From backyard barbecues to picnics at the beach, no summer memories are complete without a sizzling soundtrack. While there’s a certain nostalgia to waiting by the radio for that perfect song, high-speed broadband and our mobile devices now allow us to skip the wait and focus on the fun. Here are some of the best ways to stream your favorite music. All services offer free trials and are available for iOS and Android devices. Ease of integration varies, but most services can play through digital assistant devices such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod.
While there is an ad-supported free version limited to a “shuffle-only” mode on phones, the paid version of Spotify is where the service shines. For $9.99 a month — $4.99 for college students or $14.99 for the family plan — you can listen to a catalog of more than 30 million songs, build and share playlists, and download music to play offline.
Perfect for those looking to discover new music, Pandora takes your preferred song, artist or musical style and builds a station around it that matches your taste. The free version is like ad-supported radio. Pandora Plus, which costs $4.99 monthly, removes ads. For $9.99 monthly, Pandora Premium lets you listen to any song from a library with 40 million titles and includes
downloading for offline use.
If you have an extensive iTunes music library, then Apple Music is a good choice. The service integrates your existing music to the service’s catalog of 45 million songs. Apple Music also supports Siri voice commands and song downloads. There is no free option, but new users get three months at no charge. Afterward, pricing is similar to Spotify, starting at $4.99 for students.
For $9.99 a month, users get access to more than 40 million songs, as well as any music you upload to Google’s cloud. The service also includes access to YouTube Red, the paid version of the video streamer that features exclusive content and ad-free videos.
The online sales giant offers two services. For listeners who pay the $99 annually for Prime membership, Prime Music offers access to a library of about 2 million songs. Amazon Music
Unlimited ($7.99 monthly for Prime members and $9.99 monthly for non-Prime users) is comparable to other streaming services in content and features. It is a good option for users of Alexa-enabled devices.
DEVICE OF THE MONTH
Fugoo Style-S Bluetooth speaker
Take your music anywhere with the Fugoo Style-S Bluetooth speaker. Dustproof, waterproof and shockproof, it can live through almost any summer adventure. The speaker combines great sound quality, battery life up to 15 hours, and a stylish cover that can be swapped out for other colors. Available for $119.99, or two for $199.98, at fugoo.com.