Apple Music vs. Amazon Music Unlimited

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.

Music Selection

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 (Apple now has all the Def Leppard albums).  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

Personal Library

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.


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.

Amazon Echo

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 can now be played on Amazon Echo using Alexa or you can stream it through Bluetooth. This is a newer feature as when I originally wrote this post you could play Apple Music on it so I am really glad that now I just ask Alexa to listen to my music.

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 – This is now a Tie since this has been updated.

Radio Stations

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

Play Videos

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 (since original post, Def Leppard videos are no longer available).

Amazon Music Unlimited:   Nope, no music videos.


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.


Overall Opinion

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. Gladly, Amazon now allows Apple Music to be streamed so no need to Amazon Unlimited is needed.

I have now done a comparison between Apple Music and Spotify. Click to read.  Hopefully I will have more comparison in the future.



36 thoughts on “Apple Music vs. Amazon Music Unlimited

  1. Very thorough comparison. I had the 3 month trial of Apple Music a while back, but it just so happened that I rarely used it at the time. However, it’s the service I’ve been most impressed by and I’ve been tempted to subscribe once or twice since.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree with you. I deleted the Amazon music app from my phone a long time ago. Not as easy to use, and the selection (for what I listen to) was terrible. I hated all those other people covering my favorite songs but not the actual artist. I have the Apple family plan.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I use both Spotify and Google Play music. Spotify mostly because I can create a playlist and post it on the blog, and I also like how it tries to make playlists of songs I might be interested in. Google’s service does allow you to upload up to 50,000 songs and you can add them to playlists that you can play through their mobile app.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have never seen Google Play, but definitely have seen Spotify. I have thought about doing Spotify strictly for the website and adding playlists. But i don’t want to give up my Apple so I am torn. Maybe someday!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I regularly buy music from Amazon – the whole Prime thing is such a fast and convenient service – so I have a lot of the ‘autorip’ albums on my Amazon music, which I use on my computer or the app on my phone. I’ve never really figured much about these streaming services. I’ve sometimes used spotify to ‘sample’ an album before purchasing, but other than that most of my music is either digital or physical.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You know John I hoped aboard the Apple Music plan back in January and lasted 4 months! HAHA…
    I just found that I was listening to stuff i had already had downloaded to my ipod before. As far as the new releases I like to own them and say there mine even though I don’t buy physical product that much!
    This was a good comparison of the two though….
    Having said that…
    All three of my daughters pay into a student plan and they all enjoy the Apple Music plan….
    So in my house I’m outnumbered as Apple wins the vote 3-1!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks for the very informative comparison. I’m comfortable with simply Amazon Prime Music for my needs at no additional cost and 250 uploads. But I agree with the concerns about song versions and covers. I love, love, love, the access via the Amazon Echos in our home, which offsets those concerns.

    You didn’t evaluate usage in the car. They are likely similar, but I have a good experience with Android Auto’s nice Amazon Music interface on my in-dash screen with my cellphone (or tablet) connected to the car via USB.

    FYI, I thought Amazon had an “unlimited upload” offering so I looked it up. From what I see (link below) Amazon will let you upload 250,000 songs for $24.99 per year. If you’re Prime, add that “$2” to the $7.99 price for Amazon Music Unlimited and you are at the $9.99 monthly price for an individual in the Apple Music plan. Link:

    Thanks again for your quality effort and sparking a good discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t think about talking about the car usage. I have an older car so no new tech, but have no problems with either in the car. Thanks for that idea. I guess I didn’t like the fact I had to pay extra to upload unlimited songs. I didn’t have to pay extra with Apple. Thanks for stopping by and adding to the review. Much appreciated.


    2. Update (late 2017): Amazon has terminated all ability to Upload your own music. And by January 2019 they will delete the songs you have previously uploaded. That applies to Prime Music and Music Unlimited. It’s a pity.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I just cancelled my Amazon Music subscription as I rarely went to it, but for $0.99 for 4 months it was worth it. Apple is just the best for my needs. I will try Spotify one day though so I can do a comparison.


  7. Thanks for the hard work and for writing this article so plainly for those of us who are older and not tech savvy. Mine is a question more then a comment. You mentioned in your article that you always had both your iPhone and IPod with you for all your music but then stated that you no longer had to do that with ?Apple Music? Or Amazon…? How is it you were able to get all your music downloaded on just one device? I’m willing to learn whatever you can teach. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had an ipod classic with 160gb on it so my entire music collection was on it. I also carried a phone since I wasn’t streaming music at the time. When I signed up with Apple Music, my entire iTunes collection on my computer (that was on my iPod) was not available through my phone. it updated the collection to the cloud. It allowed me to access all my bootleg albums and albums that Apple didn’t offer through streaming as long as they were in my iTunes. It was nice and now I only carry my phone. Thanks for stopping by and asking a questions.


  8. Thanks for this comparison. I have had Amazon for a while now and use it most days. Since Apple has a 3 month free trial I decided to give it a try. Right now, Apple is coming out on top for me. I used the stations feature on Amazon, but I like the Apple station feature better at this point. The Amazon interface for stations is a bit clunky and it is static. With Apple I can quickly and easily create my own stations. The music selection seems much more extensive on Apple, so I don’t get the same old same old set of songs. One station I enjoyed on Amazon was The Mamas and Papas (yeah, I’m old LOL) The first station I created in Apple Music was one I created from a Mamas and Papas song, so I could compare the choices in “similar songs”. Apple wins hands down here, coming up with songs that I either haven’t heard in years, or in some cases had never heard before as well as the expected ones that Amazon has. And as you and others have mentioned, the songs are the original versions I want to hear. Since I have 3 months free on Apple, I’ll keep the Amazon service for a bit longer for comparison, but I suspect I’ll be dropping Amazon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome. I am glad you liked it. I have been using Apple Music now for two years and love it. Everything you mentioned is exactly why I like Apple. I am trying Spotify now for 3 months and will do a comparison with it next. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I really appreciate the response.


  9. ITunes….ugh. I have a hate/hate relationship with iTunes. Maybe I need to pay to go to a class, ha. Not giving up on Apple Music though because I’ve got too much invested in my own playlists and bootlegged music. Just hate iTunes as an App….it could be redesigned to maintain all functionality yet be easier/smoother to use.

    In my cars (1998 & 2007) technology is severely lacking so I use my iPhone to Bluetooth music to portable speakers that I keep in each car….music, radio stations and Sirius are all available to me via my iPhone.

    Thanks very much for the article…..waiting to see Apples response to Amazon’s in-home speaker/Alexa….fingers crossed it’s as good but concerned that Apple is over engineering things these days…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You a welcome. I don’t hat iTunes, but I could be a little better. As far as car technology, my car will show my iPhone as unsupported if I change songs more than once while playing Apple Music. It is frustrating. My car is a 2011

      Looking forward to the Apple speaker as well. It seems pricey so it better sound super fantastic.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s