April 18, 2024

Coke-Pepsi, McDonald’s-Burger King — these are among the world’s greatest rivalries (it should be lunch time). However in terms of music streaming companies, there’s maybe been no larger rivalry that Apple Music and Spotify, and selecting between them isn’t any imply feat. Spotify at present has over 210 million paying subscribers worldwide (44.4 million within the U.S.) and affords a free tier possibility in addition to tried and true music-sharing and discovery expertise. Apple Music was as soon as the chief in all issues digital music, however is at present behind Spotify with an estimated 88 million customers worldwide as of June 2022 and 32.6 million in the usas of February 2023. Apple’s Music is understood for its high-profile exclusives, strong library, curated radio, and seamless integration with iOS.

The competitors between these two companies has helped the recording business attain file heights for digital income, and the query of which music streaming service is healthier has develop into more and more powerful to reply. We’re right here to settle the rating. Be part of us beneath to see which of those juggernaut music-streaming companies is best for you.

Spotify Music

Apple Music

Music library

A person holds an iPhone 11 with the Apple Music app open.

Apple

Spotify is house to greater than 100 million songs and 5 million podcasts, extra music than your ears would even know what to do with. The Swedish streaming service additionally brings all the most recent releases, unique stay periods, and varied new singles proper to its New Releases tab every Friday, in addition to the Launch Radar playlist.

Apple’s service additionally touts greater than 100 million songs, with this measurement of library changing into extra widespread amongst streaming companies lately. Nevertheless, Apple has taken steps to safe many extra exclusives than the competitors, largely as a result of it doesn’t provide a free tier.

There’s one other space the place Apple Music has a leg up on its competitors: integration of the iTunes library. Any music you may have — whether or not beforehand bought through the iTunes Retailer, ripped from a bodily CD, or uploaded to iTunes Match — will seem in your Apple Music library, supplying you with the choice to freely browse your individual music alongside Apple’s normal catalog. Spotify affords an identical perform, relegating your native music recordsdata to a separate tab, however you’ll be able to’t entry your native music through broad searches as you’ll be able to with Apple Music.

Part winner: Apple Music

Apple Music

Audio high quality

Man wearing Apple AirPods Pro 2.

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

We additionally want to debate the audio high quality that comes with streaming songs on each companies. For Spotify, the free model of the software program streams at AAC 128Kbps through the net participant. Obtain the Spotify app for desktop, cell, or pill and it’ll alter streaming high quality based mostly in your connection, wherever from 24Kbps to 160Kbps.

Improve to Premium, and that enhances high quality as much as AAC 256Kbps on the net participant, and on the apps you will get 4 high quality ranges maxing out at 320Kbps. Spotify’s promised lossless tier of service remains to be nowhere to be discovered.

Apple, then again, has made important strides in offering free audio high quality upgrades for all subscribers. Your entire 100 million Apple Music songs are actually obtainable in lossless audio. Apple makes use of ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec), so the music stays true to the unique audio file. There are a number of tiers of lossless audio obtainable, beginning with CD high quality, 16-bit at 44.1kHz, and going as much as 24-bit at 48kHz. There’s additionally a hi-resolution lossless format all the way in which as much as 24-bit at 192kHz. Moreover, final yr, Apple made a variety of its library obtainable in its surround-sound spatial audio format. Enabled by Dolby Atmos coding, spatial audio offers music further depth, additional compatibility with dynamic head-tracking, and different benefits which have include the most recent iOS updates. It is also actually nice by way of your Apple TV.

Part winner: Apple Music

Apple Music

Music discovery

An iPhone with the Search section of the Spotify app on it.

Derek Malcolm / Digital Tendencies

With so many songs on the prepared, streaming libraries can appear daunting for many who wish to discover new music. Let’s check out how the large gamers do it.

Spotify

Spotify gives a variety of helpful instruments for locating new songs to fit your style. Personalised playlists like Uncover Weekly present improbable alternatives for subscribers to latch on to new music from artists they by no means stumbled throughout on their very own. The deep effectively of base genres to select from makes new music ripe for the choosing, and listeners can personalize playlists just by liking particular songs as they hear. Whereas Spotify recommends ongoing playlists and channels to new customers, together with editor-curated playlists for particular tastes, these options are rather more restricted totally free customers.

Uncover Weekly, particularly, deserves excessive reward within the streaming world. Added to your feed each Monday morning, the function delivers a two-hour playlist of customized music suggestions based mostly in your listening habits, in addition to the habits of those that hearken to related artists.

Spotify additionally offers you the prospect to create, share, and observe playlists of any type — together with these shared by associates — with a easy click on, together with expertly curated playlists for any temper or style you’re into to maintain issues recent. There’s even a Collaborative Playlist function that allows you to create playlists with your folks that you may all add to and edit.

Spotify is all the time including new options to assist with discovery, together with its DJ function, which is an AI-generated radio station based mostly in your listening habits that’s hosted by a digital DJ voiced by Xavier “X” Jernigan, Spotify’s head of cultural partnerships.

Apple Music

As for Apple Music, upon creating an account, customers are prompted to pick out a few of their favourite artists so the service can get a way of their tastes. A Hear Now part recommends quite a lot of music based mostly in your listening historical past and different actions, together with music despatched to you from your folks through the Messages app, all organized within the Shared With You tab. These options and extra make Apple Music an important possibility for getting suggestions.

Fortunately, as soon as the method is full, Apple Music does an important job of curating playlists to enchantment to your preferences, so you’ll be able to vibe out by way of your headphones. Playlists is perhaps based mostly on style, artist, or perhaps a specific exercise like driving. Apple claims the playlists are curated by a “staff of specialists.” This cabal of tastemakers — whoever they’re — do an excellent job creating various playlists which are directly acquainted but recent, like a mixtape you would possibly get from a good friend.

Apple Music’s Apple Music 1 perform, which affords stay radio 24 hours a day, additionally performs a significant position in terms of music discovery. It’s refreshing to see Apple transfer past refined algorithms for a human method to facilitating true music discovery.

New to Apple Music in 2023 has been the launch of its Apple Music Classical service. Out there for gratis to Apple Music subscribers (besides to these on the Voice plan), it is a separate app you’ll be able to obtain that Apple says affords “the world’s largest classical music catalog” of greater than 5 million classical tracks.

Nonetheless, Spotify’s hands-off playlists and curated playlists, together with its improbable Uncover Weekly and Launch Radar section, give it the sting. Till Apple Music can compete with this algorithm-based method, we’ll give Spotify the win.

Part winner: Spotify Music

Spotify Music

Radio

The Apple Music 1 page.

Picture used with permission by copyright holder

Within the app, Spotify did away with the Radio tab of the previous however now has an choice to create a radio mode for any particular artist, album, playlist, or tune. Merely go to the Three-dot menu icon, and select Go to radio to create one. These radio “stations” may also be saved within the library as playlists.

There’s additionally assisted playlist creation for a extra customized possibility than full radio mode. Say, for instance, you needed to create a playlist to accompany you in your morning exercises. Utilizing assisted playlisting, Spotify will use the title you’ve given the playlist (like “Exercise”) and pull from ideas based mostly in your previous listening historical past, in addition to suggestions based mostly on songs others have added to their very own related playlists. You’ll be able to proceed to fill your playlists with tracks, or Spotify can autofill them when you’ve chosen a number of to begin with. Customers are additionally capable of search and preview songs earlier than including them to a playlist.

In an age that prioritizes automation, Apple Music’s choice for the human contact helps with radio-style programming. This philosophy is embodied in Apple Music 1, Apple Music’s premier radio station that runs nonstop music blended by DJs on stay radio reveals.

Essentially the most intriguing reveals on Apple Music 1 are these hosted by notable musicians reminiscent of Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Haim, and Q-Tip (A Tribe Referred to as Quest). These reveals present listeners with a singular look into the tastes of artists they admire.

Past Apple Music 1, Apple Music has some extra generic radio stations for many who merely wish to hearken to, say, traditional rock, jazz, or Prime 40 hits. There are additionally non-music stations, reminiscent of BBC Information and ESPN, making a menagerie of choices which are onerous to beat.

Part winner: Apple Music

Apple Music

Podcasts

Though Apple Music and Spotify are primarily music apps, podcasts have a pure house on audio platforms. Spotify has been the fastest-growing podcast vacation spot since launching the function in 2015. Actually, Spotify at present boasts probably the most podcasts of any service, providing 5 million as of 2022’s fourth quarter.

You’ll discover tons of well-liked applications, and there are sufficient compelling originals that podcasts alone might entice you to remain. The Spotify app handles the duty superbly, with timers and playback pace controls obtainable to help your binge-listening periods.

Apple Music doesn’t have any such performance built-in. Podcasts had been break up off into their very own app proper across the time Apple began breaking iTunes into little bits and items, and that’s the place they’ll keep for the foreseeable future.

Part winner: Spotify Music

Spotify Music

How a lot are they?

Spotify on an iPhone with the buy Spotify Premium page.

Picture used with permission by copyright holder

As of July 2023, Spotify elevated the value of all of its service tiers. The Spotify Premium Particular person service now prices $11 per 30 days and is now on par with Apple Music.

Proper now, new subscribers get Apple Music free for one month. Apple Music additionally affords a Household plan for $17 with entry for as much as six folks. Spotify additionally has a Duo plan for $15 for a pair subscribing collectively and a Household plan for $17 that gives as much as six accounts together with Spotify Youngsters and parental controls.

There’s one other method to avoid wasting money on each companies — scholar plans. New customers with an relevant scholar electronic mail can get a reduced month-to-month subscription of simply $6. Each add a bit extra for that cut price, with Spotify providing college students ad-supported Hulu entry with Showtime, whereas Apple will hook the studious up with Apple TV+.

Apple doesn’t have a free, ad-based tier like Spotify. Nearly all of Spotify’s customers hear totally free, they usually can nonetheless play songs on-demand so long as they’re prepared to place up with advertisements (unskippable on the app however might be muted on the net app) – with some additional limitations for cell units. To not point out, new Spotify customers can at present nab one month of Premium totally free.

Part winner: Spotify Music

Spotify Music

Consumer interface and cell expertise

An iPhone with Spotify open showing how to add a song to a playlist.

Picture used with permission by copyright holder

Apple Music’s cell interface is minimalist and simple to make use of. The Library comprises all of the music you personal and might be accessed on this tab, and you may simply filter by Playlists, Artists, Albums, Songs, and Downloaded music, simply in case you don’t wish to waste your treasured cell information.

Tapping on the Hear Now tab now brings up a number of completely different customized choices. The Prime Picks and the every day themed playlists present much more methods to find new tunes, whereas the Browse tab offers you an avenue to discover well-liked music, movies, and Apple exclusives. The Radio tab offers customers entry to tons of of Apple-curated music stations, damaged up by style, artist, and host. These on the lookout for one thing particular can use the Search tab, which lets you shortly search by way of both your private library or the Apple Music library.

Apple has additionally built-in Siri with Apple Music, permitting subscribers to challenge voice instructions by way of their Apple TV, iPhone, or Mac. It’s a cool function that Android customers received’t get, as they don’t have entry to Siri. Moreover, Apple’s Sing function provides some enjoyable to the app, permitting customers to show their units right into a veritable karaoke machine that strips the vocals out of choose tracks so you’ll be able to sing over it.

The Android model of Apple Music is just about the identical because the iOS model, though it really works finest on iOS, particularly with the added Siri performance.

Spotify, then again, is extra device-agnostic and has lengthy been the business chief when it comes to sheer usability. The cell and desktop purposes present customers with a simple technique to browse music, entry playlists, hearken to web radio, and uncover new music.

On cell, all of your bidding is finished inside three tabs — House, Search, and Your Library. Every part options its personal set of simple subcategories, which provides customers easy accessibility to the service’s many options. The search window actively populates the outcomes discipline, very similar to Google’s search engine, usually offering precisely what you’re on the lookout for after typing only a few characters. Spotify additionally has middling help for voice activation by way of units just like the Amazon Echo or Google House.

In March of 2023, Spotify carried out its first redesign in a decade, including new discovery options and a brand new scrolling, image-heavy, interactive visible look paying homage to TikTok and Instagram.

For these allergic to apps, Spotify has lengthy supplied an online participant that, whereas not fairly as intuitive because the native desktop app, affords fast, light-weight entry. Apple has adopted swimsuit with an online participant of its personal in beta. Each have the choice to show the lyrics of the tune enjoying.

Apple Music affords one of the vital spectacular music companies round, however you must be all-in on Apple’s smartphones, tablets, computer systems, and streaming containers to get probably the most out of it. We give Spotify the sting right here for its clear and simple consumer expertise, ubiquity, and elevated availability of third-party integrations.

Part winner: Spotify Music

Spotify Music

Social options

Spotify’s social features permit subscribers to observe associates (for those who’re each on Fb and join your Spotify accounts) and see what they hearken to and who they observe. It additionally offers customers the flexibility to share or advocate playlists, together with the flexibility to publish their listening historical past to Fb, which then permits their Fb associates to love or touch upon the exercise. Add to that the Collaborative Playlist function through which you and your folks can add to and edit playlists, and Spotify’s social options are fairly strong.

Apple Music’s social performance is few and much between and contains the flexibility to see what your folks are listening to and simple playlist sharing.

Even with out messaging, Spotify’s stable social media integration, in addition to the flexibility to see what associates and followers are listening to, offers the service the higher hand.

Part winner: Spotify Music

Spotify Music

Exercise modes

Music controls on the Apple Watch Series 7.

Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Many individuals hearken to music whereas operating, and each Apple Music and Spotify are loaded with workout-themed playlists.

Spotify used to have built-in exercise features however has since offloaded a few of these options to different apps. For instance, on smartphones with the suitable sensors, Spotify can be utilized together with operating apps reminiscent of Runkeeper to robotically choose a playlist that matches the consumer’s operating tempo. The combination is a welcome one for individuals who don’t wish to plan out their music choice earlier than they hit the observe — although it’s a disgrace the performance is not natively supported in-app.

For Apple Music subscribers, there’s Apple Health+, which makes use of information from a consumer’s Collection 3 (or later) Apple Watch to create custom-made exercise routines and exercise playlists that may be listened to in Apple Music. Apple Music customers can use the Search tab to search out some motivational Apple Health+ playlists. With Apple Health+ Studio Collection, customers may even seek for exercise tunes based mostly on the kind of train they’re launching into. Every part from meditative music for yoga to bop and digital music for rowing and kickboxing is out there.

Part winner: Apple Music

Apple Music

Offline downloads

Apple Music permits you to obtain music for offline playback throughout 10 completely different units directly, with a most of 100,000 songs. Spotify lags on this space, with its restriction sitting at 10,000 songs on as much as 5 units.

Part winner: Apple Music

Apple Music

Total winner

Spotify Music

Spotify is the winner right here. Whereas Apple Music has made some severe strides, Spotify nonetheless reigns supreme. Its consumer interface is accessible and uncluttered, making playlist administration easy. Its music discovery playlists, particularly Uncover Weekly, hold it brilliantly recent, and it’s additionally free for many who can’t but commit. Apple Music’s bigger catalog, unique releases, human-curated playlists, and options like Apple Music 1 make it a severe contender. Relying on what options are essential to you, you could select otherwise, however for now, Spotify nonetheless has the sting through which music streaming service is healthier.

Full Specs

Spotify Music

Apple Music

Duo $15 per 30 days N/A
Household $17 per 30 days $17 per 30 days
Particular person $11 per 30 days $11 per 30 days
Scholar $6 per 30 days $6 per 30 days

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