Four Alternatives to Spotify: The Exchange Is Easier Than You Think | Spotify
How do I switch from Spotify to another music service? What are the options? And which service pays artists the most?
The ongoing controversy over Spotify’s flagship podcaster Joe Rogan, whose vaccine misinformation has led musicians to remove their music from the platform, has also prompted many listeners to seek alternatives. Spotify is said to account for 31% of the total music streaming market, more than double its nearest competitor – Apple Music – at 15%.
Whether you’re motivated to join Neil Young and Joni Mitchell in their boycott, or just want to see the alternatives, it can seem daunting to make the switch after years of service.
But it’s really easy. Streaming services tend not to have lock-in contracts, so if you’re looking to switch to another service, the first step would be to cancel your existing subscription.
Unfortunately, Spotify doesn’t allow cancellation through its phone apps, so you’ll need to log in through a web browser and cancel your premium subscription through the account settings feature. Depending on when you subscribed, you may retain premium features until the next payment is due.
So what are the options?
1. Apple Music
When Apple Music first launched, it felt clunky and limited. But it’s come a long way over the past few years, with vast improvements to its features, music selection (75 million songs), radio, playlists, and other features like music videos. that Spotify doesn’t have.
The user experience now seems much closer to Spotify. Apple also launched lossless and spatial audio for better listening quality. Lossless audio is something Spotify promised in 2021 but didn’t launch.
If you’re already in the Apple ecosystem, this is definitely the best option, but there’s also an Android app.
Apple is giving new users three months free, but after that subscriptions cost AU$11.99 (£9.99) a month or AU$119 (£99) a year, with family plans at AU$17.99 (£14.99) per month. There are also subscription offers bundled with other Apple services, such as iCloud storage and Apple TV+.
2. YouTube Music
If you pay for a premium YouTube subscription – A$14.99 (£11.99) per month – you get YouTube Music for free. It has around 60 million songs and you get access to YouTube videos with it. The audio quality is apparently not as good as other services, but it offers playlists, radio stations and other features that you would see elsewhere.
As with Apple Music and its ecosystem, if you’re already an Android user, this is an easier option for you.
3. Amazon Music
Australians who pay for Amazon Prime can already access a limited version of Amazon Music (2 million songs in SD only), or it’s A$11.99 per month for the full service. In the UK it’s £7.99 per month to add to Prime, or £9.99 per month for non-Prime customers. It has lossless and spatial audio tracks, 75 million songs, podcasts, playlists, and integrates with other Amazon technologies. Young promoted a deal with Amazon for four months of free music for new signups to the service this week.
If you want to avoid giving your money to three of the biggest tech companies, there are a growing number of other options.
Tidal has always been touted as the service that pays artists the best and offers the best audio quality. It has a catalog of 80 million tracks and a free tier that works similar to Spotify. From there, there are A$11.99 (£9.99) and $23.99 (£19.99) plans, with the latter rewarding the artist you listen to the most each month with 10 % of your subscription fee.
Along with high-quality audio and all the expected features, Tidal offers over 350,000 concert videos and live streams.
Other non-major companies offering streaming services include Napster (yes, the old peer-to-peer file-sharing service has become legal), Qobuz and Pandora.
The biggest problem for people looking to change is transferring your curated playlists for a long time. This is facilitated by third-party services. If you want it fast, you’ll have to pay, but if you don’t have a lot to transfer or don’t have the time, you can usually convert one playlist at a time for free.
The most popular are the SongShift app (although it’s only available on iOS) and Soundiiz (which runs in a web browser). You’ll need to give the app you choose access to the accounts you’re changing, but you can remove access once you’re done.
The services will usually report if a song in the playlist cannot be found. Sometimes it’s as simple as a mismatch with the exact name of the song and it can be found as a different mix or title.
To what extent do services compensate artists?
Companies tend to keep information about how much they pay artists for each stream a closely guarded secret, but a report from Tricordist in 2020 gives us a picture of the ballpark payments artists can expect.
According to the report, Spotify pays $0.00348 per stream, Apple Music pays $0.00675 per stream, Amazon pays $0.00426, Google pays $0.00554, and Tidal pays $0.00876. Surprisingly, fitness company Peloton tops the list, paying $0.03107 per stream. Napster also ranks higher than the others at US$0.00916.
Everything is still shockingly low for artists, but the best option would probably be Tidal. In addition to the slightly above-average streaming rate, Tidal also pays artists 10% of its top-tier plan directly for each user — based on which artist the user streams the most.
But if you want to support artists more directly, you can buy vinyl or digital copies of the music through iTunes or similar services, or pay directly through Bandcamp or Soundcloud.