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What is the best music streaming service: Spotify alternatives?

We round up five internet music streaming alternatives to Spotify

Spotify player

Spotify is a truly great music streaming service but it has its drawbacks. Here's a list of five Spotify alternatives for you to check out.

We love using Spotify but if you use the free service, for example, what do you do if you run out of listening time or it doesn't have an artist or album you want to listen to? There are plenty of alternatives to Spotify out there, so we've pulled together some of the best for you to try (in no particular order).

See also: Group test: what's the best online music service?

We can't tell which one will suit your music taste or listening needs the best so we recommend you try them all out and choose which is best for you. You can, of course, use all them if you like.

Best Spotify alternatives

We7

Now owned by Tesco, We7 operates on a website and app basis. You don't even need to create an account to get started. Simply head to We7 in your browser and type an artist, genre, album or song and hit enter.

We7 is radio station based so you can't just play any track you like all the time. The firm describes as like having a 'personal dj'. There're pre-set stations but you can also create your own from the 11 million track library. If you decide to make an account you get 50 requests for specific songs per month.

We7 player

Price: Free

Ads: Yes

Offline listening: Yes

Mobile app: Yes


Last.fm

Something cool that Last.fm does is keep a record of everything you listen to, it's called 'scrobbling'. You can access statistics on all your listening habits like top artists and most listen to tracks. It even works with other players including Spotify, We7 and iTunes.

With this information Last.fm plays music which it thinks you'll like, the more you use it the better it gets. Last.fm is largely about discovering new music, you can love or ban tracks to help the process.

It's also a social network which encourages you to communicate with other users who have similar taste in music.

As you would expect, it's free because of adverts but you can pay £3 per month uninterrupted ad-free listening and other features like listening from a mobile device.

Last.fm player

Price: Free, £3 per month

Ads: Yes

Offline listening: No

Mobile app: Yes


Rdio

You do have to pay for Rdio but you can do a free trial to see if you like it first. You get access to a library of more than 18 million songs and Rdio will match songs you already own with its library.

Unlike Spotify, you can create more than just playlists. Your Rdio 'collection' can be organised into artists, albums, songs, recently added or play count just like media software like iTunes and Windows Media Player.

Rdio is available for Sonos and Roku players as well as tablets, smartphones and Windows and Mac.

Rdio player

Price: £4.99 (web), £9.99 (web & mobile)

Ads: No

Offline listening: Yes

Mobile app: Yes


Grooveshark

Grooveshark is similar to Spotify but is entirely web-based so you never need to download and install any software. You can listen to individual tracks, artists and albums as well as radio stations.

It's a free service so there are, of course, adverts but they come in visual form rather than audio. If you pay a monthly fee you can get rid of them and use the app for iOS and Android.

The library is vast but quality varies as Grooveshark's library consists of music uploaded by the users.

Grooveshark player

Price: Free, $9 per month

Ads: Yes

Offline listening: No

Mobile app: Yes


Deezer

Deezer has the advtange of a huge 20 million track library and offers free unlimited streaming. However, this only lasts for a year, after which you're limited to two hours per month. You'll have to sign up to be able to listen to more than 30 second clips.

You can build your own library of music or listen to radio stations. While you can use Deezer for free, paying for the Premium subscription removes ads while Premium+ adds mobile and offline listening. Both paid for services take the quality up to 320kbps and add a mixing desk feature.

Deezer player

Price: Free, £4.99 per month (Premium), £9.99 per month (Premium+)

Ads: Yes

Offline listening: Yes

Mobile app: Yes

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

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