(Pocket-lint) — The Shortlist for the EE Pocket-lint Awards has been announced, celebrating the best devices, services and products across 20 main categories, with each category offering six nominations. All the nominees are products, devices or services that have been used in full, or reviewed in full by the Pocket-lint team over the last 12 months.
The Best Music Streaming Service category looks at the best music streaming services, the content they offer and the interfaces they offer it up on.
The shortlist nominations for the Best Music Streaming Service 2022 are:
You can click on each of the products above to read our features on each nomination, which will give you an idea as to why they have been nominated.
Amazon Music Unlimited
Amazon has been putting a lot of time and resources into its music streaming service over the past couple of years, enhancing its offering by adding thousands of Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio mixed versions of songs that you can listen to on compatible devices. Plus, subscribers to Amazon Music Unlimited get HD (CD-quality lossless) music included in their plan, with 24-bit Ultra HD also available.
One of the things that makes Amazon Music Unlimited different to the rest is that not only do you get the usual individual, family and student plans but you can also have a cheaper single-device plan if — for instance — you have one Amazon Echo you want to listen to it on.
Apple Music is packed full of features, with Apple also putting quite a big focus on exclusive material like radio shows, podcasts and interviews with your favourite artists as well as hosting music videos and — of course — music.
Like Amazon, it offers ‘lossless’ versions of some albums as well as Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos that adds a sense of space and direction to the tracks mixed with Dolby Atmos. With a compatible pair of headphones — like Apple’s own AirPods — it adds another dimension to the Apple Music listening experience.
Deezer is a service very much seen as the Underdog of the streaming scene, but its list of handy, useful features make it an attractive option for anyone. The Deezer app — for instance — has a ‘SongCatcher’ feature that works a little like Shazam to recognise a track playing in your vicinity, and can then find it and let you play it yourself or add it to your personal library.
What’s more, if you’re coming from another popular service, Deezer’s built-in playlist transfer tool will allow you to bring your own playlists across with you to Deezer when you subscribe. The app is available on desktop, mobile, smartwatches and smart speakers and is a really simple, intuitive app that’s easy to use.
Spotify is a market leader in the world of streaming and is compatible with pretty much any internet-connected music-playing device available. Whether it’s your phone, smartwatch, Amazon Echo, Nest Audio, TV or computer, you can get Spotify on it. What’s more, with Spotify Connect you can control it all from one device.
Spotify has a wide selection of Premium plans available too, including individual and student plans alongside a family plan for up to 6 subscribers and a unique Duo account that lets couples get access to the service without paying for a family plan.
Tidal was one of the first streaming services to offer high-quality lossless music, and that’s still its raison d’etre, with two different plans offering either HiFi (1411kbps) or HiFi Plus (9216kbps) quality audio. On either plan, you get over 90 million songs and nearly half a million videos to watch. And — with HiFi Plus — more of your money goes to the artists you listen to the most.
With the ‘Plus’ plan you also get access to Dolby Atmos or Sony 360 Reality Audio spatial audio, and it’s available on a number of different devices, including a lot of high-end audio players like Naim, Bluesound, Denon and Onkyo audio systems, plus the Astell&Kern high-resolution portable music players. In short, if audio fidelity is what matters most, Tidal is probably the best service for you.
YouTube Music is Google’s streaming service which combined a now-defunct Google Play Music with its YouTube music service to create a simplified, single space to access music and music videos. Like most of the other services, you can get access to it on your phone, through your desktop and many devices like Wear OS smartwatches.
Its unique feature — on the app at least — is that you can have it play the music video instead of just audio if you’re listening/watching on your phone, and it can default to play the video over audio only if you want it to.
How the Pocket-lint Awards judging works
The winner for the Best Music Streaming Service category is decided by the Pocket-lint team, along with a panel of expert judges from publications across the industry. Following the scoring process, the Best Music Streaming Service winner for 2022 will be announced at an in-person event on 30 November 2022 in Central London, along with the winners from the other 19 categories.
A Product of the Year winner will also be announced, chosen from the winners of the 20 categories and a winner of the EE Superfast Award, will also be revealed at the event. We will be announcing the results on the Pocket-lint Twitter handle as they unfold on the night so keep an eye out there.
Writing by Cam Bunton. Editing by Britta O’Boyle.