Back when I first started the blog, I did a comparison of Apple Music vs. Amazon Prime Music. Apple Music easily won that battle as the Music streaming service with Prime was very limited. That has since changed. Amazon now has their own full streaming service called Amazon Music Unlimited. During Amazon Prime Day last month, Amazon offered the service for $0.99 for four months. I figured for that price, it was worth a try. Now, it is time to see how Amazon Music Unlimited compares to Apple Music.
Apple Music vs. Amazon Music Unlimited
There are definite differences between the two and one is edges out the other and as a result, one will no longer be used. First, lets talk about what each service offers and which is the better service for that item.
There are two features that I think are the most important. The first feature is music selection. What artists and songs does each service offer? Are they artist I like? Is the selection enough to satisfy me? Here is what I have found:
Apple Music: Apple Music has over 40,000,000 songs to choose from on its service. It pretty much has anything you could ever imagine. I enjoy the selection as I never know what will strike my fancy. I can go from Rolling Stones Greatest Hits or just listen to Sticky Fingers. They don’t have everything, but if you already own it you can still stream that album (I will talk more about that later).
Amazon Music Unlimited: Amazon Prime Music is no where close to as robust when it comes to selection, but the Amazon Music Unlimited service seems to have an equal amount of songs. They actually had some albums Apple didn’t have and vice versa. For example, Amazon has the 4CD set from Kiss called Radio Waves 1974-1988 which Apple doesn’t. And they have Def Leppard’s Viva! Hysteria and Apple Doesn’t. What I didn’t like was for some artists some of their songs are re-recordings and not the original versions. And a lot of the various artists albums aren’t even performed by the original artists. Too much of that pops out at you.
WINNER – I am going to call this one a draw as most paid services have a pretty decent selection nowadays. It is the other features that matter
The second feature I feel is the most important is if can I stream my personal collection through the service. I have over 20,000 songs and playlists already created and don’t want to have to recreate the wheel, so to speak.
Apple Music: Apple Music allows me to stream my ENTIRE music collection through the service, including current playlists that I had already created. Why do I love this so much? I have been carrying around my iPhone and an iPod because I have so much music. I couldn’t have it all with me as the iPhone doesn’t have the data storage capacity. Now that I can stream my entire collection, I no longer carry my iPod to work with me…only my phone.
Amazon Music Unlimited: From what I can figure out with Amazon Music Unlimited is I can only upload 250 of my songs to the cloud for streaming. That is right, only 250 songs!!! I have way more so that won’t work. If I want more, I would have to pay extra. So all my rare albums, singles, bootlegs wouldn’t work. This also means I would have to create my own playlists from scratch again. This would be very time consuming and not cost effective.
WINNER – APPLE MUSIC
Can Multiple People Stream at Same Time?
Another feature that I care about is if multiple people stream at the same time on different devices. I have 2 girls and one that is starting to love music as much as I do and that is actually a little scary. However, I am so excited as I think music is the best thing ever created.
Apple Music: Apple has two price points – An individual service for $9.99 or a family package for $14.99 a month. Perfect, I need the family service and at $14.99 a month to me is reasonable as that is about the cost of what CDs used to cost and I would buy more than one of month of those.
Amazon Music Unlimited: Amazon Music Unlimited offers an individual service at $9.99 as well and if you are already a Prime member it is only $7.99 or $79 a year. The family plan is around $14.99 for both Prime and Non-Prime members. So no real difference. They do offer a $3.99 plan for an individual that you can play only on one device such as an Echo or Dot. That to me is very limited.
WINNER – A draw again, no real difference unless a Prime Member but Prime is $99 on top of the Music Unlimited service.
Can the service be streamed from the Amazon Echo? Since I own one, that is a little important to me. Nothing cooler than going…”Alexa, play Matt Nathanson”…and a second later his songs start playing.
Apple Music: Apple music cannot be played on Amazon Echo using Alexa. You can stream it through Bluetooth.
Amazon Music Unlimited: Of course you can play Amazon Prime Music on the “Amazon” Echo, Tap or Dot. That is the one saving grace for Amazon Prime Music. When I am really lazy (which is often), I can tell Alexa what to play and she does if she doesn’t misinterpret what you said.
WINNER – AMAZON MUSIC UNLIMITED
Sometimes I want to just listen to random music or music similar to a specific artists, genre, or decade. Which service has the best radio stations?
Apple Music: Apple Music has radio stations for different genres and you can pick almost any artist and listed to that artist plus artist that are considered similar to that artist. Since they have such a great selection of music, you get a good variety of songs. The radio stations have since added music by decades which is my favorite type of station to listen to so this was a nice and much needed change.
Amazon Music Unlimited: Amazon’s service has equal set of radio stations. Nothing real different than what Apple offers. The only thing I see different is I think Apple’s technology on song selection when playing an artist might be a little better as I enjoy their artist’s stations better.
WINNER – just slightly – APPLE MUSIC
I still enjoy watching a video every now and then as I am a child of MTV when MTV actually played videos.
Apple Music: Yes, Apple Music has videos that you can stream as well as a section called “Connect” which is all types of videos from your favorite artists not just music videos. Now their selection isn’t as varied as say Vevo, but it still has some decent choices. I was able to put together a nice Def Leppard video playlist.
Amazon Music Unlimited: Nope, no music videos.
WINNER – APPLE MUSIC
Ease of Use / Functionality
How easy is the site/app to use and does it have good functionality?
Apple Music: Apple’s app and iTunes site are easy to manage and maneuver. They have an area called “For You” that recommends playlists and albums based on your listening preferences. They have a section titled “Browse” that gives you all the new albums out for the week as well as the Top Played Songs, Albums, Video’s and Playlists. They also have the “Radio” section I mentioned above. All are nicely worked into the iTunes app and similar functionality whether in iTunes or your phone.
Apple has a section called “Connect” under the “For You” section where the artist can post notes, videos or any type of message much like Twitter or Facebook. It is a nice little feature. You get to pick the artist you would like to follow.
Amazon Music Unlimited: Amazon doesn’t feel as easy or intuitive as Apple Music. The website and the app have completely different functionality and aren’t as seamless. When you search an artist, the design of the results isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as Apple Music. With Apple Music, it pulls up the artist, has a write-up on a lot of the artist, shows the top songs and albums and is much easier to search through what you want. Amazon Music Unlimited does have recommendations, a new release section and radio stations, but I the functionality isn’t as smooth. It has all the New Releases and a recommendation section they just aren’t as well designed as Apple.
Amazon has a special section called “Side by Side” which has music and stories straight from the artists where the artists talks about an album and the songs. This is something I do like and Apple doesn’t have.
WINNER – APPLE MUSIC
Apple Music: WINNER – No surprise on which one I think is best. The fact my original 20,000 song library and playlists can stream through the service whether or not they actually have it in their library is enough to sway me to Apple Music. Add in everything else and it makes that service even more enticing to me. I will find it hard to ever stop using it as I use it everyday and is my new addiction.
Amazon Music Unlimited: Amazon Music Unlimited is actually a great value if you are already a Prime Member that it is just $7.99 a month. And during my test period where I only paid $0.99 for 4 months it is been nice. Since I have a Tap and an Echo it has been cool asking Alexa to play my music. I am not sure I will continue it after my 4 months as it doesn’t make sense for me to have both. I do hope Alexa will interact with Apple music, but until then, she will be a Bluetooth Speaker for my Apple Music.
In the future, I hope to try out the paid services for Pandora and Spotify and give my opinions on those as well. However, they have big shoes to fill to beat Apple Music in my book, but everyone loves Spotify so maybe that will sway me to switch.