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Spotify vs Apple Music: Which Music Streaming Service Is Better

by Parth
apple music vs spotify

The music streaming market is on the rise. Gone are the days when we used to rely on the web to download music for offline listening. Music services such as Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, and Amazon Music have taken the market by storm. Among them, Spotify is currently the market leader by a good margin. On the other hand, Apple Music comes by default on millions of iPhones, giving it a significant advantage over the rivals. If you are getting confused between the two, then read along to find all the differences.

Spotify vs Apple Music

The comparison will be based on cross-platform availability, UI, features, listening experience, sharing, price, and more. Let’s get started. 

Cross-Platform Availability

Cross-platform availability plays a major role in music streaming services. You have paid for a music subscription and you would want to use it on every device you own. Spotify wins this round comfortably.

Spotify is available on desktop, mobile, and web. You can access Spotify on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Apple Watch, Galaxy Wear, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Google Chromecast. Unfortunately, Spotify doesn’t support Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick yet.

Apple Music is accessible on Android, iOS, Mac, Apple Watch, and its HomePod smart speaker.

User Interface

Spotify has nailed this one. The app features a beautiful and fluid UI with gradient touches here and there. Based on the selected album or song, Spotify changes the gradient color to set the mood. 

I have seen many users sticking with Spotify just for the beautiful interface. The app uses standard bottom tabs to navigate options.

spotify home

Spotify recently overhauled the Your Library menu. Now it’s easy to distinguish among Albums, Playlists, and Podcasts. 

Apple Music is straightforward with iOS guidelines. It uses a white theme by default and supports the dark mode in iOS 14.

apple music home

All the major options such as Library, Browser, Search, etc. are at the bottom. My biggest gripe with Apple Music is how the company has buried the Music settings into the device Settings app. 

Song Suggestions

Every music streaming service out there is focusing on better recommendations and auto-playlists. Spotify and Apple Music are no different here.

Spotify is known for superior song recommendations in the industry. Simply select your song preferences and artists and be ready to get blown away by Spotify’s song suggestions. 

spotify suggestions

Apple Music straight away asks you to choose the music interests during the startup. Now, from the app, head to ‘For You’ section, and it will suggest the playlists, songs, and new music based on interests.

apple music suggestions

The Browser menu lets you discover new songs and albums based on languages. It is a vertical mix of banners, playlists, and songs in a single menu.

As for actual content, I found Spotify to have a much better collection of English music compared to Apple Music. Of course, it varies depending upon the region. A lot of will also depend on personal tastes and preferences so it is subjective in nature.

Listening Experience

Both Apple Music and Spotify offer high 320 kbit/s music quality. However, the default download settings on Spotify are set at Normal (96 kbit/s). You should change that to ‘Very High’ from the Settings.

Spotify’s player screen is nicely laid out with big buttons that are easy to read and recognize. Spotify also offers a redesigned player screen when your phone is connected to the car Bluetooth. It features a minimalistic design with big icons that help you get the job done while driving.

spotify player

Spotify also offers Lyrics support for both regional and English music. 

Apple Music opts for a fairly simple player UI with minimum functions at the bottom. Due to the closed nature of the Apple ecosystem, the casting functionality only works with Apple devices such as Apple TV and HomePod speaker.

apple music player

Special Features

Spotify offers Podcasts along with Music. If you are someone who listens to podcasts regularly and doesn’t want a separate app for that, then go with Spotify. The podcast experience is only going to get better with Spotify’s aggressive push in the industry.

Spotify also offers a Group listening experience. You can create a group, ask your friend to start a song and everyone can enjoy the same song on their devices. 

spotify functions

The list of functions includes gapless playback, data saver mode, built-in equalizer, social integration, and more. Sadly, there is no way to download a single song from an album. You can either download the whole album or add the song to a playlist in the downloads section.

Apple Music, being a built-in service, takes advantage of other Apple services. It supports Siri shortcuts, has radio integration, automatic downloads, the ability to set volume limits, and more.

apple music functions

Using Shazam, which is now owned by Apple, you can easily identify songs playing in your surroundings and open it in the Apple Music app. 

Price

Spotify offers three plans. Premium individual costs $10 per month. The Student plan is 50% off at $5 per month, and the Family plan starts at $30 per month, which lets you add five more members. The added functionalities include an ad-free experience, high music quality, and unlimited downloads. These prices are for the US region and may vary in different countries.

Apple Music is free for the first three months. After that, it costs $10/month for a personal plan and $15/month for the family plan, which lets you add up to five more people into the group.

Apple has also introduced Apple One plans that offer Apple Music along with Apple TV, Apple Fitness, and iCloud storage. 

Wrap Up: Spotify vs Apple Music Streaming Service

Still getting confused between the two? Let me simplify the answer for you. Go with Apple Music if you are heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem. Spotify marches ahead with better cross-platform availability, features, and UI.

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