We compare Spotify and Apple Music (and we have a winner)

If you are someone who needs to listen to music to do practically everything, from working to bathing, then chances are you’re subscribed to one of the hottest music streaming services of the moment. But if you don’t already have it, choosing between Spotify and Apple Music can be a challenge. We compare both platforms in all their characteristics so that you are not mistaken when choosing.

It is not an easy decision: on the one hand, Spotify is found – the undisputed king of streaming music on demand – not only because it was the service that established the current streaming market model but also has dozens of Millions of paid subscribers more than the competition.

But Apple Music has also had impressive growth, reaching some 60 million monthly subscribers since it launched in June 2015, almost a decade after Spotify’s debut. In fact, right now it is the most popular paid streaming service in the United States. What are the greatest strengths of these services? What do they falter in? Are you clear which one is best for you? We analyze everything in the following comparison.

And since you are here, you may also be interested in knowing who wins between Spotify and Pandora or consult this other article about the best internet radio stations that you can enjoy with a single click.

Music library

Spotify earned its dominance by force of its impressive catalog of over 30 million songs. Coupled with the fact that it adds more than 20,000 new songs every day, the service offers more music than your ears can hear.

Although it is true that your library has some important gaps to fill -Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, or Tool-, the Spotify catalog is extremely wide.

In addition, the Swedish streaming service offers the latest releases, exclusive live sessions, and several new singles directly through its New Releases tab every Friday, providing an excellent range of songs from numerous artists.

However, Apple’s service has around 40 million songs, in this case surpassing Spotify’s “more than 30 million” figure. In addition, Apple has taken steps to obtain more exclusives than the competition, the work of Taylor Swift being an excellent example.

In fact, Spotify is not very happy with the artists who sign exclusivity agreements with Apple. The firm reportedly could alter search rankings for those who ally with the Apple platform first.

In addition, there is another area where Apple Music takes advantage of its competition: the integration of the iTunes library.

Any music you have, whether purchased through the iTunes Store, pulled from a physical CD, or uploaded to iTunes Match, will appear in your Apple Music library, giving you the option to freely explore your own content along with the standard catalog of Manzana.

Spotify offers a similar feature, by placing your local music files in a separate tab, but you can’t access your local music through extensive searches as you can do with Apple Music.

Winner: Apple Music

Musical discoveries

Despite all its songs and playlists, Spotify’s library can be a bit daunting for those who want to find new music. Regardless, the company offers a wealth of useful tools for finding new topics.

Playlists like Release Radar, New Music Friday, and Discover Weekly offer great opportunities for subscribers to get hooked on new music. In fact, this show has 32 base genres to choose from – and at least 20 other selectable playlists – and other custom playlists, like Daily Mixes, are constantly added to the mix.

Discover Weekly in particular deserves many accolades. Added to your feed every Monday morning, this feature offers a two-hour playlist of personalized music recommendations based on your listening habits, as well as the habits of those who listen to similar artists.

Furthermore, these playlists are often filled with music you haven’t heard before, as well as selections from your favorite artists, thus expanding your music repertoire with a wide selection of songs.

Do you often listen to Black Keys? So your weekly playlist could include The Arcs, a side project by the band’s guitarist Dan Auerbach. In addition, Spotify gives you the opportunity to create, share and follow playlists of any kind – including those shared by friends – with a simple click, along with expertly selected playlists for any mood or genre.

As for Apple Music, when creating an account user have to select some of their favorite artists so that the service can have their tastes known. In addition, you can always re-point your tastes in the Account tab -accessible by pressing the icon in the upper right corner- and re-select your favorite genres and artists.

While this option is visually appealing (with some pink bubbles or balls on a white background, which is very “Apple-chic”), the style breaks with utility a bit. On mobile devices, in particular, these selections slowly obstruct the screen by bouncing off each other making it difficult to select more artists.

Fortunately, once the process is complete, Apple Music does a great job of putting together playlists.

Playlists can be based on some style, a particular artist, or even a specific activity like driving. Apple claims that the playlists are made by a “team of experts.” If so, these tastemakers do a good job of creating varied playlists that are both familiar and fresh.

Also, Spotify offers “expert” playlists, but selections for the Apple Music playlist come from Apple DJs.

Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio feature also plays an important role when it comes to discovering music. It’s entertaining to watch Apple move beyond sophisticated algorithms to facilitate music discovery, but Spotify also has its own magic wand, and its custom playlists are growing.

The truth is that Spotify’s playlists, especially Discover Weekly’s, give this service some advantage. Until Apple Music can compete with this algorithm-based approach, we give Spotify the victory.

Winner: Spotify

Radio

Possibly the area where Spotify lags a bit behind its competitors is radio. Based on our own personal tests, it does not offer the experience you would get in services like Pandora.

Artist choice Gary Clark Jr. on Spotify, for example, calls out similar artists like The Black Keys, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, though the service tends to focus primarily on the former’s own music.

While choosing a specific genre for a Spotify radio station allows for a wider selection of songs, the service also tends to focus on hits. It is true that it is a worthwhile experience, but it is somewhat limited.

In an age where automation is prioritized, Apple Music’s preference for the human touch really helps with radio programming. This philosophy is seen on Beats 1, the main Apple Music radio station that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

While DJs like Zane Lowe do an admirable job, the most intriguing shows on Beats 1 are those by notable musicians like Annie Clark, Q-Tip, and Ryan Adams. These shows provide listeners with a unique look at the tastes of the artists they admire.

Plus, with Beyond Beats 1, Apple Music offers a number of more generic radio stations for those who just want to listen to classic rock, jazz, or current hits. The BBC News and ESPN service are also available.

Winner: Apple Music

Podcasts

Although Apple Music and Spotify are mainly music platforms, podcasts have a space on them, because in the end, it is audio content. Spotify has been the fastest growing podcast host since the feature launched in 2015. In fact, it recently dethroned the former champion Apple. You’ll find tons of popular shows available, and there are enough engaging originals that podcasts alone can entice you to linger. The Spotify app handles this content wonderfully, with timers and playback speed controls available to aid your compulsive listening sessions.

Apple Music does not have any built-in functionality. Podcasts were split into their own app the moment Apple started breaking iTunes into little pieces, and that’s where they’ll stay for the foreseeable future.

Winner: Spotify

Subscription fee

Apple Music has a standard cost, that is, about $ 10 dollars a month, like Spotify Premium and Tidal Premium, Pandora’s on-demand service. Amazon Music Unlimited costs the same and $ 8 with an Amazon Prime subscription.

Apple originally hoped to hit its competitors by offering its service for $ 8, and even $ 5 a month, but that plan was blocked by major labels that own the vast majority of the company’s catalog.

To make an Apple Music or Spotify subscription a little more attractive, both companies offer special family packages that allow customers to add up to six individual accounts for a total of $ 15 a month.

If you are considering Apple Music, there is another way to save some money. Existing users can receive one year of service for $ 99. First, yes, you must subscribe to Apple Music (no matter what subscription you have). Afterward, you will need to go to your Subscriptions in the App Store application (accessed through your Apple ID at the bottom of the “Featured” tab) and select Apple Music. You should see an “Individual (1 year)” option for $ 99. Select it and you can save almost 20 percent.

Considering that Apple gives each potential subscriber three months of Apple Music for free, the service could be growing against Spotify more than CEO Daniel Ek would like to acknowledge. However, and this is key, Apple doesn’t have a free ad-based tier like Spotify, which is a big reason why the Swedish company was able to hook so many users in the first place.

Most Spotify users listen to their favorite songs for free, and that’s better than any three-month trial or one-year discounted subscription Apple can offer.

Winner: Spotify

User interface and mobile experience

Despite Apple’s predilection for minimalist design, Apple Music’s mobile interface was less intuitive. However, with later versions of iOS 10 and iOS 11, the cumbersome design became a more streamlined experience that music lovers should appreciate.

The library is now on the home page of the Music app. All content is accessible from this tab, and you can easily select from Playlists, Artists, Albums, Songs, and Downloaded Music.

When you tap on the For You or For You tab, several different custom options now appear. My New Music Mix and daily themed playlists offer even more ways to discover new songs, while the Browse or Navigation tab offers a way to explore popular music, videos and Apple exclusives.

Those looking for something specific can also use the Search tab, which allows you to quickly search through your personal library or Apple Music library.

Apple has also integrated Siri with Apple Music, allowing subscribers to issue voice commands through the iPhone or Mac computer. So if you ask Siri to play song number 1 from 2001, for example, it will start playing quickly. It’s an interesting feature that Android users won’t get since they don’t have access to Siri.

The Apple Music Android app is aesthetically different from the iOS version, as it hides its menu on the left side of the screen, as many Android apps do.

If users need to navigate, they can view the menu as a drawer. This keeps the design clean and makes good use of your phone’s limited real estate. Although Apple Music is available for iOS and Android, Apple Music works best on iOS, especially with the Siri feature added. Spotify, on the other hand, is more device-independent.

Spotify has long been the industry’s leading platform in terms of ease of use. Desktop and mobile apps provide users with an easy way to browse music, access playlists, listen to Internet radio, and discover new music. The program’s navigation bar, which is divided into three separate sections: Main, Your Music, and Playlists run on the left side.

Each section features its own set of simple subcategories, giving users easy access to the many features of the service. The search window actively fills in the results field, just like the Google search engine, and often provides exactly what you’re looking for after typing a few characters.

Speaking of external integration, Spotify also supports Amazon’s Echo ecosystem, allowing subscribers to play songs on the company’s smart home systems with simple Alexa voice commands like “play Ryan Adams songs.”

Spotify even offers integration with Google Cast, which is especially useful for those who like Google streaming devices like Chromecast, allowing a quick and easy way to stream music from your home theater system.

Also, Apple Music has its own speaker/speaker, the HomePod. In addition to being able to stream through this speaker, leading companies like Bose, Bang & Olufsen, Denon, McIntosh, and Polk also make their speakers available on the Apple platform, and Apple TV users can also integrate Apple Music playback. on their biggest screens.

Winner: Spotify

Social characteristics

Spotify’s social features allow subscribers to follow friends, see what they hear and who they follow. It also offers users the ability to share or recommend playlists, as well as offering users the ability to post their listening history on Facebook, giving friends the opportunity to comment on their music activity or tastes.

While these features give Spotify some social clout, we’d like the service to add a simple system for chatting with whoever follows you. It has also removed the Inbox / Messages feature, which allowed users to send private messages within the app, something the company said most users simply didn’t use and was too expensive to maintain.

Apple Music’s main social feature comes from what it calls the Connect feature, which brings artists and fans together and effectively serves as a full access pass to your favorite bands. From backstage photos to the first cuts of an upcoming music video, artists have the ability to share a wealth of exclusive information with their fans. Apple also allows users the ability to comment on or share messages from any artist, plus the ability for the artist to reply again. Additionally, these messages can be shared on Facebook and Twitter, along with individual songs and albums.

However, while Connect is an interesting feature, other social aspects are missed in Apple Music. Even without messages, Spotify’s strong Social Media integration, as well as the ability to see what friends and followers are listening to, gives the service some edge.

Winner: Spotify

Training modes

Many people listen to music while playing sports, and one of the most intriguing features of the Spotify mobile app is its ability to provide a playlist tailored to user speed.

Users can choose from a variety of playlists, classified by the environment (cold weather, night), by genre, or even popularity.

And there are also the Running Originals, original music playlists composed by artists like Ellie Goulding and Tiësto.

On smartphones with the appropriate sensors, Spotify will also automatically estimate how fast a user runs or sports and selects a playlist with the corresponding time.

For phones that lack the necessary sensors, users can manually enter the tempo they want (based on steps per minute). During use, Spotify cuts some parts of the songs, allowing the rhythm to be kept constant, although it can be somewhat annoying or shocking for music purists.

However, Spotify Running is far from perfect. The music selection can be a bit puzzling with the introduction of a ballad that doesn’t seem like the best option for exercising. Running’s biggest weakness is that streaming quality can vary dramatically depending on your connection. That said, it is a unique feature for Spotify and a very good option for people who don’t want to plan a specific music session or edit songs to suit their workouts.

Apple Music, on the other hand, does not have a dedicated exercise function, so Spotify wins again in this regard.

Winner: Spotify

Offline downloads

Apple Music allows you to download music on 10 different devices, with no real limit on how much you can download. Technically, the upper limit is 100,000 songs, but that number would be hard to reach unless you literally download every album you see on screen. Even after making the total number of offline downloads up to 10,000 (up to 3,333) and five devices (up to three), Spotify lags behind in this area.

Winner: Apple Music

Our verdict?

Spotify wins. While Apple Music has made some serious strides, Spotify remains king in this market. Its user interface is accessible, ordered, and simplifies the management of playlists. Your new options reveal new playlists, especially Discover Weekly, and it’s also free for those who can’t commit yet. The catalog is bigger on Apple Music (although it is not very clear) and exclusive releases and features like Beats 1 radio make this platform a serious competitor. But for now, Spotify still dominates.

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