devices, Apple Music is a natural choice that integrates well with other Apple products. YouTube Music is a great option if you like music videos, while Tidal offers higher audio quality for discerning ears. 

CAITLIN: What about my lovingly crafted playlists on Spotify? Could I bring them over to a new one?

NICK: Yes. A few services exist to transfer your playlists and saved libraries between streaming providers. 

I used Tune My Music to transfer 2513 songs from Spotify to Deezer and only 29 couldn’t be found. My playlists were maintained correctly and I didn’t find any mismatches. It was totally free, but only due to a special arrangement between Deezer and Tune My Music – to transfer to another service, there’s a 500-track limit before you have to spend a couple of dollars on Tune My Music Premium. Soundiiz is another service with a similar limit to the songs you can shift for free. But is a few dollars such a big price to pay if your heart’s set on switching? 

For iPhone and iPad users, I’d recommend SongShift instead – a fantastic app that shifts playlists for free. 

CAITLIN: Are there streaming services that are more ethical than others?

NICK: It depends what you mean by ethical. Spotify has Joe Rogan. Apple has Bannon’s War Room, which has been labelled a dangerous alt-right podcast. While YouTube Music is harmless in itself because it doesn’t feature podcasts, its big brother YouTube is haven to all sorts of misinformation. 

CAITLIN: I’ve heard streaming services don’t pay the musicians much – are some better than others?  

NICK: Artist revenue from streaming comes in by the cent. Different services provide different rates to artists, but the calculations are complicated and vary by artist, label and region. 

Tidal, once owned by a collection of musicians, is marketed as the most artist-friendly service. Its royalty rates are closer to 1 cent per stream, compared to a third of a cent on Spotify. Apple Music also appears to be more generous, with about two-thirds of a cent per stream making it back to the artist, while Deezer hovers just over half a cent. 

With that said, no streaming service is particularly good for artists. If you want to support your favourite musician, especially if they’re not popular enough to appear on the charts, try to supplement your streaming revenue with the occasional retail purchase – a concert ticket, a T-shirt or an album on Bandcamp. 

CAITLIN: Truth is, I do love Neil Young, so how can I listen to him now that he is not on Spotify?

NICK: Neil Young and Joni Mitchell haven’t pulled their songs from competing streaming platforms, so you can find them there. Alternatively, you could embrace tradition and buy some records or CDs. Long live physical media! 

Member comments

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Adrian C.
06 Feb 2022
Great article about alternative music streaming options

I agree totally with Roger. W “ They introduced the reason behind their study and presented an unbiased summary”. To those that introduced their political views into this find another place for your comments, this is not the place for your political or conspiracy drivel.

Geoffrey H.
06 Feb 2022
Best sound

I have Tidal and Spotify,the difference in audio quality is very marked , so if you value sound quality get Tidal.

Julie E.
05 Feb 2022
Try Bandcamp

I love Bandcamp to buy music, especially music from emerging artists, which is how I found out about it. Many established artists there as well. Can listen to pieces once for free, buy what you want to listen to again, then can stream unlimited and/or download (so can listen offline). Not quite the same thing as a streaming only service, but gives me a lot of wonderful music, much of which I would never have discovered otherwise, supports the artists I love, and I've never felt the need to sign up to a streaming service.

Graham
05 Feb 2022
YouTube Premium for me

YouTube Premium is my choice as not only do I get access to great music and music videos, I also get add free YouTube for the same monthly cost of Spotify.

Terry S.
05 Feb 2022
Ethics

The only comment of valve in the article was the mention of ethics. I assume Consumer has a diversity and inclusion policy - you need to stick with that and stay out of the politics in your commentary, otherwise rip up your policy. Spotify has done nothing wrong in allowing open forums. I use both Spotify and iTunes, the streaming quality of Spotify can be whatever you want it to be. With the recording quality of music now being so good, sample rate, I understand the human ear will be unable to detect the change between the low and high setting choices you make (bit/Hz).

Roger W.
05 Feb 2022
Open Forums with No Guardrails?

This was supposed to be about music...
So if you heard... Seatbelts kill more than they save; Jumping off a 200m cliff into water is perfectively safe; Drinking a cup of olive oil after 10 beers will ensure your driving isn't impaired;...
...you'd be fine with that? Free speech/open forum with no guardrails?

Terry S.
07 Feb 2022
Guardrails

And I commented to that effect just like the contributor. Anything conservative is now deemed alt-right. We can all play stupid games, like how many seat-belts shall we put on, just like the masks, lets put on three, that may keep you safe. Logic has gone out the window, so has truth. I was surprised what I found in my return to Consumer, hence why I cancelled my membership.

Roger W.
08 Feb 2022
Open Forums with No Guardrails?

So Terry doesn't answer the No Guardrails question... just exaggerates (eg: lets put on 3 seat belts/3 masks...). Expert advice, common sense and rational thought has definitely gone out the window.

Sarah D.
05 Feb 2022
Switched to Qobuz

Qobuz became available in NZ recently and I've switched to it from Tidal. At this stage, being closer to Gen X than Millennial, it was because of the cost and offerings.

I found that I rarely listened to the playlists offered by Tidal, but nearly always listen to the weekly one from Qobuz. I couldn't find some older music, especially folk, on Tidal that I did on Qobuz. I don't know about NZ music as I'm not from NZ and wouldn't have come across it.

I also found that Qobuz had a better selection of classical music than Tidal, although not a hugely in depth catalogue.

I used to use the premium service on Tidal, but having switched to Qobuz I have to say I prefer the sound quality there. That's at their Studio Premier level which, if paid annually, is cheaper than I was paying for Tidal.

I preferred the Tidal interface - it's easier to use. It's definitely aimed towards younger people though.

Overall, I'm very happy with the change and don't plan on switching again any time soon.

Rex B.
05 Feb 2022
Spotify. Joe Rogan

Nick Geling should have pointed out that Neil Young and Joni Foster wanted Spotify to censor and remove (cancel culture) Joe Rogans podcast because they objected to him interviewing people who exposed corrupt left wing Democrat administrators and politicians.
Spotify refused. (one up for free speech!)

Nigel W.
05 Feb 2022
Go Away!

Product reviews please. Not this garbage.

Roger W.
05 Feb 2022
Go Away2

Agreed with Nigel.

David A.
11 Feb 2022
Go Away 3

Agree with Nigel and Roger.

Nigel W.
05 Feb 2022
You can do better than Spotify

I recently decided to look at other options due to the 'Rogangate' thing and learnt that Spotify was actually one of the worst deals around. You can stream the same quality on platforms such as Last.fm (Completely free) or YouTube Music (Free with ads, the usual subscription without ads). If you want to go for Lossless (CD quality or better) then Deezer is a very good alternative. TIDAL is supposed to provide the best quality sound, personally I couldn't notice any difference between Deezer and TIDAL. Deezer and TIDAL also have the music lyrics built in so you no longer need to guess what the artist is singing when you can't quite make out the words. There is also Amazon Music however I found their interface very poor so it made it difficult to find music and manage playlists, etc. They all have similar catalogues. My advice try two or three services to determine what is best for you. They all have free trial periods and there are tools available online to transfer all your favourites and playlists between services.

Michael W.
05 Feb 2022
Classical Music

I'd really like to know which company has the best range of music Bach to Mason Bates. The YouTube video platform is pretty good in its range, does that carry over into YouTube Music?

On another note, what is consumer's choice as a source for conspiracy theories?

marina m.
05 Feb 2022
Classical music streaming

I’ve just trialled “idagio” and am impressed with the range, ease of use, quality and search functions. I understand it also provides a fairer deal for the musicians with payment according to length of track rather than just number of tracks.

Ian B.
05 Feb 2022
On another note...

The absolute BEST place for cosnpiracy theories is MSM - Mainstream Media! It's the same BS no matter what channel or station you listen to, worldwide, so it's not "news" it's a narrative fed to all of them from God knows who! Sometimes (often) the sentencesare exactly word for word.

Mark S.
05 Feb 2022
Spotify alternatives

Thanks for providing suggestions regarding alternative providers. Critical appraisals of functionality and value are good. Thanks for keeping to the facts and for allowing people to make up their own minds regarding their choice of provider. One day's wokeness and virtue signalling is like a wild animal that can turn on you the next day. Let's judge people on the content of their character. Stay honest and independent, Consumer.

Jenny M.
05 Feb 2022
Cut the woke nonsense

Consumer - please don't tell us what to think - just tell us the facts about products and services and we can make our own minds up.
The hypocrisy of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell is galling - don't let this be the start of Consumer bias and censorship.

Heiko M.
05 Feb 2022
Does Consumer have a Antivaxxer policy?

Jenny M, maybe you should just take a deep breath and question / review your believe systems.

Consumer didn't censor anything, not even your post which actually is spreading disinformation, full of anger and attacking some quite sensible musicians.

Anybody has a right to learn where they can listen to music without the need to pay for disinformation on top of it.

Good on consumer for providing this information.

Linda C.
05 Feb 2022
Thanks Consumer! No thanks to political comments ...

As a long time member, I have found Consumer articles helpful and neutral - I am surprised to see "political" comments creeping in even here TBH. I will love Neil Young & Joni Mitchell (they are my era) if I want to, and choose which apps, services etc. I want to as well - just as you can. No-one is stopping anyone from continuing to listen to Spotify?

Jenny M - bit rich categorising a neutral article about a question many members have (wanting to know what music streaming services are available etc.) as telling us what to think, and then proceeding yourself to tell us what to think about named music artists?

Can we stick to discussing the merits of products and services and leave our poitical philosophies for places that are appropriate?

Mrs marley
05 Feb 2022
Consumer you should know better!

Disappointing that you are going into the Spotify political situation.
I thought this article would be impartial.
Consumer you should know better than this.

Nigel W.
05 Feb 2022
Really!?!

This is a review that adds no value and we can all do without it. Thanks but no thanks Jenny M.

Roger W.
05 Feb 2022
Thanks Consumer

I purchase Consumer to rate options available to us.
They introduced the reason behind their study and presented an unbiased summary.
I've no time for the likes of Jenny M. introducing her politics.

Ian B.
05 Feb 2022
Totally agree with Roger W

Think a few of you should lay off Consumer, to me they weren't trying to steer folk either way, they just explained the reason 'why' something happened - which I found interesting, because I didn't know anything about it before I read the post!

They surely weren't advising anyone to do anything or to think in a particular way... so LAY OFF!

Michael G.
05 Feb 2022
Spotify alternatives

Use Tidal because of the higher quality sound which suits my high fi system.
Although not the same music catalogue as Spotify it is improving all the time and meets my music requirements

Roger W.
05 Feb 2022
Spotify Alternatives

Good to see Consumer address a subject that is current news.
There needs to be accountability for misinformation, especially in a global pandemic.
I too, had Googled "Spotify Alternatives". Apple Music was an obvious choice but now I see Bannon is on Apple, it doesn't appeal.
I'll be interested to see how Spark respond (as my Spotify Premium is via them), before I make a decision.

Roger W.
05 Feb 2022
Spotify Alternatives

Note that the supposed Rogan MRNA "expert" was banned from Twitter.

Nigel W.
05 Feb 2022
Let's be honest.

If what is being said is not backed by peer reviewed science then it is simply an opinion. It was clearly misinformation in this case and anyone claiming anything different is subject to confirmation bias.

Rex B.
05 Feb 2022
Spotify. Joe Rogan

Read Rex Bs comments

B A S.
05 Feb 2022
Avalanche, not exactly

as most Spotify users realise Neil Young was a massive drug taker in his career and his latest outburst seems rather like 'toys out of the cot'. If I cancelled every tech thing I used I would probably have to go back to steam radio.

Darren J.
05 Feb 2022
Links to Pfizer

Not to mention that Neil Young sold most of his music catalogue to Hipgnosis who recently partnered with Blackstone Investments, who employs the ex CEO of Pfizer.
Follow the money.

Linda C.
05 Feb 2022
Get out of my subscription service??

Consumer subscriptions are for us to find out about products and services to help us be informed before we buy them. If I want unqualified people "sharing" their unwanted opinions completely off topic, I know where to go ... Please go there?

Nigel W.
05 Feb 2022
Oh Please!

If you have to belittle a person to weaken their view you can't have a very strong argument in the first place. Besides that, I agree with many others here, if you want to have this type of discussion, do it elsewhere. This is a forum for product reviews, not your misinformation.

Ross S.
05 Feb 2022
Switching was easy

We recently switched from Spotify to Tidal. We're paying a little more per month but the audio quality is higher and I find the app easier to use.

Nigel W.
05 Feb 2022
Nice Interface

Out of all the products I tested, TIDAL had the nicest interface. It had a really professional look and feel. It was nice having music videos built into the playing options as well.