5 best Google Play Music and YouTube Music alternatives

YouTube Music on smartphone stock photo 2
Google is definitely shutting down Google Play Music in 2020 with YouTube Music as its successor. The move makes sense. After all, YouTube is the most popular on-demand music website in the world. Plus, YouTube Music is getting a few Google Play Music features, such as the ability to upload your own music for streaming later. However, this move is the final straw for some people who want an alternative that isn’t YouTube Music.

The good news is you have a lot of options. There is some bad news as well. YouTube is the world’s most popular music streaming site for a reason. It has everything, including a bunch of music you can’t find on traditional music streaming sites. It’s easily accessible and you don’t even need an account on the website for on-demand streaming. Plus, a Google Play Music subscription also worked as a YouTube Premium subscription, making it the best one-two punch in video and audio streaming history.

There exists no music streaming service with those features. Thus, you will never find a 100% perfect YouTube Music alternative. Some services come close, though. Here are the best YouTube Music and Google Play Music alternatives.

The best Google Play Music and YouTube Music alternatives

  1. Apple Music
  2. Plex
  3. Spotify
  4. SoundCloud
  5. TIDAL

Apple Music

Price: Free / $9.99 per month

Apple Music is the closest approximation to Google Play Music right now. It has a huge library of over 60 million songs, the ability to listen to both on-demand content and radio stations, and the ability to upload up to 100,000 songs of your own music. The process for the self-upload feature is a bit complicated unless you have a Mac, but it’s still there. Apple still hasn’t rectified all of the app’s bugs on Android and that’s a shame. Still, it has almost all of the same Google Play Music features.

Apple Music screenshot 2020


Price: Free / $4.99 / $4.99 per month / $149.99

Plex is an excellent solution for people who don’t want to lose the ability to stream their own music. It doesn’t have a streaming service up front like Google Play Music, but you can basically make your own streaming service. You set up Plex on your computer and point it at your music folder, then get the app and stream your music directly to your phone. You have to pay $4.99 for the app in order to accomplish this and the $4.99 per month Plex Pass adds extra features and functionality. Plex also has a dedicated music app now if you just want to use it for music.


Price: Free / $9.99 per month

Spotify is one of the obvious choices when leaving YouTube Music or Google Play Music. It’s the largest music streaming app out there. You can also listen to on-demand music for free (with ads), listen to radio stations, and the service even includes podcasts now. The desktop apps are rock solid as are all of the mobile apps. You can even get this in many newer cars without any extra nonsense as long as your car has a data connection. In any case, it fills the free on-demand music (with ads) void, but it does lack YouTube’s hilariously large collection of underground and independent artists.

Spotify screenshot 2020 2


Price: Free / $9.99 per month

SoundCloud is a surprisingly decent option for a YouTube Music replacement. It has the traditional streaming service stuff if you want it for $9.99 per month. However, SoundCloud also has a huge collection of music from independent, small, and underground artists. In fact, it’s the only streaming service that comes close to YouTube’s massive selection. The app itself works fine and you can find all kinds of weird stuff there, including royalty-free music and podcasts. You can listen to some content with the free version, but if you want the popular stuff, you have to pay for it.

SoundCloud screenshot is the best musician apps


Price: Free / $9.99-$19.99 per month

One of the benefits of uploading your own music was controlling the quality. Google Play Music let you upload high quality music and then converts it to 320kbps MP3. It’s not hi-fi, but it’s better than a lot of streaming services. It’s not better than TIDAL, though, as TIDAL allows for true hi-fi listening. The app lets you download music for offline listening, create playlists, listen to existing playlists, and streams music at 16-bit, 44.1kHz FLAC or 24-bit, 96kHz MQA. It doesn’t get any better than that, although Deezer’s hi-fi option comes close. You can’t upload any of your own music, but it does everything else right.

TIDAL - best music streaming apps for android

Basically any other streaming service

Price: Free / Varies (usually around $9.99 per month)

Here’s the thing. A proper Google Play Music or YouTube Music alternative has the specific features that make those services good. If you don’t need or don’t use those extra features, you can basically switch to any other streaming app and be perfectly fine. There are some decent selections, including Pandora, Deezer, iHeartRadio, and others. A lot of folks are attached to Google Play Music’s name, but not its features. If you can get beyond that, you can use basically anything.

Deezer screenshot 2019 best free music apps

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If we missed any great YouTube Music alternatives, tell us about them in the comments.

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