A Guide To Every Music Streaming Service in Australia

Every Music Streaming Service in Australia Compared

Credit: Spotify

With early players like Pandora having retired their efforts in the region, the Australian music streaming market has mostly stabilised into a handful of dominant players that strongly resembles the record label oligopoly that preceded it.

Sure, there’s nothing stopping you from trying to launch your own streaming service but, at this stage, it feels like any new player would need to bring a radical innovation or advantage to the space in order to eke out even a fraction of market share. Welcome to late capitalism. 

Unless you’re still hoarding .MP3 files like it’s 2005, you’re gonna have to throw in one of the five big music streaming services to listen to the latest and greatest tunes. And if you’re looking to make sure you choose the right one, here’s a quick rundown on the differences between Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited and YouTube Music.


spotify-logo-100779042-orig.jpgCredit: Spotify

Is there a free tier? How does it work?

Unlike many other major music streaming services, Spotify offers a free membership option. This tier gets you access to the same library of 50 million songs, podcasts and audiobooks as paid Spotify users. However, that access is subject to a number of restrictions and caveats. 

You can only listen to select playlists on mobile, you can’t listen without an internet connection and your listening experiences will be interrupted by ads. You also won’t get access to the highest level of audio quality that Spotify offers and, if you travel, you’ll only be able to listen to music through Spotify outside your region for up to 14 days at a time.

What about Spotify Premium?

Spotify Premium gets you access to the same library of audio content but gets rid of the restrictions present in the free tier. You won’t be interrupted by ads. You can listen to Spotify internationally. You will get access to the highest available audio quality. You can listen on mobile or in places where you don’t have an internet connection.

You can sign up for Spotify Premium by clicking here.

Is there a family plan?

Spotify offers a family plan subscription which allows for up to six users to share a single account for AU$17.95/month. You can find out more about this here.

How big is the song library and does it offer hi-res audio?

Spotify boasts a song library of 50 million songs. The service streams audio in up to 320kbps quality - which is high but not quite the highest quality for streaming audio.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, Spotify Premium starts at a price of AU$11.95/month. The Spotify Premium Family Plan is priced slightly higher at AU$17.95/month. There’s also a student plan available for AU$5.99/month. You can sign up for Spotify Premium by clicking here.

Apple Music

apple_music-100809395-orig.jpgCredit: Apple

Is there a free tier? How does it work?

There is no free tier for Apple Music. However, there is a free 3-month trial. You can sign up for this by clicking here.

An active Apple Music subscription gets you ad-free access to a library of 60 million songs, offline listening, access to Beats 1 radio shows and original shows, concerts, and exclusives. 

Is there a family plan?

Apple offer a family plan for Apple Music that gets you all the benefits of the regular plan plus personalised account access for up to six people. You can sign up for an Apple Music family plan by clicking here.

How big is the song library and does it offer hi-res audio?

The Apple Music library consists of approximately 60 million songs and content is streamed in up to 256kbps quality.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, a regular Apple Music subscription costs AU$11.99/month while the family plan costs AU$14.99/month. There’s also a student plan available for AU$5.99/month

YouTube Music

Credit: Youtube

Is there a free tier? How does it work?

Google’s YouTube Music streaming does offer a free listening option for the cash-straippled. This tier is ad-supported and it doesn’t support offline listening or background play. 

What’s the difference between this and Youtube Music Premium?

Google’s streaming strategy is a little convoluted but, basically, YouTube Music Premium removes all of the limitations of your listening experience mentioned above.

Then, YouTube Premium bundles your music streaming experience together with some extra perks that improve the baseline YouTube experience like background play and offline viewing. 

Is there a family plan?

Yes, Google offers a YouTube Music Family Plan for AU$14.99/month that lets you share an account amongst up to five people. 

How big is the song library and does it offer hi-res audio?

Google haven’t really given a specific number to the size of the YouTube Music content library. However, as opposed to Spotify or others, YouTube Music includes music content that’s uploaded to Youtube like remixes or covers that you might not be able to find anywhere else. 

If you’re listening on the free tier, Google will stream audio at 128kbs. If you’re paying for YouTube Music Premium and above, you get 256Kbs quality.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, YouTube Music Premium is priced at AU$11.99/month. YouTube Premium is slightly pricier at AU$14.99/month.

There’s also a family plan available for AU$17.99/month for up to five users plus a student tier priced at AU$5.99/month

Amazon Music Unlimited

amazon_music_hd_1-100811132-orig.jpgCredit: Amazon

Is there a free tier? How does it work?

Amazon do offer a free version of Music Unlimited. However, even by the standards of its like, things are quite limited. You can only listen to selected playlists, you have to listen to ads and you can’t listen to anything offline. 

The next step up is Amazon Prime Music. This is included with any Amazon Prime Membership at no additional cost and it allows for ad-free playback from a library of up to 2 million songs both offline and online. For more info on Amazon Prime, click here.

Finally, there’s Amazon Music Unlimited. This option gives you full, unrestricted access to Amazon’s song library plus support for HD and 3D audio playback.

Is there a family plan?

Yes, Amazon Music Unlimited is available on a six-person family plan for $14.99/month.

How big is the song library and does it offer hi-res audio?

Amazon Music Unlimited offers a library of up to 50 million songs and streams in up to 256kbps. Amazon also offers an Amazon Music HD add-on, which lets you listen to music in up to 3730kbps on compatible devices.

How much does it cost?

Amazon Music Unlimited is priced at AU$11.99/month. 


Tidal's logo.Credit: Tidal
Tidal's logo.

Is there a free tier? How does it work?

Tidal does not have a free tier. Instead, it has two paid ones.

For AU$11.99/month, Tidal's Premium gets you unlimited, ad-free listening to a library of over 60 million songs and over 250,000 music videos. You also get access to exclusive TIDAL X events.

For AU$23.99/month, Tidal's Hi-Fi tier gives subscribers access to the same content and experiences as the Premium tier, except music is delivered in lossless, CD and Master Quality Authenticated quality.

Is there a family plan?

Tidal offer family plans for both its Premium and Hi-Fi tiers. The Family Premium package is priced at AU$17.99/month while the Hi-Fi tier is priced at AU$35.99/month.

How big is the song library and does it offer hi-res audio?

Tidal offers a library of over fifty million songs, some of which are streamed in up to 1411kbps quality if you’re on the Hi-Fi tier.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, Tidal Premium is priced at AU$11.99/month and Tidal Hi-Fi is priced at AU$23.99/month.

Which music streaming service has the best library?

YouTube Music, due to its tight integration with the wider YouTube library, has arguably the best and widest music library of all major streaming services. It doesn't just have music that Apple or Spotify doesn't have right now. It has music and remixes that they will almost certainly never offer.

Still, song library isn't everything. Exceptions exist but all five of the major music streaming services boast a library 50 million songs, so there's not a huge degree of difference in what you'll find on one versus another.

Which music streaming service has the best audio quality?

Unsurprisingly, Tidal offers the highest fidelity audio streaming experience. However, it's not as simple as just signing up and pressing play. You will need a decent network connection and the right kind of hardware to get the most out of the higher-end content formats that Tidal streams in.

Which music streaming service is the most affordable?

Unless you're able to apply for a student discount or split the cost through a family plan, there isn't a huge amount of difference in the base-line pricing for all five major streaming services. The monthly cost of subscribing to Spotify Premium, Apple Music, YouTube Music Premium, Tidal or Amazon Music Unlimited works out to be about AU$11.99.

The place where you'll find savings is usually in the promotions. Often-times, services like Spotify will offer you your first three-months at a discount. Using these deals as opportunies to jump between streaming services can be a way to save money.

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Tags music streamingSpotifyApple Music

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Fergus Halliday
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