Spotify vs Apple Music? You will find the pros and cons of each streaming service here so you can decide what’s the best for you
If you had to choose between Spotify and Apple Music, which would be better? Despite being only seven years old, Apple Music has quickly transformed itself into a major streaming player thanks to its huge resources. Spotify has been many people’s default music player for years, but Apple Music has quickly become the most popular streaming service in the world.
The Apple Music app might seem only for those connected to their Mac, iPhone, or iPad, but that’s not the case. Although Apple’s streaming platform is open to all, can it match up to Spotify, one of the biggest names in music streaming? Let’s take a closer look.
SPOTIFY VS APPLE MUSIC: PRICING
|Starting Price||$9.99 per month||Free|
|Price for offline mode, no ads||$9.99 per month||$9.99 per month
|Student Price||$4.99 per month||$4.99 per month
|'Duo' Household||-||$12.99 per month, 2 accounts
|Family Package||$14.99 per month, 6 accounts||$15.99 per month, 6 accounts
|Annual Plan||$99 per year||$99 per year
|Exclusives||Works with Siri on the HomePod/HomePod mini; Apple Music 1 Radio; Cloud music locker; spatial audio||Available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One; Spotify Studios podcasts
Almost all paid subscribers pay the same amount. It costs $9.99 per month for Apple Music and $4.99 for Spotify, but you can get a discount if you pay $99.99 upfront for a year, which brings the price down to $8.33.
Apple charges $14.99 and Spotify charges $15.99, respectively, for their family plans, which can accommodate up to six accounts.
With a price starting at $14.95 per month, Apple One accounts combine Apple Music with other Apple services such as Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, Apple News Plus, and Apple Fitness Plus.
Those are Apple Music’s options, however Spotify offers two more that might be of interest. With a ‘Duo’ subscription, you’ll get a deal that’s specifically targeted at couples. It works similarly to what you would expect, but it has an added bonus that partners’ top songs are pooled to create a playlist they can share.
There is a free version of Spotify as well, but the free version is rather stifling, with limitations designed to entice users to upgrade. Moreover, you can only choose a limited number of songs and are limited in skipping, the sound quality is bad, and there are frequent ad breaks. Even so, the low price of ‘free’ cannot be disputed.
Apple Music vs. Spotify: Social media
Spotify’s social sharing features are one of its best strengths. The Spotify app makes it easy to share Spotify content on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and other messaging platforms, by using links and scannable, QR-like Spotify Codes that your friends can use to access the song and playlist.
With Apple Music, you can share playlists with other registered users via AirDrop, or create content links that you can post on your social media profile. In most cases, this won’t be an issue if you don’t mind sharing your listening habits.
SPOTIFY VS APPLE MUSIC: LIBRARIES
I don’t think there is anything to worry about in either library. According to Apple Music, its library has “over 90 million” tracks, while Spotify said it had “more than 70 million” last February.
Has Apple Music won? Perhaps, but it is unlikely, since reports suggest that Spotify adds 60,000 songs every day, which means that it will have narrowed the gap between last year and now.
I would say that unless your tastes are very obscure, both catalogs will have everything you want. However, if you’re a fan of Neil Young or Joni Mitchell, you’ll want to select Apple Music over Spotify, since both artists are protesting the podcasting service’s business model
Apple Music had initially attempted to attract customers through exclusive tracks and albums, but has since moved away from this strategy. According to former Apple executive Jimmy Iovine in 2017, “the labels seem to not like it and ultimately it’s their content.”
SPOTIFY VS APPLE MUSIC: SOUND QUALITY
Recently, Spotify has lost ground to its competitors in terms of sound quality. Paid subscriptions give users access to “very high” quality, meaning 320kbps, whereas free tiers don’t. As of now, Spotify isn’t lossless, but the company intends to release Spotify HiFi to make this correction at some point.
The clear winner is Apple Music for now. Standard streaming quality for Apple Music is 256kbps, but it also offers lossless audio with varying sampling rates between 16-bit/44.1kHz and 24-bit/192kHz. Furthermore, it has Spatial Audio support, which makes tracks sound more immersive, like you could hear them live.
The difference is obvious for audiophiles, but even if you are an audiophile, you must have the proper hardware. Apple’s AirPods Max headphones won’t support Lossless wirelessly, and even its high-end Bluetooth headphones won’t support it.
Apple Music vs. Spotify: Design
As of iOS 10, Apple Music’s design is similar to Spotify in many ways. The UI for both apps is almost tile-like, with large images on the screen and a navigation bar at the bottom to access your music library or respective search engine.
It’s really just an issue of aesthetics. In contrast, Spotify’s dark black/gray color scheme is accompanied by bright green flashes. Apple Music wears a light, bright and white look.
SPOTIFY VS APPLE MUSIC: CONNECTIVITY
Despite the name, you might think Apple Music is only for iPhones and Macs, but they’ve wisely decided that winning the streaming war also means opening the doors to Android and PC users as well. Consequently, there are apps for iOS, Android, Mac and PC, in addition to an online library that can be accessed through a web browser. It doesn’t appear that Apple is resting on its laurels, as the company recently released a PS5 app, too.
Apple TV, Apple Watch, and HomePod are all great if you’re in the Apple ecosystem. This feature is particularly useful on the latter, since you can either send audio or simply ask Siri to play tracks (or even ask esoteric questions like “Siri, who plays the drums on this track?”). However, Amazon Echo users have the option of switching to Apple Music if they want to combine their hardware manufacturers.However, Amazon Echo users have the option of switching to Apple Music if they want to combine their hardware manufacturers.
Although all of this is impressive, it isn’t (yet) on par with Spotify, the streaming music service which has been synonymous with streaming music for more than a decade. This makes it compatible with almost anything, from Xbox games to smart TVs, as well as Google’s Nest Audio speakers built right in.
One of the best features is an app called Spotify Connect that lets you move your music from one device to another while still controlling it with the first. Thus, while listening to music on your PC, you could choose your kitchen speaker from the Spotify Connect bar and control the selection from your desktop.
Apple Music vs. Spotify: Scorecard
SPOTIFY VS APPLE MUSIC: OTHER THINGS TO NOTE
With the acquisition of Gimlet, Parcast, The Ringer, and The Joe Rogan Experience, Spotify is expanding into podcasts outside of music. Podcasts, on the other hand, are separate apps from Apple Music, so they are not bound by the subscription fee.
Although there are pros and cons to this, it is important to consider that Spotify’s UI promotes podcasts quite aggressively without giving users the option to opt out.
One of Apple Music’s greatest selling points is something Apple is strangely reticent about promoting: iCloud Music Library
Subscription members can access music on their iCloud account just like other streaming music, which is a great way to fill any gaps in the catalogue.
In theory, Spotify also lets users play their own MP3s in the app, but it’s always worked badly and if it did, you’d need a copy of every song on every device, so it’s not a particularly efficient solution.
Both services let you create playlists and both deliver very good recommendations based on your listening history. Besides that, there is very little difference between the services.
SPOTIFY VS APPLE MUSIC: Conclusion
There are pros and cons to each service, just as there are in the Spotify vs Amazon Music battle. The sound quality of Apple Music is better and very useful for those fully immersed in the Apple ecosystem, but Spotify wins due to its connectivity and podcasts.
Both services offer impressive libraries, however Apple Music may have the advantage when it comes to expanding its portfolio through iCloud Music Library.
In the end, it would probably be best to get a free trial of both and see which fits your specific needs best.