With Apple waving goodbye to Beats Music, here are some alternatives for Windows Phone owners

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.

Xbox Music

Xbox Music

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.

Spotify

Spotify

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.

MixRadio

MixRadio

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

Rdio

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.

Deezer

Deezer

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.

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!

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

230 Comments
  • Windows for phones is turning out to be a kind of joke. Bad days ahead for the Phone.
  • You won't say this after 10. BTW update 2 in New WP's make u hate android.
  • windows phone is already better than android the problem is that google play store is better than windows store and for that only reason windows phone are behind
  • Exactly
  • This^^
  • You're right. I'm finding more and more reasons to abandon the platform because of Android's sheer dominance. Plus the fact that I use google voice and hangouts more often than not....And I cant use any of their services on my phone. Flat out, it's annoying.
  • All I know is that I pay $14.99 for Microsoft Music and I get to "keep" 10 songs per month, for life, for ever (hopefully)!  So, I'm good with that!  But I do wish there was a family plan. 
  • I'm pretty sure that's only for grandfathered users who had Zune Pass before they transitioned to Xbox Music.  I don't think they do that anymore, and $14.99 buys you a family plan with Apple Music for 6 people in a household so even with the 10 free songs, it's a horrible value proposition compared to what Apple has (and even Spotify). Nevermind the libraries of those services is more vast than Microsoft's.
  • Yes. It is a grandfathered Zune pass! You say horrible? Hmmm... How much does one song cost when you purchase it? $1.00 - $1.29? Let's just say $1 that's a $10 benefit that I get to keep on my MP3 or computer FOR EVER! If I decide to drop my service I have 5 years worth of songs to take along with me! But if Apple allows you to keep your music then you may have a point. If they don't then it's a ... they keep your money and if you leave they keep your music. Now that's an abysmal system. :) Oh btw, because I still have Zune I can download music on any of my family devices. Sweet.
  • So basically it is ten half price tracks each month, that you have to buy, or they go away. It was OK when I had it, but I got hold of a year XBox Music Pas for free, and exercising that lost me my grandfathered Zune plan. Haven't missed it really.
  • Sorry to hear that SvenJ.  But I would certainly miss my 10 FREE downloads per month. It's like I only pay $5.00 per month.  I still get all the features all the other services provide but I also get 10 FREE songs per month to KEEP!  I could certainly have jump on the free Xbox Music pass.  But that doesn't add up in the long run.  Hey but to each his/her own.  I know I great deal when I see it.  And I plan on keeping as long as Microsoft have their music service.  Don't need anything else.   
  • But you don't get 10 FREE songs per month, you pay $5 for those 10 FREE songs. So you get 10 tracks at about half price.  You pay at least $60 more for XBox Music each year.  You will never see your subscription discounted, while the normal one regularly can be found for less than the $100 per year price. Even down to $31.40 on PI day. I'm certainly not arguing against your keeping your grandfathered plan, I just don't miss mine.
  • If they would just make it one with Gold sub. Music+Videos just like games with freebies.
  • In order to get value out of the grandfathered package you just have to download 5 of your 10 included songs. This wouldn't be so bad if Microsoft wasn't doing their level best to keep you from doing so comfortably. I think it is borderline criminal that newer versions of Xbox Music do not allow you to utilize the benefit people are paying for. I've been a Music Pass subscriber pretty much since it was available. It's painful to have watched Microsoft squander what should have been a healthy head start only to wind up so far behind when it comes to music streaming.  It is really ironic how Microsoft is touting the importance of Universal Apps while they are intentionally blocking multiplatform services from the customers who have been the most loyal to those platforms.
  • I know right.  That's why I downloaded the Zune client on all my computers.  Basically I either get my free songs by dowloading on my phone or through Zune.  If you try using the computer Metro version of Xbox music it will charge your credit card.  Which is simply stupid if you ask me.  As brilliant Microsft can be at times they are also pretty lazy and dumb at times. 
  • I'd have no problem continuing to use Zune had they not crippled it. The Zune software is slow as molasses on all my computers, when it was much faster on older computers I had it installed on, once upon a time.  Music as a Service is now a thing, and Microsoft let its early lead erode to the point where it is now Music as a Distraction and they can't afford to keep approaching it that way.  I realize that Xbox Music is really not that bad, but I (and others like me) have really only lost features since they've tried to make it better.
  • +1520
  • When people were on WP7 -> Wait for WP8, it will change everything When people were on WP8 -> Wait for WP8.1, it will change everything Now people are on WP8.1 -> Wait for W10M, it will change everything Let's wait...
  • You forgot: When people were on WP7 -> Wait for Wp7.5, it will change everything When people were on WP7.5 -> Wait for Wp8, it will change everything
  • Ha
  • It did change everything. Each iteration got better. I was on Android. Will never go back even if W10 is simply another "iteration."
  • They been saying this same thing since 8... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Well, history shows things tend to change. If you try hard there is a probability that occasionally you succeed. On the other hand there is no success for sure if you don't even try. So that's good they are not abandoning the platform, I'm with them.
  • What have you seen in Wp10 that make you say this... There is nothing special in WP10 compared to WP8 other than the Universal apps which are currently supporet in WP8 in some shape & form... And have you seen any stats/survey that show that more iOS/Android developers are interested in Win10 platform? All surveys I have seen portray the opposite with still little interest in MS platform
  • The thing is, when developers thought about developing for win phone 8, they knew that their app wouldnt get a huge amount of attention. But if they develop for win10, they will get not only phone, but all the desktop users, which is a much, much larger amount of user base.
  • Yep, and those desktop users are going to move away from much better Desktop Apps to use some crippled, featureless Universal Apps that are designed for lowest common denominator smartphone form factors and just blown up on a desktop monitor? Kind of like people will be using Office Universal Apps on their desktops, right?  No.  They'll use Office 2013/2016 or they'll buy a cheap copy of WordPerfect Office, or they'll just download LibreOffice if compatibility with others isn't a major factor. No one uses Coach's Eye on Windows 8.1.  They get told to either splurge for Dartfish or download Kinovea (Open Source, and does 10x what Coach's Eye does).  WinRT Apps simply do not have the performance in a lot of places to compete with Native Applications.  They're generally worthless compared to extremely cheap or free Win32 Offerings due to feature disparity or performance. Universal Apps are, basically, smartphone apps blown up the way Android Apps can rearrange themselves when run on a Tablet vs. a Phone.  They're designed largely for Tablets, and Microsoft does need to focus on them becasue Windows as a Tablet OS is worthless becuase of the lack of Apps appropriate for that form factor, but right now they aren't even a blip on my radar because virtually none that I've tried really deliver compared to even shareware Win32 applications from half a decade or more ago. Even Microsoft has done poorly in really showing what WinRT is capable of, with their native apps.  Which exhibit exactly these issues (poor performance, slow load times, instability (apps that just disappear off your screen with no feedback as to what happened), etc.). Being able to run Tablet Apps on a Desktop, on one of the trailing Smartphone/Tablet Platforms on the market is not going to really push developers to target the platform.  A lot of consumers will still probably avoid the Universal Apps, anyways, becuase hte design language is way too different and the navigation/menus/toolbars/etc. are still completely foreign compared to what they're used to seeing when they run their Win32/.NET Applications.  
  • The most insightful comment I've read in a long time.
  • Oh shut up. People were saying that about WP8 and then when the great pumpkin didn't come they were saying the same thing about 8.1...and guess what? The Great Pumpkin never came....and it never will.
  • Ha! People have been saying that since Mango!
  • Are all current Windows Phone devices getting the Update 2 update? Or is the update just for some devices"
  • Hate to say it, but 10 doesn't magically fix all the problems.
  • Oh please..... I have been reading posts like "it wil be better after windows phone ver xxx is released" for the past 5 years since the age of WP7. Till date, Windows phones is still being slap in the left, right and center by Google and Apple. New update 2 makes me hate Android? Been using update 2 on my 640 XL and it still doesn't change my views about how much better Android is than Windows Phone.
  • And they still think that windows 10 will change something, they ilude themselves thinking that way
  • Did know about the new changes in making