If you go to Trip Advisor and type in “music streaming in Jamaica” you’ll see comments by visitors to the island who had no choice but to listen to local FM radio while on vacation because the streaming platforms did not work.
Tiffany D from Pennsylvania said, “For the most part, my music collection is available offline. Was just wondering if I’d be able to stream my Apple Music or Pandora but I’m guessing that’s not happening. As for a FM tuner?…I don’t even listen to local radio here in the states anymore.”
Steven G from Connecticut said, “From what I understand, none of the big streaming services are available in Jamaica at this time.”
Those comments were years ago. Now, with streaming almost fully integrated into the Caribbean, there are a number of local and international options for streaming music while in Jamaica. The best ones will depend on the user’s preference, user-friendliness, and ability to pay.
Every music service boasts about their better qualities until you sign up and realize the app doest fit your lifestyle. Either the monthly subscriptions keep going up, the sound quality is not worth sticking around to listen, or the app doesn’t work in some areas. When it comes to Jamaica all music streaming services are not created equal but the ones that are available are free to download. Once you have the app there are options to upgrade.
Here are 9 streaming platforms available in Jamaica for residents and visitors alike, along with the pros and cons of using each while on the island.
This is possibly the least used streaming service in Jamaica. You can hear it mostly in stores and restaurants that want to create an American atmosphere.
There are three paid options for SiriusXM: SiriusXM Select for $16.99 has all music, comedy, and news stations along with sports channels except Major League Baseball. SiriusXM All Access for $21.99 has everything mentioned above plus baseball and SiriusXM Mostly Music for $10.99 as the name suggests has mostly music.
As of July 2021, there will be three Jamaican music channels on SiriusXM; The Joint ran by Pat Mckay, Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio curated by Cedella Marley, and most recently Shaggy announced his new weekly show Shaggy’s Yaad on SiriusXM Fly Chanell 47.
Although Pandora is not in Jamaica, users can personalize their stations powered by Pandora based on the artists they love. There are over 100 ad-free stations for your lifestyle and SiriusXM is the only place to hear cutting-edge controversial content like The Howard Stern Show.
Unlike many of the new streaming platforms that use algorithms for programming, SiriusXM still relies on program directors and on-air talent to curate music and other content for your taste. The in Car option works for most cars made in the US for the last 20 years with an OEM audio system. The major drawback to using SiriusXM in Jamaica is you will need data or Wifi for it to work because it depends on Satellite coverage.
8. Amazon Music
Amazon’s Songs & Podcast app is free to download and comes with Amazon Music included with Prime which has 2 million songs ad-free, podcasts, radio stations, unlimited skips and handsfree use. There is also Amazon Music Unlimited which has 75 million songs, Amazon original podcasts, a 30 day free trial and ability to upgrade to Amazon HD at no extra cost. Amazon HD has remastered Ultra HD albums. You can also import your playlist from other platforms. Prime members pay $7.99 and non-prime membership pay $9.99 per month.
For those who just want to listen to the radio, local or international, TuneIn has access to most radio stations in North America and the Caribbean. You can choose to listen to a radio station in New York or in Jamaica. The benefit of using TuneIn vs the FM radio is, it has a library of stations right on your phone and there are music stations for your every need. It also works seamlessly with Alexa.
This platform is by local telecoms company Digicel. They have a library of over 40 million songs to choose from. Dark mode, offline streaming with no advertisements. You can play and skip without limits from a locked screen. The one drawback especially for visitors and those not on the network is you have to become a Digicel customer to access the service.
Deezer was the first international streaming service to establish a presence Jamaica. With 56 Million music tracks along with podcasts, their playlists and recommendations will match every musical taste. Deezer is free but Deezer premium is $9.99 or $14.99 per month for families. They also have a student plan for $4.99 per month.
4. Apple Music
Not to be confused with Apple iTunes, Apple Music is the most popular music streaming platform with over 75 million users in the US and a choice of 75 million songs according to MIDiA research. However, in the Jamaican store fewer songs are available in their library.
They are new to the market and have not yet tailored much of their content to reggae-dancehall culture and Jamaican life. A couple of benefits that users get from the platform while in Jamaica include time synced lyrics option, live interviews, artists performances, and you can search for music using lyrics or just ask Siri. New members get three months free.
AudioMack is the only music streaming platform that is actively seeking to build relationships and content with Jamaican artists. AudioMack basic is free if you don’t mind the low quality in your ears but many Jamaicans seem to enjoy the platform. In 2019 their VP of Content Operations and Artist services, Z tweeted, “So AudioMack is currently more popular than Instagram in Jamaica”.
Hardly true now but with a focus on discovering new artists and hometown heroes they have playlists suited to the Jamaican culture, and from time to time engage artists to perform on the platform. No Wifi or data plan is necessary as you can download and play music offline. AudioMack premium is the same as Apple’s student price $4.99.
Spotify was the last streaming platform to enter Jamaica. Unlike Apple Music, they are a music and podcast one-stop app. They have exclusive deals with some of the top podcasters such as Joe Rogen, Barack Obama and you are sure to find many local podcasters such as as Tami Chin and Debbie Bissoon and World Music Views. Spotify expanded into the territory as one of the leading forces in exclusive audio content.
They empower users to create a playlist that often inform the algorithms based on the country you are in and your listening patterns. There is an ad version and a premium version. The convenience differs with cost and with Spotify Premium you can listen offline and play on any device. There is also better sound quality.
The Number 1 most user and user-friendly and streaming service for music in Jamaica is YouTube. YouTube is the second most popular website in Jamaica and music is one of the more popular reasons people log on.
If you go to any hairdresser, barbershop, hotel or convenience store chances are they will have YouTube music videos on their screens as the entertainment. The site offers audio-visual as well as visual audio content. Chances are you already know most of the benefits of streaming music on YouTube but many of you may not know that YouTube offers weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly analytics for artists and detail how they are performing in each parish and country. It has been a game-changer for the Jamaican music industry since they began to focus on music. In the last year, more Jamaican artists streamed more than ten million times on YouTube than any other streaming service. There are YouTube channels that offer paid monthly membership if you wish to support an artist’s work. Users can get exclusive perks and become part of an artist’s listening and sharing community. The only drawback for YouTube in Jamaica is there is no YouTube Music app that allows for music downloads and closed screen access.
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