Listening to music is pretty much the only way to stream apps these days. Soundcloud, Amazon Music, and even Pandora are all apps that offer a well-rounded selection of music, but the two most popular, in my opinion, are Spotify and Apple Music.
This begs the question: which app is the better option?
Starting with the pricing, both Apple Music and Spotify Premium share the same price of $9.99 per month, making them the same price for ad-free listening. But Spotify also offers a free version while Apple Music doesn’t. And although the features of the free version of Spotify are far more limited, the option is available.
Spotify also offers a shared “Duo” subscription plan for $12.99 per month for two accounts, a plan Apple Music doesn’t offer. Also, Spotify’s student plan is a dollar cheaper than Apple Music’s; $4.99 per month vs. $5.99 per month.
However, Apple Music offers a family plan for $14.99 for 6 accounts, while Spotify offers the same deal for $15.99. All in all, I believe Spotify wins this round as they have a wider choice of payment plans.
While the layout can be considered too subjective to compare the two, I believe it can make or break an app.
When you open the Spotify app, there are three tabs at the bottom: “Home”, “Search” and “Your Library”. The home screen greets you with content revolving around you, the user. Be it your “Recently Played”, your “Top Mixes” or the “Made For” section which curates music for your own listening activity. It’s only after you’ve scrolled past these sections that you’ll get more recommendations from the app’s pre-built playlists.
Then there is the search section, which shows different genres, radio stations, curated playlists, charts, podcasts, audiobooks, live events, etc. You can then go to your library where you will find your personal playlists along with your favorite playlists. Liked songs and podcasts, and the profiles of artists you follow. Apple Music’s layout is formatted slightly differently.
When you open Apple Music, there are five tabs at the bottom: Listen Now, Browse, Radio, Library, and Search. Under “Listen Now” you will first find your “Top Tips” from the app, then you will see your “Last Played”. After an onslaught of playlists and radio recommendations, you’ll find a section showing what your friends have been listening to along with friend recommendations.
The Browse tab highlights new music releases, artist interviews, ready-made mood playlists, charts, and other discovery recommendations. True to its name, the Radio section offers radio stations for different artists and genres, as well as more exclusive shows and artist interviews. The “Library” and “Search” sections are practically the same as Spotify’s, with the Library presenting personal and playlists, songs, albums, etc. The search engine again shows different genres and moods, without audio books and podcasts. The two layouts might be different, but both offer the user more than enough music selection and options.
That being said, I personally prefer the Spotify layout as the bottom three tabs make it easier to navigate and less cluttered on each page.
In recent years, music artists have spoken louder about the amounts of money they’re getting from music apps. Comparing the two, the differences between Spotify and Apple Music became clear.
Sorry Spotify users, but Apple Music wins this category by a landslide victory. Apple Music claims they pay an average of $0.01 per play, while Spotify stays flat at $0.0033 to $0.0054 per play. The difference is big, and Apple Music is the better option in that sense.
When it comes to music options and availability, there’s actually a big difference between the two streaming apps. This is another category that Apple Music easily takes on.
Currently, Spotify has a library of around 70 million songs, fewer than Apple Music’s 90 million songs. Spotify offers exclusives like their “Spotify Singles,” where artists either re-record a new version of one of their songs or record a cover by another artist, but that doesn’t mean Apple Music doesn’t have exclusive content of its own too. All in all, Apple Music offers more availability in terms of music.
However, socially, Spotify easily wins over Apple Music. Spotify is currently the only app between the two that supports collaborative playlists. Spotify also has the “Blend” feature, which allows you to invite up to 10 friends to a unique, daily updated playlist created by Spotify’s algorithm. And of course, who can forget the magical week of December when everyone you know is posting their Spotify Wrapped on their Instagram story? Although Apple Music tried to replicate this with their own year-end rewind, nothing could top Spotify’s advantages in the social category.
Apple Music and Spotify are the top two music streaming apps for a reason, and you can’t go wrong with either service. But if you need a definitive answer between the two, I’d lean towards Spotify. They offer more pricing options, an easy-to-navigate layout, podcast and audiobook options, and well-rounded social features. Apple Music might have its advantages at times, but Spotify seems to be the superior music streaming service.