Spotify or Apple Music? We'll Help you Decide
BATTLE OF THE MUSIC STREAMING SERVICES
Whether you use Apple Music or Spotify, you can stream millions of songs on demand to your iPhone. However, not all music streaming services are created equal. Here, iPhone Life CEO and publisher David Averbach and feature writer Conner Carey go to battle to determine which service offers the best set of features and user experience.
CHOOSING A SERVICE
Conner: I worked at iPhone Life when Apple Music debuted, so I originally got it to write tips, but—
David: I see. So you had to get it. Interesting.
Conner: But as it's improved, I fell in love.
David: I started using Spotify years before Apple Music came out. One of the core advantages of Spotify is that it has so many years of development experience over Apple. Apple's catching up; but in my opinion, Spotify has stayed consistently ahead as far as features go.
Conner: I really like Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio. I like being able to store music in iCloud or on my device. In terms of music discovery, I love the weekly playlist I get based on what I regularly listen to (Spotify has its own version of this). Apple Music is right on. I download at least 75 percent of the songs.
David: Spotify does a great job with discoverability. Both platforms have an insane amount of music. So much so that when you log in, you don't really know what to do. For a long time, Spotify has had a feature called Discover Weekly. It analyzes all of your music as well as people who listen to similar music and uses really advanced machine learning to come up with 30 recommendations for you each week. Spotify also has something called Release Radar that sends you a playlist every Friday of new music from your favorite artists. And you don't have to tell Spotify who your favorite artists are. It just knows from your listening habits. Apple has come out with something similar, but it consistently hasn't been reviewed as well.
“I’VE DISCOVERED SO MANY NEW BANDS AND NEW MUSIC IN GENRES THAT I LIKE BECAUSE OF SPOTIFY’S DISCOVERABILITY FEATURES.” -DAVID
“SPOTIFY CAN’T COMPETE WITH THE FACT THAT APPLE MAKES APPLE MUSIC, SO IT HAS INTEGRATIONS THAT SPOTIFY JUST DOESN’T HAVE.” -CONNER
Conner: A big draw of Apple Music is that it's part of Apple's ecosystem. That means you can use it seamlessly with Siri, the Apple Watch Series 3 with Cellular, the HomePod, or a CarPlay system like the one I have in my car. No headaches there. I like that. Also, I already had a bunch of iTunes music, so it was really easy to transfer when I joined Apple Music.
David: I love how in general Spotify has a huge variety of playlists. Spotify makes them, but it's really the users that make a huge number of playlists that they make public. Also, Spotify's social features are better. You can see really quickly what your friends are listening to and collaborate on playlists, which you can't do with Apple Music. Spotify's also cross-platform so it's very easy for anyone to use.
Conner: Apple Music has 10 million more songs than Spotify. Spotify also has a song collection limit of 10,000 songs compared to 100,000 on Apple Music. This could be a problem if you're a die-hard music fan. I'm at 5,000 right now. If I used Spotify, I think it would be an issue for me in a couple more years.
David: I don't find Spotify's 30 million songs to be limiting to me.
Conner: You mean that's not lacking? You need those other millions!
Conner: There is a lot of exclusive content on Apple Music that you don't get on Spotify.
David: Apple specializes in doing exclusives, and I do think that matters. For instance, when Taylor Swift releases a new album, Apple will have a period of exclusivity oftentimes. While I don't think it's good for listeners as it fragments the audience, it's an advantage if you're an Apple Music subscriber.
Conner: As far as monthly, student, or family subscriptions, Apple Music and Spotify cost exactly the same. But Apple Music has a hidden annual plan. If you go into your subscriptions on your iPhone, you can select the Apple Music annual plan for $99 and save $20 a year. David: It's true.
David: Just to get a little sappy for a moment, Spotify really has changed my life. I love discovering new music, and I've discovered so many new bands and new music in genres that I like because of Spotify's discoverability features. I love making playlists. I have hours and hours of playlists that I'll listen to throughout the day. Conner: And really good ones. I have to admit.
David: So if discoverability is what you care about, then Spotify is better.
Conner: I've discovered a lot of new music with Apple Music. I think it's just not as readily available. Spotify puts that front and center. But Spotify can't compete with the fact that Apple makes Apple Music, so it has integrations that Spotify just doesn't have.
David: If your priority is discovering music, then go with Spotify. If your priority is integrations, go with Apple Music.
Conner: I might bring you to my side yet.