Alas, Beats Music, we hardly knew ye. The music subscription service that did support Windows Phone has been canned by Apple to be replaced by one that does not. As of June 30, Beats goes away.
It's not a total blackout for Windows users since the (often terrible) desktop version of iTunes will allow you to subscribe to and use the new Apple Music service. But who wants a desktop only music service that costs 10 bucks a month, right?
So, since Apple won't be supporting Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile, here are some of the best alternatives.
Microsoft's own service doesn't show such platform hostility and is available pretty much everywhere you'd want it. Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, even iOS, Android and the web. It isn't without its faults, and there are a number of critics of its mobile offering in particular. But, with the recent addition of OneDrive integration to stream your own music using the service, there's no one big feature that jumps out as being missing compared to the competition.
It's about the same price in the different global markets as an individual Apple Music subscription, too.
- Subscribe to Xbox Music ($9.99 a month)
- Download Xbox Music for Windows Phone
- Download Xbox Music for Windows 8.1
The king of the streaming hill around the world is still Spotify. It's one of the early names in the space and as each year passes by its global reach and music selection continues to grow. For many, the name is synonymous with streaming music. And, while there's no Windows 8.1 app, there is a web app, a Windows desktop app and a Windows Phone app that is very much on par with the other mobile platforms' versions.
Spotify won't allow you to stream your own music from the cloud, but with one of the largest catalogs available, you should find most everything you're looking for. And if you're willing to make some compromises, you don't even have to pay. Premium subscription unlocks the best experience, though, and it'll cost $9.99 a month.
Part of Apple Music is its Beats1 radio station. On Windows Phone we have the excellent MixRadio. Sure, it's not an actual radio station, but it allows you to create your own. Choose from one of thousands of curated mixes or tell it who you like and create your own. Even take it offline, if you wish.
Currently MixRadio is going through something of a transition as it moves out of Microsoft ownership, so there are some things not available. You can't currently sign up for a premium account to take as much music as you like offline, for example. But, it just went cross-platform and premium accounts are something that should be coming back in the future. But you get the same great, basic experience for absolutely free.
Rdio has been around for a while and is one of those you might have heard about people using, but not actually taken a look at yourself. We actually featured Rdio during our previous Hidden Gems campaign, and with good reason. The Windows Phone app is superb and there are a bunch of features for both free and paying subscribers. Like this feature highlighted by our own Daniel Rubino:
"Perhaps the most interesting aspect of both apps is the ability to stream music to one device or another, letting users remotely switch to their current mobile device. This feature also enables you to pause a song on your tablet and then pick the stream up on your phone at the touch of a button."
It'll give you a radio like experience for free while opening up full album access and more to folks paying. Like Apple Music you can go beyond just a simple, single person subscription, but only for 2 unlimited accounts.
Kind of available in the U.S. (initially striking a deal with Cricket Wireless) and definitely available elsewhere in the world, Deezer has significantly upped its game in recent times. With a high-res option available for a bigger monthly outlay, podcasts and a big library of albums to listen to, Deezer is well worth checking out if you can.
It has supported Windows Phone for a long time now and that doesn't look like it'll end any time soon. The app will no doubts need refreshing for Windows 10, but there's little to complain about here. And there's a free option, too.
- Subscribe to Deezer ($9.99 a month)
- Download Deezer for Windows Phone
- Download Deezer for Windows 8.1
Are you a Beats Music subscriber who's having to go elsewhere? Perhaps you've got a suggestion we didn't mention? Be sure to sound off in the comments below!