Battle of the Music Streaming Services
Spotify and Apple Music are the biggest heavyweights in the world of music streaming. Both services acquired tens of millions of paid subscribers, and they are so influential that it is hard to remember that there are other streaming services out there. Ever since Apple released its music streaming service in 2015 people have been wanting to know which is better. Spotify and Apple Music have some similarities and differences, but in order to see which truly has the best overall quality, we must look at the price, design, music selection and the personalization of each platform.
Both Spotify and Apple Music cost $10 a month and offer a deal for students which brings the cost down to $5, but the main differences here are in the free trial and the added benefits. For those looking to test the waters with a free trial, Spotify only gives you 30 days of ad-free streaming while Apple Music gives users a whole three months, which is a huge difference. However, with the Spotify student discount, you are getting much more than what you pay for. The Spotify student bundle includes free Hulu and Showtime subscriptions. Apple Music is noticeably missing any kind of deal like this.
Apple Music and Spotify are aesthetically opposites, with Apple Music taking on a clean and refreshing white design and Spotify opting for a sleek and smooth black look. Both are relatively easy to navigate, but Spotify has a variety of extra features that make it more appealing than Apple Music’s very standard scroll-and-select design. For example, certain tracks on Spotify will display short animations as the song plays rather than the cover art that would normally be shown. In addition to this, a select few of Spotify-made playlists like Mint and Today’s Top Hits include exclusive music videos from artists that are only available on the platform. While Apple Music may be quite easy to navigate, it fails to think outside the box in ways to further entertain users.
For a while, there were many big artists whose music was only available for purchase and streaming on iTunes, some big names including Taylor Swift, The Beatles and even Beyonce. Even though this has changed and a significant amount of artist’s music is now available on Spotify, Apple Music still maintains a larger quantity of music. Compare Spotify’s 35 million songs to Apple Music’s 45 million. While Spotify has made a huge improvement in this area, there is still the chance that you may not be able to stream your favorite artists on the platform, and that is really disappointing for some people.
From looking at the Spotify’s playlists alone you can see just how much the service tries to cater to each user. Not only do they make Daily Mixes, which are six personalized playlists based on the songs your frequently listen to, but they also make the New Music Monday playlist, a collection of new releases from your favorite artists, as well as a list of the top 100 songs you listened to the most throughout the year called Your Top Songs. Apple Music also recommends artists and playlists to you and makes a list of your 100 top songs, but it pales in comparison to how much Spotify pays attention to user activity. Apple Music makes two to three playlists every week where one is a collection of songs that you listen to often, and the others are songs that the service recommends based on your listening activity.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, it looks like Spotify takes the win. In the end, the two services are more similar than different, but it is Spotify’s creativity and attention to detail that really makes it stand out. Perhaps Apple Music could learn a thing or two from its rival and find more ways to engage with users and make it a more personal experience, but until that happens Spotify remains the higher quality streaming service.