a blog from CenturyLink

How to stream music and the internet speed you’ll need to do it

by | Jan 11, 2023


The days of CD players and cassette tapes are over—although it seems vinyl is making a comeback. Now, most people stream their favorite tunes directly from the internet. On average, Americans stream about 75 minutes of music a day. Whether you use music to wind down, pump yourself up, or simply as background noise, we’ll show you how to stream music and how much internet you’ll need to start streaming.

How to stream music

Woman with headphones listening to music

At its core, streaming means that you have the ability to access and play music through a network connection. There’s no need for traditional cables or devices such as CD players or even the radio! You can simply click a mouse, tap a button, or say the words, “Hey Siri,” to start listening to your favorite artists. Streaming music is easy, convenient, and most important of all, accessible.

Best platforms for streaming music

With so many streaming platforms at your fingertips, it can be difficult to choose which one is right for you. The best way to decide is to determine what your streaming needs are. Do you want ad-free listening, or are you okay with commercial breaks? Do you need multiple accounts for family members? Do you want the ability to create custom playlists and share them with friends? Some platforms will display lyrics across the screen, while others might play the accompanying music video. You may also be able to stream podcasts. All of these features will factor into which streaming platform is best for you.

Some of the most popular platforms for streaming music are:

  • Spotify
  • Apple Music
  • YouTube
  • Amazon Music
  • Pandora
  • Bandsintown

Once you find the right platform for you, you can find it in the app store or online. Simply follow the instructions from there to start streaming music. The good news is that no matter which streaming service you pick, you’ll have access to millions of songs.

What internet speed do you need to stream music?

Friends streaming music together

Now that you’ve learned how to stream music, let’s dive into the internet speeds you’ll need to start streaming. Fortunately, you don’t need much speed to stream music. Internet plans with speeds of 10 Mbps or more can easily stream music from most platforms. However, if you have multiple devices streaming at once or if you’re trying to stream music videos, you will experience higher latency.

What is latency?

We know that videos and streaming on multiple devices can cause higher latency. But what exactly does this mean? Latency is the time it takes for data from the device to travel to the server and back. This means that a higher latency will result in choppiness and skipping, which can be incredibly frustrating when you’re trying to enjoy your favorite songs.

So how can you protect yourself from high latency?

Steer clear of high latency

Man learning how to stream music

You should update your devices often to ensure they are completely up to date. Older devices take additional time to process data on a network, which can slow down the network’s ability to process data on newer devices. That’s why it’s important to replace old devices and stay on top of upgrades.

If there are multiple people in your household all gaming and streaming at the same time, a second internet line might be the perfect solution. With a second internet line, you can game without sharing bandwidth with other activities for top performance. While working or going to school from home, you can dedicate a line to streaming your favorite shows and movies anytime with reduced buffering.

For more on latency, check out our guide to understanding internet speed and WiFi.

What else can you stream with fast internet?

Music isn’t the only thing you can stream at lightning-fast speeds. Streaming services like Hulu and DirecTV Stream allow you to stream entertainment, sports, and other video content over the internet. If your favorite artists aren’t streaming or touring any time soon, you can watch their past livestreams to see amazing live music. Many of these services also provide online news streaming from local, national, and international networks. Using your smartphone, laptop, or smart TV, you can stay up to date with all of your favorite channels when you start streaming.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

<a href="https://discover.centurylink.com/author/emilyr" target="_self">Emily Richey</a>

Emily Richey


Emily Richey is the Content Manager for the CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber blogs. A recent graduate of Pace University NYC, she's an avid reader and writer. She spends most of her free time in bookstores and cafes, seeking the perfect cup of coffee.