Now that Groove Music has shut its doors, many faithful subscribers are wondering where now to turn for a great streaming music experience on Windows 10. Here are the best alternatives to Groove so you can get back to jammin'.
To make things easier for Groove users, Microsoft partnered with Spotify. Up until January 31, 2018, users were able to move their Groove libraries over to Spotify to pick up essentially where they left off. Whether you made the move or not, Spotify is an excellent choice to replace Groove.
You can use Spotify for free, but you'll have to put up with ads, and you'll only be able to play pre-determined mixes. If you opt for Spotify Premium, which costs about $10 per month for one person, you won't hear any ads, you can play any track, and you can listen offline. A student plan for $5 per month and a family plan for $15 per month (up to five people) are also available. Apps are available for desktop, mobile, and Xbox, but they each require a separate download.
- See at Microsoft Store | Windows 10
- See at Microsoft Store | Windows 10 Mobile
- See at Microsoft Store | Xbox
While it's currently only available for U.S. customers, Pandora has about 30 million songs that are curated by 80 musicologists to deliver a listening experience that closely suits your interests. A free version of Pandora is readily available in which you can listen to ad-supported radio, but there are also paid plans. Pandora Plus costs about $5 per month for a single user, and it's basically personalized radio without any ads. You can choose up to four stations to keep for offline listening, and you can skip around and replay any songs you want.
Pandora Premium, which costs about $10 per month, gets you a full gamut of features, including access to the entire music library, the ability to create playlists, offline listening, and no ads. To test out its service, Pandora offers a 30-day trial for Plus, and a 60-day trial for Premium. The best part? The Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app works with Xbox, desktop, and mobile.
Audiophiles out there will no doubt love Tidal's high-fidelity model, which delivers music in an uncompressed format; something that seems to be disappearing in the streaming age. A HiFi subscription costs about $20 per month for a single user, plus there's a $30 family plan for five users, and there's a $10 student plan.
If you don't need HiFi and just want access to more than 46 million songs and 190,000 videos, a Premium plan costs about $10 per month, with family and student plans also available. A 30-day trial is available for all plans, so you can get a good idea whether or not Tidal is for you.
As far as using Tidal on your Windows 10 devices, there is a desktop app available for download from the Tidal website. Unfortunately, the UWP app has disappeared from the Microsoft Store.
With iTunes expected to hit soon the Microsoft Store, Windows users will easily be able to take advantage of Apple Music. You can get a three-month free trial to see whether or not it's for you, over which time you'll no doubt be enticed by the 45-million-song library. If you do decide to stick around, choose from a $5 monthly student plan, a $10 monthly individual plan, or a $15 monthly family plan, which provides music for up to six people.
Apple Music allows you to add 100,000 of your own songs to your music library for streaming at a later time, discover new music with Beats 1 radio, and share music with your friends. If you're thinking about moving to an iPhone from Windows 10 Mobile, this might just be your best choice.
Google Play Music
Much like Apple Music is usually an iPhone user's top choice, Google Play Music is quite attractive for Android users. It boasts a collection of 40 million songs, plus you can add up to 50,000 of your own songs to the service for later streaming. There are radio stations and podcasts in the free version of the service, but paid plans offer a lot more, including unlimited playlists, mixes, and sharing.
An individual plan with all the bells and whistles costs about $10 per month, plus there's a family plan for six people for about $15 per month. If you'd like to test out the service, a 30-day free trial is available.
Like most streaming music services, Deezer has a free listening option alongside a couple of paid plans. If you want to go free, you can listen to unlimited music on your PC, or flows and mixes on your phone, but you'll have to put up with ads and a lesser sound quality. For about $10 a month, you can get a Premium+ plan with unlimited streaming and no ads, and for about $15, you can get that same deal for up to six people.
Deezer's music library has about 43 million songs to enjoy, plus there are plenty of curated mixes and flows that suit your mood or activity. You can download to your library for offline listening, and great free apps for PC and your Windows phone bring it all together.
Amazon Music Unlimited
It's hard to say how many songs it actually has in its library — it currently sits at "tens of millions" — but Amazon Music Unlimited is a great choice for anyone, especially if you already have a Prime plan. For those already subscribing to Prime, a membership costs about $8, whereas non-Prime customers will pay about $10. There's also a family plan for up to six devices that costs about $14, and there's an Echo plan for anyone who owns a standard Echo, Dot, or Tap. For about $4, you can stream unlimited, ad-free music to an Echo device, but that's it. No phone or PC. It's not the simplest pricing plan, but it works.
Check out these links for more info on streaming your music in the Windows ecosystem.
- Is the Tidal music service worth it for Windows 10 users? Let's examine the pros and cons.
- Spotify Hub (Everything Spotify in one place!)
- Pandora Hub (Everything Pandora in one place!)
Updated February 5, 2018: This list has been updated to include Deezer and Amazon Music Unlimited.
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