Battle of the Music Streaming Services: We Break Down the Pros, Cons & Deals for You

By Isabelle Cruz
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Image by Gizmodo Australia

Just as people are #TeamApple versus #TeamAndroid, the same may as well go for music streaming services. In earlier years, people used music streaming services such as Pandora and SoundCloud. However, with the latest developments, the options for music streaming have expanded and many identify as users of Spotify, Apple Music and iHeartRadio. Can’t decide which is the best? You’ve come to the right place. Here are the afore listed music streaming services listed by plan and features:


Remember when Chance the Rapper may have saved SoundCloud announcing his work with the platform? According to TechCrunch, SoundCloud now has over 175 million users. There are three plans available: Basic, SoundCloud Pro and SoundCloud Pro Unlimited.

The basic plan is free and allows users up to listen to available tracks, use up to three hours of upload time, research basic song statistics, and allow basic embedding controls.

SoundCloud Pro is $6 a month with more advanced controls such as the ability to upload up to six hours of content, advanced song statistics, advanced embedding controls. Other features include: the ability to pin tracks, replace tracks, ability to mute comments and access a revenue making program called SoundCloud Premier (if eligible).

The final plan, SoundCloud Pro Unlimited has everything the other plans have, but what makes this plan Pro Unlimited is its ad-free, there is higher quality music, access to offline listening, an option to use DJ tools, the ability to schedule track releases and most importantly, unlimited upload time. And if users want to pay a little extra with Pro Unlimited, SoundCloud Go or SoundCloud Go+ can be added for a wider choice of music.

This platform is useful for people looking to be discovered, make some money from their uploads, or just to listen to the latest hits.

Pandora Radio

According to Forbes Pandora has has been losing active users and is now around approximately 73.3 million users. That doesn’t take away from Pandora’s quality of service when it first came out. As an algorithm radio, people can search their favorite artists or songs and create a station they can constantly improve. Pandora has three plans: Pandora, Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium.

Pandora is the free ad-supported radio with the basic function of creating personalized stations and limited skips.

Pay $5 a month for Pandora Plus which has the same functions of creating personalized stations. However, with this plan, there are no ads, unlimited skips, unlimited replays, and the ability to listen to four offline stations.

For $10 a month, Pandora Premium provides similar features to Pandora Plus, but now including an on-demand option to search and play any song and download any music for offline listening.

This platform is for you if you like a certain song and want to hear a compilation of songs similar to it without you having to make the playlist.


Said to be one of the biggest players in the music streaming game, iHeartRadio reached a milestone of estimatedly 100 million registered users in 2017 by Forbes. Founded in 2008, iHeartRadio is considered new and provides the service of a free radio broadcast and internet radio platform similar to Pandora.

iHeartRadio offers a free basic plan that comes with access to radio stations on the platform such as 102.7 KIIS FM, ability to create stations from the songs you love.

Pay $5 from the web or Google Play Store or $6 on the IOS App Store for iHeartRadio Plus and play any song on demand, skip however many times you want, save songs into a playlist, and replay songs from live or customized radio stations.

Upgrade to iHeartRadio All Access has all the benefits of iHeartRadio Plus along with the ability to listen offline. However, with the IOS or Android version of the app there are the additional features of unlimited access to millions of songs and ability to create unlimited playlists all for $10 from the web or Google Play Store or $13 on the IOS App Store.

This application is for you if you enjoy live radio stations and stations created based on your favorites.


According to TechCrunch , Spotify has 170 million users and continues to grow in number. Furthermore, more than half of Spotify users are under the premium access plan.

Spotify has a free plan and a premium plan. Spotify’s free option gives users access to over 35 million songs, access to podcasts and audiobooks, and some on-demand mobile access. -Spotify’s premium option is $10 a month with similar features to the free option. In addition, there is a travel abroad feature, no ad interruptions, and the ability to listen offline by downloading playlists.

Unlike other services, Spotify has bundle options for family and students. For example, signing up for premium as a student is $5 a month for 12 months also including Hulu in it’s recent promotion. And if you’re curious about what you’ve been listening to, at the end of the year, Spotify has a report called Spotify Unwrapped where you can see your top songs, genres, etc.

Along with the music, there are also videos, podcasts, and radios based on songs. So overall, for this platform you can create your playlists, listen to the songs you love in playlists you create or playlists that have already been created by mood, genre, or even algorithm. 

Image by Gizmodo Australia

Apple Music

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple music has over 50 million users. Some may be turned off with the fact that Apple Music does not have a free option, however, there are a range of plans and bundles to those interested in using the platform. There is a student plan at $5 a month, individual plan at $10 a month, and a family plan at $15 a month.

The student and individual plans are similar with access to 50 million songs, ability to listen on and offline, free three months trial, stream ad-free music and videos, download 100,000 songs, access across devices similar to Spotify, access to original shows, concerts and exclusives, and access to Beats 1 live and on-demand radio shows.

The family plan includes everything in the student and individual plans plus: access for six people which means up to six personal accounts for each member in the plan, the ability to share whenever and the ability to share iTunes purchases. Consider Apple Music the luxury brand of all music streaming services.

No matter how many features, what brand it’s streamed under, whatever, these streaming services all provide the same thing we’re all looking for: music. And in time, it will only get better.

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