The undisputed champion in the magpie eyes of the media. Stream full songs and albums for free in return for listening to ads or stump up £9.99 a month for glorious ad-free listening. If you're having a party or feeling temporarily flush, there's also a 99p day pass.
Strengths: always adding new music, lots of major label artists (besides the digitalphobic dinosaurs like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones).
Weaknesses: some dance music and esoteric acts like Japanese cult sludge doom rock trio Boris. This enrages Julian Cope (we imagine)
An appalling name lets down an otherwise pretty ace service. Grooveshark combines a music search engine, streaming service and recommendation engine. Create a playlist of songs you like and its Autoplay feature will add similar songs. It's ad-supported like Spotify but is still trying to sort its deal with labels meaning legal trouble is never far away.
Strengths: the recommendation engine
Weaknesses: not as many songs as Spotify, still lacks true legitimacy with the record labels
The granddaddy of the music streaming sites doesn't have the catalogue that Spotify does but is a far more social experience. Building a profile of the music you like by "scrobbling" songs you listen to via its streaming radio stations, iTunes (and many other media players) and on your phone or iPod, it's a way of life.
Strengths: its social features, independent labels and artists, its iPhone app for creating personalised stations and scrobbling play data
Weaknesses: owned by megacorp CBS, there have been concerns about listening data being shared with the Recording Industry Association of America. Last.fm has strenuously denied the claims.
Another ad-supported streaming site with a download site tied to it as well. Very quick to update with new releases and strong on independent labels and fairly obscure artists.
Strengths: good on odd acts and updated frequently, easy to purchase tracks
Weaknesses: website is cluttered and a bit confusing
5. Orange Monkey
Yes it sounds like the answer to a riddle in an Indiana Jones film ("You must seek…the Orange Monkey!") but Orange's new streaming music service is an interesting little animal. A collaboration between Orange, Universal and Channel 4, it give you access to tracks from the label via a website and a free number you dial up from your pay as you go mobile. All you need to do to access the service is top up £10 a month.
Strengths: it's cheap and cheerful without the need for a smartphone
Weaknesses: only Universal is on board so lots of music just isn't there, to listen on the go you've got to tie up your phone number
Another social site (like Last.fm), Imeem allows users to share blogs, photos, videos and most importantly music. It has a similar search function to Flickr and Youtube which makes it simple to find things that'll interest you. Listening to music via the site is free through an ad-supported model but what you get can be a little random given the site's focus on sharing.
Strengths: content from Warners, Sony BMG, Universal and EMI means the big hitters are there.
Weaknesses: a little chaotic to find your way around and impenetrable at first
A French music streaming service with lots of Last.fm like qualities. It too is available on Sonos systems and features streaming radio stations. Its big downside is a more restricted library of tracks although it has recently made nice with several of the big labels increasing its catalogue immensely. Again, like Last.fm, it offers an iPhone app which gives you access to its streaming radio stations.
Strengths: iPhone app for streaming, available on Sonos systems
Weaknesses: catalogue cannot compete with the size of Last.fm or Spotify
8 BT and Sky
BT and Sky announced this week that they are both working on streaming music services. BT is in discussions with the four biggest record labels while Sky has tied up deals with Sony and EMI as well as nabbing Universal Music back in 2008. It's talking to the last of the big four – Warner Music – right now. Sky's service is almost ready (if rumours are to be believed) while BT is in the early stages of development.
9. Spotify on the iPhone
The killer feature that could finally bring the premium subscribers that Spotify needs, its iPhone app will only be available to folk who stump up £9.99 a month. And that's if Apple lets it in to the iTunes App Store in the first place. If it does arrive, expect the ability to buffer tracks to listen to them when a 3G or WiFi connection isn't available. You can read more about the Spotify iPhone app here and see the hands-on video.
Microsoft's planned Spotify killer has been mysteriously delayed but is expected to be a totally free, ad-supported site. Microsoft says it'll be in beta when it does pop up in the UK but it'll need to be pretty special to steal our affections away from Spotify. More variety in ads might help. If we hear Jonathan's voice one more time, we might have to hunt him down.