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A Music Streaming Service Showdown

Spotify vs. Apple Music header

Since the collapse of file-sharing providers like Napster, Morpheus, Kazaa, and Limewire, extra individuals have turned to on-line music streaming providers to get their day by day repair of tunes. Spotify has emerged as the most important present participant (no pun meant) on this regard. However there are a number of worthy Spotify options on the market, and the one making the most important splash proper now’s Apple Music.

Should you’re making an attempt to determine between the 2, what is going to the deal makers or breakers be for you? That will help you out, we’ve created a comparability of their key attributes so that you can think about, so your selection might be a bit simpler.

What is roofed on this article

We’ll start with fast rundowns of the 2 providers, together with their principal attracts and flaws.


Spotify overview: a pioneering platform for streaming music on-line

A sample of the Spotify desktop app interface

Spotify was one of many largest early successes of the music streaming revolution, launched from Sweden in October of 2008. It’s constructed with most performance in thoughts, so you need to use it on all types of units and together with fairly a couple of different providers. Its interface isn’t as intuitive or good wanting as what you’ll discover on Apple Music, although. It additionally doesn’t have as many songs as Apple Music, and whereas it has an enormous podcast library to compensate, it doesn’t have reside radio like Apple Music does.

In the event you’d wish to study extra about Spotify, take a look at our free Spotify course.

Spotify execs:

  • Out there on extra platforms
  • Gives a free choice
  • Has a devoted podcast part
  • Integrates with many third-party providers
  • Higher music discovery and prediction system
  • Extra social sharing choices

Spotify cons:

  • Inconsistent trial presents
  • Fastened-time pricing is costlier
  • Consumer interface isn’t as intuitive
  • Smaller music library
  • No reside radio perform
  • Restricted offline entry to songs


Apple Music overview: a rookie with deep music administration roots

A sample of the main page for Apple Music in iTunes

Launched in June of 2015, Apple Music is a relative newcomer within the music streaming market. Nevertheless, it has its roots in iTunes and the iPodtwo different massively profitable music administration instruments from Apple. Whereas it had a subpar interface on the get-goits redesign following iOS 10 drastically improved its ease of use. It additionally has a considerably bigger music library than Spotify does (although no podcasts), together with stay radio. Nevertheless, it has no free choice, and it’s suitable with far fewer varieties of units and third-party providers than Spotify is.

Apple Music execs:

  • Bigger music library
  • Reside radio perform
  • Extra user-friendly interface
  • Higher offline entry to music
  • Extra intimate options for connecting with pals and artists

Apple Music cons: 

  • No free choice
  • No devoted part for podcasts
  • Out there on fewer platforms
  • Few third-party integrations out there
  • Music discovery and prediction system not nearly as good


Fast comparability desk: how Spotify and Apple music stack up

For the “too lengthy; didn’t learn” varieties, we’ve damaged down the battle into a number of key parameters within the desk under.

Function Spotify Apple Music
Normal worth $9.99/month $9.99/month
Scholar plan $four.99/month $four.99/month
Household plan $14.99/month $14.99/month
Free choice Sure No
Free trial 1-Three months; typically only a low cost Three months
Entry to native music out there? Sure, although separate from foremost streaming service Sure; built-in with on-device music
Stream high quality Commonplace: 24-160 kbits/s
Premium: 256-320 kbits/s
(Ogg Vorbis format)
256 kbits/s (AAC format)
Songs in library ~35 million ~45 million
Stay Radio No Beats1 Radio
Podcasts Sure No
Ease of use 6 / 10 eight / 10
Exercise options Integration with Runkeeper and Nike+ Run Membership None
Offline entry 10,000 songs throughout 5 units (requires Premium subscription) 100,000 songs throughout 10 units
Obtainable platforms

  • Net
  • Desktop (PC/Mac)
  • Cellular (iOS & Android)
  • Bluetooth
  • Google House
  • Amazon Echo
  • Fb Portal
  • Numerous moveable audio system
  • Google Chromecast
  • Apple TV (by way of AirPlay)
  • Amazon Hearth TV
  • Samsung sensible TVs
  • LG sensible TVs
  • Sensible TVs operating Android TV
  • Waze
  • Google Maps
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Sony PS3 or PS4
  • Xbox One
  • Apple Watch
  • Samsung Wearables
  • Google Put on OS
  • Garmin Smartwatches
  • Mighty gamers
  • Samsung Household Hub fridges

  • Desktop (PC/Mac), via iTunes
  • Cellular (iOS & Android)
  • Apple Watch
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Apple TV (by means of AirPlay)
  • Apple HomePod
  • Amazon Echo
  • Sonos sensible audio system

Now, for these of you continue to with us, let’s get into some detailed class comparisons of the 2 streaming apps.


Winner: pricing and number of plan choices

Clearly, pricing goes to be an element by which of those providers you select. You need to get one of the best worth on your cash, proper?

Each Spotify and Apple Music have comparable costs. Their particular person fee is $9.99/month, and their reductions for college kids and households are $four.99/month and $14.99/month, respectively. These charges are the usual baseline throughout the music streaming business – with the slight exception of Amazon Musicwhich presents a small particular person low cost of $7.99/month to subscribers of Amazon Prime.

Apple Music has a free trial interval that lasts for Three months. You can too pay for a person subscription yearly; At $99/yr, that’s a financial savings of about 20% over the common month-to-month price.

An option for an annual individual subscription to Apple Music

Spotify additionally has trial and fixed-time low cost plans, however they appear to vary at the very least yearly. Typically you’ll have the ability to get Spotify Premium utterly free for 1 month, and different occasions you’ll get a heavily-discounted price on it for Three months. Spotify additionally has extra choices for fixed-time subscriptions, in case you need Premium for greater than a month however lower than an entire yr. However the annual fee continues to be costlier than with Apple Music.

Spotify rates for fixed subscription lengths


Spotify nonetheless comes out the winner, although, as a result of the tiebreaker is that it has one huge factor that Apple Music doesn’t: a free-tier choice. Positive, that has its downsides like obligatory advertisements, restricted skips, a shuffle-only restriction for cellular units, and the lack to pay attention offline, however no less than you get to make use of the service! With Apple Music, until you’re on a free trial, you’re going to need to shell out for it.


Winner: extent of music library

How a lot music you get out of a streaming service can definitely affect your determination on which one to make use of. That is very true for those who’re into area of interest genres and in search of a specific album or music – or typically a fan of an A-list pop star whose music debuts solely on a sure platform.

In case you go by the uncooked numbers, Apple Music has the preliminary lead. Based on numbers marketed by every service, Apple Music has someplace between 10 and 15 million extra tracks than Spotify does. That looks like so much – and it’s – however, to be truthful, each streaming apps have large libraries with tens of hundreds of thousands of songs. Spotify says it has over 35 million tunes, whereas Apple Music claims someplace between 45 and 50 million ditties.

So far as unique artist and music/album releases go, each Spotify and Apple Music seemed to be abandoning the idea a number of years in the past. They cited considerations that it was main shoppers to cease utilizing streaming platforms, which additionally harm artists as a result of it restricted their potential viewers. However now they appear to be again at it with music moviesand that’s an space the place Apple Music has a serious head begin over Spotify.

(Picture supply: 9 to five Mac)

We’ll word, although, that Spotify has a devoted part for podcasts in the event you’re extra into spoken phrase than music, whereas Apple Music doesn’t.


Apple Music continues to be arguably the winner on this class, helped by one different factor: its integration with iTunes lets you import your personal music into your library. That method, you’ll be able to browse songs that you simply already personal copies of proper alongside stuff that you simply discover on the streaming service. Spotify does have an analogous function, however it’s nowhere close to as highly effective or correct because the one in Apple Music. Plus, it stows your on-device music away in a selected part, which suggests you need to browse and search it individually from the remainder of your tunes.


Winner: high quality of music

This one’s for the audiophiles within the room, the people who find themselves choosy about how intently their music sounds prefer it was simply recorded and produced within the studio.  

Audio mixer, representing controls for audio quality

Often, greater bit charges equal better-sounding music. However this match-up isn’t so simple as that as a result of every service makes use of totally different audio coding codecswhich interpret music in barely alternative ways. Apple Music usually makes use of the AAC (Superior Audio Coding) format for its songs, whereas Spotify primarily makes use of the Ogg Vorbis format (although it nonetheless makes use of AAC on some platforms, reminiscent of the online app and different units like Chromecast).

These are each “lossy” audio codecs – they sacrifice sound high quality in favor of a lighter knowledge payload. This implies they’re much less more likely to skip or outright cease when you’ve got a weak or interrupted Web connection. Nevertheless, they gained’t sound fairly as clear as a “lossless” audio format, such because the FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) format that competing streaming service Tidal makes use of for its top-tier “HiFi” subscriptions.

Apple Music usually streams its songs at 256 kilobits per second (kbits/s) utilizing the AAC format. With Spotify, although, the encoding format and out there bit charges that you simply get depend upon what gadget you’re utilizing:

  • Desktop: Ogg Vorbis; 160 kbits/s (free), 320 kbits/s (Premium)
  • Android / iOS: Ogg Vorbis; 24, 96, 160, or 320 kbits/s
  • Net / Different: AAC; 128 kbits/s (free), 256 kbits/s (Premium)

Winner: DRAW

When put to the checkthe sound high quality on Spotify Premium and Apple Music is about the identical (with Spotify being marginally higher in a number of particular instances). Spotify additionally has a slight edge in that it has extra general sound high quality choices – so you’ll be able to stability audio high quality towards how a lot bandwidth you have got – in addition to extra exact equalizer choices (however solely on cellular, and solely with Premium).

General, although, each platforms have higher audio high quality than your commonplace MP3. And wonder is within the eye – or ear, on this case – of the beholder, as some individuals will choose both Ogg Vorbis or AAC format for numerous causes. So until you’re listening for one thing actually particular, the distinction between the 2 platforms isn’t large enough to be noticeable. So we’ll simply name this one a no-contest.


Winner: predicting what you need to take heed to

Let’s face it: you in all probability don’t need to take heed to the identical previous stuff on a regular basis. When new content material out of your favourite band comes out, you’ll need to know. And also you’ll additionally possible need to uncover new acts that play the type of music you want, to maintain issues recent.

Each Spotify and Apple Music have brief setup questionnaires that ask you to level out genres and artists that you simply like. From there, the 2 streaming providers take totally different approaches.

Apple Music’s fundamental avenue for locating new music is thru its Beats1 Radio service. There, skilled DJs and music superstars host packages that highlight the newest tracks and up-and-coming artists. Apple Music additionally has a discovery algorithm that may create weekly playlists based mostly on what you take heed to incessantly.

Spotify, however, goes all-in on an superior pc algorithm that powers a boatload of instruments for stumbling throughout some new tunes you’ll adore.

Amongst them are a “Uncover Weekly” playlist that provides you new tracks like those you like to pattern each Monday, in addition to a “Launch Radar” playlist that hits you with the freshest releases out of your favourite artists and their contemporaries. There are additionally “Every day Combine” playlists based mostly in your prime genres and teams, together with loads of different suggestions based mostly in your favourite musical types, teams, and moods.


Whereas Apple Music wins factors for including a human contact to its music discovery system – which continues to be fairly good, by the best way – it’s simply not fairly as much as par with the astoundingly diversified and correct choices you’ll get from Spotify.


Winner: integration with common apps & platforms

In a world the place all issues appear related to one another, it may be useful to have the app that performs your music work along with the opposite belongings you do. In any case, it may be a ache to have to regulate a number of totally different apps directly.

Apple Music has a number of integrations, notably with different Apple providers. As we talked about earlier, it meshes with iTunes, so you’ll be able to browse your on-device media and something you’ve saved from the streaming service as one massive library. It’s additionally suitable with Siri, so you should use Apple’s digital assistant to regulate your tunes with voice instructions.

You can even pair Apple Music with Shazam to save lots of and play songs that you simply determine with the Shazam app. The music lyrics encyclopedia Genius has additionally teamed up with Apple Music. This allows you to play the songs you’re studying the lyrics to within the Genius app, in addition to view the lyrics to songs you’re listening to in Apple Music (whether or not or not you could have Genius).

Genius's integration with Apple Music
(Picture supply: iDownload Weblog)

Spotify, then again, performs properly with an enormous handful of providers. There’s a full record of Spotify app integrations that has extra info, however right here’s a quick rundown:

  • Google Clock app – Set your favourite music, artist, album, or playlist as your alarm
  • Waze / Google Maps – Discover your favourite tunes when you’re discovering your means round
  • Fb Messenger – Create a collaborative playlist with your mates
  • – Maintain a operating report of all the things you’ve listened to on Spotify
  • Starbucks – Save songs you hear at Starbucks to a playlist on Spotify
  • Tinder – Let potential matches know your style in music, together with your “Anthem” track
  • Discord – Let your mates know what you’re jamming to as you recreation and chat with them
  • Shazam – Save songs that you simply determine in Spotify so you possibly can take heed to them later
  • Runkeeper / Nike+ Run Membership – Create a exercise playlist with tempos that match your operating tempo
  • Bumble – Let potential matches see the artists you take heed to most, and take heed to their prime artists
  • WhoSampled – Discover out which songs in your playlist are samples, remixes, or covers of others
  • StubHub – Get suggestions for close by live shows based mostly on the music you take heed to
  • Starz – Take heed to TV and film soundtracks, and get viewing strategies based mostly in your music tastes


This one’s fairly apparent: Spotify is suitable with far more platforms and providers than Apple Music, so it’s the clear winner right here.


Winner: the social issue

Music (often) sounds higher with pals. Many music streaming providers have built-in social community elements into their service in order that customers can examine musical tastes with their buddies. So how do Apple Music and Spotify stack up in that regard?

Spotify permits you to comply with different customers, which lets you see what acts and different customers they comply with, in addition to what they final listened to… and even what they’re listening to in actual time! In fact, they will do the identical for you, however you possibly can disable this function in case you don’t really feel like broadcasting your music habits.

An example of what your Friend Feed looks like on the Spotify desktop app

Connecting with individuals on Spotify additionally permits you to advocate playlists to your folks, and even ship copies of your favourite mixes to them. You may as well share songs, playlists, and extra over FbTwitterTelegram, Skype, Tumblr, and lots of different social media platforms. You possibly can even arrange Spotify to publish your listening historical past to Fb, the place you possibly can talk about it with your mates.

Apple Music additionally lets you comply with individuals and their listening histories. The knowledge doesn’t replace in real-time like on Spotify, nevertheless it’s simpler to seek out within the first place – you’ll be able to pull it out of your contacts record should you don’t have a Fb account (however you’ll be able to search by way of Fb, too).

As well as, Apple Music additionally has the “Join” function, which is principally a built-in miniature personalised social media feed. With it, you possibly can sustain with the exercise and posts of others you comply with, together with your favourite artists. You’ll be able to like posts, touch upon them, and share them – together with songs and even entire albums – on social media platforms like Fb and Twitter.

Winner: DRAW

This one’s a toss-up that will depend on your preferences. Spotify general has extra social sharing choices, however they’re sort of static and disjointed until you have got a Fb account. Apple Music, then again, takes an strategy just like conventional social media, with all of your sharing exercise more-or-less concentrated in a single spot.

So, if you’d like pure performance, go together with Spotify. If a streamlined social expertise is extra what you’re after, decide Apple Music.


Winner: getting you nearer to your favourite artists

There’s an entire expertise past simply the music, whether or not it’s rocking your favourite band’s clothes or deluxe albums, scoring tickets to their newest reside gig, or getting their inside perspective on what it’s wish to make music for a dwelling.

Spotify has a couple of cool options on this regard. If you go to an artist’s web page, you possibly can hit the About tab to see promotional footage of them, in addition to a brief biography of their profession – typically provided by music journalists, whereas different occasions posted by the artist themselves.

Example of an artist profile on Spotify

You can even view upcoming live shows from that artist – together with date, time, location, and particulars on the band lineup – and even quick-jump to a licensed retailer to get tickets. Artists can also typically have premium merchandise marketed, akin to attire or particular version albums, and Spotify can direct you to the place to buy it.

Examples of upcoming concerts and merchandise for an artist on Spotify

Spotify additionally provides you the power to “comply with” artists you want, and sends you e-mail or textual content notifications on their new releases or upcoming exhibits. Sadly, this function can’t presently be used on the cellular model of Spotify until you have got a Premium subscription.

For its half, Apple Music has the “Join” function. It’s the place artists you comply with can share posts that embrace ideas, insights, and unique content material from tasks they’re engaged on (similar to music video previews or behind-the-scenes seems to be of their live performance excursions). You and different customers can “like,” touch upon, or share these posts, typically forming a dialogue with the artists themselves.

(Picture supply: Digital Developments)

Then there’s Beats1 Radio, Apple Music’s 24/7 stay Web radio station. Music packages on Beats1 not solely function tons of latest releases, but in addition are hosted by skilled DJs and movie star visitor artists. This provides you a neat look into what your favourite musicians wish to take heed to themselves. Some host artists even ask for listener enter when placing collectively their schedules of tracks, akin to St. Vincent (a.okay.a. Annie Clark)for instance.


Whereas Spotify provides you a super-fan expertise that’s extra tailor-made to your musical tastes, it’s slightly arms-length when in comparison with Apple Music. Bringing the concepts, preferences, and worlds of your favourite artists intimately to you thru social media features and reside radio provides Apple Music the win.


The underside line: is Spotify or Apple Music higher general?

The battle strains have been drawn, so which music streaming service comes out on prime? Right here’s a quick abstract of the explanations you may select one over the opposite.

Why select Spotify?

Decide Spotify if you would like perform over style. Whereas its interface isn’t nearly as good as Apple Music’s is, Spotify is obtainable on many extra units, and is suitable with many extra third-party providers. It additionally has extra social sharing choices, a built-in part for podcasts, and a greater (and extra quick) system for locating new tunes so that you can like. It additionally has a free, ad-supported service plan, which is a large factor lacking from Apple Music’s repertoire.

Why select Apple Music?

Apple Music is for many who have a deeper ardour for music. It has a considerably bigger music library than Spotify does – together with music movies, which Spotify is simply moving into – and permits you to obtain extra music throughout extra units to take heed to offline. It additionally has a clear interface that meshes properly with the likes of iTunes and Siri, so it’s nice for people who find themselves already used to Apple hardware and software program.

However maybe the good factor about it’s options that intimately join you with the artists you’re keen on. The “Join” perform places you in virtually direct dialog with artists about their careers and creations, and the reside Beats1 Radio function allows you to hear scorching new hits and recent new finds picked by the main acts of at this time.

And the winner is: SPOTIFY

Spotify nonetheless reigns supreme in our e-book, largely resulting from its uncannily exact music discovery algorithm, interoperability with a wide selection of units and apps, built-in podcast system, and sheer quantity of social connection and sharing choices. Oh, and you should use it free of charge. That one’s fairly huge.

Apple Music simply isn’t fairly on Spotify’s degree but, however it has come a really great distance in a really brief time. Its consumer interface, sound high quality, and media library are all equal to – or higher than, in some instances – these of Spotify. And its stay radio perform, together with its social media options shared between customers and artists, add a private aesthetic that stands out when in comparison with the fairly mechanical nature of Spotify and a few of its different rivals.

Nevertheless, we’d nonetheless wish to see Apple Music develop a free-tier model, extra third-party system and repair integrations, a devoted podcast part, and a greater music discovery system.


Different useful assets for streaming music on-line

Take a look at these articles that will help you save money and time streaming your music – and convey it with you anyplace you go!

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