Back a few months ago, I did a comparison of Apple Music vs. Amazon Music Unlimited. Apple Music won that battle for as the better overall service. Now it is time to test that service against Spotify. Spotify is offering 3 months for only $0.99 which I figured for that price, it was worth a try. Now, it is time to see how Spotify compares to Apple Music.
Apple Music vs. Spotify
There are definite differences between the two and one edges out the other, but will it change how I listen to music? That is the question. 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).
Spotify: Spotify is no different than Apple in this category as they also have over 40,000,000 songs. They actually had some albums Apple didn’t have and vice versa. For example, Spotify has Def Leppard’s Viva! Hysteria and Apple Doesn’t. Spotify also has a copy of Slang with commentary that Apple does not. What I do like about Spotify is that when you search an artist, they break the records out into categories of Studio Albums, Single, Compilations and Live albums. Apple lumps them all together.
WINNER – I am actually going to give it to Spotify with a slight edge for the layout of an artists page and they had a Def Leppard album that Apple did not. It doesn’t really matter overall as I have it on CD anyway so it is in my Apple 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.
Spotify: Here is my big complaint with Spotify. The music library can only hold 10,000 songs. To the common person that is a tremendous amount of songs. To me…not so much. I like to have my entire library at my fingertips and that will not be the case with Spotify. It is extremely disappointing that they would limit the space. I have not seen an end to Apple’s limit. Also, when I download a new CD or any new music, Apple immediately adds it to my library for me, Spotify will not especially since my library is already full. Now Spotify will add my iTunes playlist into my Spotify library. But all my bootleg and rare albums not available anywhere won’t be added unless I a) create a playlist or b) delete some songs to reduce my 10,000 limited library. Now I can get to some of my original content from iTunes in Spotify, but the functionality sucks and it is not easy to use so it makes it worthless.
WINNER – APPLE MUSIC easily wins this one.
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 for up to 6 people. Perfect, I need the family service and at $14.99 a month ($16.00 after tax) 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.
Spotify: Spotify pricing is the same as Apple Music (or is Apple the same as Spotify…not sure). They have the $9.99 individual plan and $14.99 for the family with up to 6 accounts.
WINNER – A draw, no real difference between the two.
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 which isn’t very hard to do. Now that Apple has decided to let Amazon Prime work on the Apple TV; how long before Amazon allows Apple Music on their products like they do for Spotify??
Spotify: Amazon Echo, Tap or Dot all have the ability to play Spotify by just asking Alexa. 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. This is a nice feature
WINNER – Spotify
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 listen 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.
Spotify: Spotify has a bunch of stations, but I don’t think they have the variety. Where the do have an 80’s radio station, it plays everything 80’s. Apple has an 80’s Pop and Hair Metal radio station if I want to be more specific. You can also create a radio station by the artist. In comparing the two I picked the Needtobreathe radio station. For Spotify, they played the same Needtobreathe songs, but the other songs were more geared to mostly Christian acts since the band is labeled Christian. Apple Music had a little more variety where they put in some pop, some country and some Christian artists. It was a better mix.
WINNER – APPLE MUSIC due to the better variety of radio stations and the better variety of songs on an artist playlist (at least in my opinion).
Playlists seems it be the big thing with all these music sites. So which one has the best playlist and the most to offer?
Apple Music: Apple has a ton of playlists and even has the daily recommendation for playlists. They have a great variety and you can even make your personal playlist public and listen to your friends playlist. My daughter created a car ride playlist for our trip and I was able to pull it up on my account and listen.
Spotify: Spotify does the same thing, except better. They have a ridiculous amount of playlist. A much better variety and a ton more public lists since they do have more subscribers. The other advantage you have with Spotify’s playlist is that they are shared easily in the WordPress posts as so many bloggers post playlist in their posts from Spotify. I have never seen an Apple Music playlist in a WordPress blog.
WINNER – Spotify hands down on this one.
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 (Note: since the original post, the Def Leppard Videos are no longer available). Apple also has a documentary on Sam Smith, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift that my kids loved. I haven’t found anything as substantial on Spotify yet (let me know if I am missing something)
Spotify: They have videos as well. They have a lot of unique content such as Spotify Landmark and I even watched one where two NFL players traded playlists and they talk to each player about their musical tastes. Some really great stuff. However, they didin’t have much in the way of music videos. They had no Def Leppard music videos or even Bon Jovi. That was a little negative as sometimes I like to watch the music video.
WINNER – APPLE MUSIC – I am giving it to Apple mainly because of actual music videos and documentary shows even though Spotify might have a little better original content. I am old school, sorry.
What unique offerings does each service offer?
Apple Music: Apple’s app and iTunes site have an area called “For You” that recommends playlists and albums based on your listening preferences. The section is personalized for you and is updated every day. The have a Favorites Mix playlist that is based solely off your listening habits and is updated weekly. I really like this playlist and they are usually spot on with their selections. They also have a “Chill Mix” which is also updated weekly and brings you are more “chill” set of songs. And they have a weekly New Music list which is pretty awesome as well. 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.
Spotify: Spotify does include a “Discover” section which has a weekly playlist that is tailored for you. Now to be fair, I haven’t been on Spotify very long so the playlist isn’t great yet, but it has potential. They also do a weekly playlist of new releases. It is a lot like the For You section with Apple, but not as visually pleasing. Some unique features include Concert section which gives you current tour dates for bands which I don’t see in Apple. They also have a great podcast section which Apple does not. You have to handle the podcast separately with a different App. As I mentioned above, they have a video section which is very different than Apple’s.
Another thing they offer is album releases that include commentary from the artist which is a nice twist on the album experience and not something you get with Apple. Spotify also has a merchandising section where you can buy some albums, hats, shirts or whatever someone might be selling from an artists. No option like that with Apple. Another thing I discovered was the the Waze app has Spotify functionality built in it. I haven’t used it, but apparently you can access Spotify through that app while you are using it.
WINNER – Spotify edges out Apple even though I think the For You section is better than what Spotify offers, Spotify offers a lot more special features.
Ease of Use / Functionality
How easy are the streaming services to use and find information.
Apple Music: The functionality for Apple Music is flawless from computer to phone to iPad or whatever you are using. It is visually appealing and very intuitive in its functionality. Adding songs or albums to the library is so easy and there are no worries about how much I can add. Playlist are easy to create and radio stations easy to find. For me, it is a pleasant experience. Apple seamless combines my music added from the Apple Music Library with my own personal library in iTunes. I can sort and move around all songs together. Spotify doesn’t offer that.
Spotify: The functionality for Spotify is also pretty seamless from computer to phone to iPad. It is easy to navigate as well, however, the layout itself is not as pleasing. The page headings aren’t as crisp and clean (or as large) as on Apple Music and with these aging eyes, I like the larger fonts. It is mostly black background compared to Apple’s white and I don’t like it as much. As far as accessing my local files, the layout completely and utterly sucks!! Apple combines my local with my streaming library in one. Spotify separates it out. I can’t sort my local files by album, or song or anything easily. It is a really big negative.
WINNER – Apple Music – Overall, it is an easier app to navigate, more intuitive and visually more appealing.
One More Thing…
In listening to both services in my car, I noticed something different between the two services. I was listening on my iPhone so that probably is why I noticed a difference between the two. That difference was the loudness with which it played out of my car speakers. Being on an Apple iPhone, my Apple Music played clearer and much louder than Spotify. Spotify was not as loud and I had to turn up the volume at least 3-4 more notches to get the same volume level. That is not a knock against Spotify, just something I noticed that Apple was doing. Sneaky on Apple’s part.
I have two differing opinions. They each won 4 times for the categories I covered and there was one draw. They are pretty equal in that regards. However, each one is worth it for different reasons. Of my two opinions…One is my personal preference and Two is my objective unbiased opinion of which might be better for you.
Apple Music: WINNER – 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. The fact Spotify limits its library to 10,000 songs is absolutely ludicrous. Anything new I add to my library is automatically loaded to Apple Music is a plus as with Spotify I have to create a playlist to add since I am already at 10,000 songs in my library.
Spotify: WINNER – If you don’t have a massive library and 10,000 songs is not something you will ever reach. Reality is that Spotify is a better service that will meet your need. I am a music junkie and I have too many rare, bootleg albums that I need in my library. The average person does not. There are more songs than you will ever need, they have more playlists than you can ever imagine listening to and they just have more. I think they have over 60 million subscribers which is twice as many as Apple and that is for a reason. The average person will find Spotify better. The collector, music junkie like myself, Apple would be better for you.
There you have it. If you made it all the way to the bottom, good for you as this was a long post. I hope you found this helpful. Let me know what you think. Thanks!!