Classical Music Streaming Services - Which One Is Best?

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The three standouts in classical streaming are Primephonic, Naxos Music Library and Idagio. All three offer high-quality streaming, sorting music by work, and an easy to use mobile app. And searching for music on these apps won’t turn up a million rock songs.

Naxos Music Library is an outlier. Its web player and mobile app feel old-fashioned, there’s no desktop app, you can’t download the music, and the service costs more than the competition ($21/mo and up). But it has a sizable library of other NPR-ish music, including jazz, world, folk, and modern instrumental. You can try it for free for 15 minutes (and for another 15 minutes in an incognito window).

Primephonic ($8/mo for 320 kbps streaming, $15/mo for lossless) has the best collection of “mood” playlists—in particular, it has a productivity playlist that Idagio lacks. Its featured music tab is slick and includes playlists curated by classical performers. It has a good, modern-feeling mobile app and web interface. But other than that, it feels like a slightly worse version of Idagio. There’s no desktop app, only mobile and web apps. And while you can look at all the versions of a work, playing one after the other is still a little awkward. You can try it for two weeks without a credit card.

Idagio costs $10/mo, which includes lossless streaming. (You can also stream at 320 or 192 kbps to save data.) You can try it for 30 days, but you have to give it your credit card info, so if you don’t want to get charged, remember to cancel. Idagio has the slickest mobile app, and it’s the only service with a desktop ap. The desktop version feels like a stripped-down Spotify, but it has all the basic features. The excellent “Discover” tab includes new music, exclusive recordings, and suggestions sorted by period, instrument, and genre (chamber and opera and “sacred vocal, etc.”). There are also featured performers and conductors, and playlists by critics and other experts.