Spotify and Apple Music are, in terms of their popularity, two of the leading music streaming platforms in the world today. Between them, they have more than 200 million subscribers (144m on Spotify at 60m on Apple, at the last count). That’s a lot of listeners, so they must be doing something right!
Here, we compare the two music streaming giants to help you choose the right one for you. Despite our fighting speech in the title, this is unbiased and nuanced, as both services have their pros and cons that make them better or worse for different users.
Here is our Spotify vs Apple Music split.
Spotify – $ 9.99 / month ($ 4.99 for students) | ad-supported free tier
If you’re a student and love your TV, Spotify might be the way to go, because for just $ 4.99 per month you also get Hulu and Showtime subscriptions.
The free tier is a great way to get a feel for Spotify. There are, however, many restrictions. You can only listen to what you want on a computer. On mobile platforms, you will only be able to listen to your playlists in shuffle mode, and you will usually be limited by what you can listen to. There are also no downloads on the free level. However, it is free, which is more than what can be said about Apple Music!
You can share with up to six family members as part of the $ 15 Family Plan.
Apple Music: $ 9.99 ($ 4.99 for students) | No free level
This service has the same prices as Spotify but without the free level. Students still get extra perks with temporary access to Apple TV +, but this is only a limited time offer.
As with Spotify, for $ 15 per month, you can upgrade to the family plan, which will let you share Apple Music between up to six family members.
Streaming and sound quality
Spotify Premium streams at 320kbps quality, while the free version is 160kbps. This is a clear advantage over the 256 kbps of the Apple Music output.
But for casual listeners, the difference probably won’t be audible, and there’s a strong argument that Apple Music’s sound quality still manages to be better than Spotify because it uses the AAC codec instead of Ogg Vorbis. from Spotify Premium.
The biggest advantage of the Sweden-based music platform is its now-legendary recommendation algorithm, which does a great job of directing you to interesting artists (some local, some obscure) related to the music you’re listening to.
Spotify’s biggest adoption feeds well on its sharing features, which make it easy to collaborate on playlists with friends and share your favorite tracks. Spotify web player is also a great option for browser-based users. It doesn’t always work as it should, but we’ve got a bunch of tips to fix this.
As of this writing, there are around 50 million songs on Spotify.
With over 60 million songs, Apple Music wins the pure numbers game, although in reality both contain more than enough music to last a lifetime. Apple Music lacks the sharing and social depth of Spotify, and its recommendation algorithms don’t compare to Spotify either.
Instead, Apple Music focuses more on the individual user. Library management is a cool feature that makes it easy to integrate your music library downloaded years ago into the streaming service. It basically converts your entire digital library to the Apple Music UI and does it really well.
It goes without saying that Apple Music syncs seamlessly between Apple devices, which is great if you are in that ecosystem. If, however, you have an Android phone and a Windows PC, you won’t get much out of this sophisticated integration.
UI / Design
The Spotify app’s home page displays what you’re actively listening to, rather than directly sending you recommendations. The emphasis is on swiping left and right unlike Apple Music’s more vertical design, which is a nice, intuitive alternative to simply scrolling and typing the options you want.
Apple Music and Spotify make it easy to find music. Always focused on sending you to the burrows of Discovery, Spotify does a great job offering suggestions under the search bar, with a slew of different categories filled with recommended music based on genre, mood, etc.
Apple Music’s search also has categories, but they’re more generic, and once you tap it, it redirects you to “What’s Hot” within that category rather than your personal taste. That way, it feels a bit more commercial and a bit less tailored.
The winner of this war depends on your situation. The price is about the same, so you must be wondering what to expect from a service.
Do you like discovering new bands and artists all the time and being redirected to interesting stuff based on your interests? Spotify is for you!
Or do you know what you love and already have a digital music library that you want to integrate into a stylish streaming app? Then Apple Music wins. IPhone and Mac owners will also appreciate the seamless syncing between devices.
After checking out how Spotify pits Apple Music against each other, if you still prefer to download music rather than stream it, check out our list of free music download apps for Android. We also have a guide on how to turn off your iCloud Music Library if you don’t want everything to sync all the time.
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