Best music streaming services 2018

When it comes to getting your digital music fix in 2018, more and more people are turning to streaming services rather than download sites.

The ability to access to tens of millions of tracks at the tap of a touchscreen means it's never been easier to hunt down old favourites or discover brand new bands and artists. And with some services offering CD-quality streams and higher you don't have to sacrifice on sound quality.

So, whether you want choice and convenience, or prefer the highest fidelity possible, there's a music service for you.

Best music streaming services 2018: under £10/mth

Best music streaming service under £10/mth

Spotify

Easy to use and to discover new music.

SPECIFICATIONS

Quality: 320kbps | Files: MP3, M4P, MP4 | Library size: 40 million+ | Platforms: iOS and Android apps, desktop app, web player, smart TV apps, connected speaker support, cars

Reasons to Buy
Exhaustive discovery features
Intuitive interface
Free tier
Reasons to Avoid
Doesn’t offer best-sounding streams
No lossless option

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Spotify remains one of the most accessible ways to get your music fix. Not only does it offer decent 320Kbps quality but there is a huge library of over 40 million songs. These can be played on pretty much any device you own thanks to intuitive iOS and Android apps and support in numerous smart TVs, connected speakers and other AV kit courtesy of Spotify Connect. If your limit is £10 per month, Spotify delivers the most comprehensive and complete experience we've come across.

MORE: 33 Spotify tips, tricks and features

Best music streaming services 2018: over £10/mth

Best music streaming service over £10/mth

Tidal

High quality audio with wide range of content.

SPECIFICATIONS

Quality: CD-quality streaming, 24-bit/96kHz | Files: FLAC, AAC | Library size: 48 million+, 30,000+ high res | Platforms: iOS and Android apps, desktop app, web player

Reasons to Buy
Better sound quality than rivals
Hi-res Masters tracks
Intuitive interface
Reasons to Avoid
Some Masters tracks are hard to find
Masters available on limited devices

Besides CD-quality streams, as part of Tidal's £20 per month HiFi package you can access over 30,000 high-res audio tracks, which typically weigh in at 24-bit/96kHz, but do stretch as far as 24-bit/192kHz.

Called 'Tidal Masters', the music files are encoded using MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) tech, which allows for more efficient packing of the hi-res data. You can access Tidal through iOS, Android, desktop and a browser based player, but to enjoy hi-res playback you need to use the desktop app or a DAC with MQA decoding built-in.

Sound quality is exceptional across the board, with the CD-quality streams displaying  great levels of detail and expression and hi-res recordings taking this all up a level. If you're looking for the best high quality streaming experience, this is it.

MORE:

Tidal Masters (with MQA) review

25 Tidal tips, tricks and features