Selecting between two streaming giants isn’t a simple job. When it’s one thing like Netflix or Hulu, there tends to be a little bit of crossover, but additionally the very best of each worlds. Having a number of film and TV present streaming subscriptions is pretty frequent, however for main music streaming platforms, issues generally is a bit totally different. Options akin to unique bonus tracks, social listening choices, and interface preferences turn out to be rather more vital. With music streaming, you’re listening on the go, and sometimes on a regular basis. You’re not simply at dwelling in your sofa or watching Conan in your telephone within the break room.

For music streaming, the 2 giants to think about are Spotify and Apple Music. Spotify got here first, paving the best way for the present music-streaming market. The service hosts tens of hundreds of thousands extra paying subscribers than the competitors, to not point out numerous hundreds of thousands extra free customers. There are not any indicators of a slowdown, as the corporate added one other 11 million paid subscribers within the fourth quarter of 2019 — the very best quarterly development in its historical past — bringing the grand whole to more than 120 million subscribers.

Associated music content material

Conversely, Apple Music is a relative newcomer recognized for its high-profile unique releases, giant library, human-touch radio, and full integration into Apple’s common iOS ecosystem. This meaty concoction helped Apple attain spectacular development in listeners, with 60 million premium subscribers vaulting it atop Spotify in the U.S.

Nonetheless, Spotify stays the worldwide champ. The competitors between these two has helped the recording {industry} reach record heights for digital revenue, and the query of which is best has turn out to be more and more powerful to reply. We’re right here to settle the rating. Be a part of us under to see which of those juggernaut music-streaming companies is best for you.

Spotify for iOS Spotify for Android

Apple Music for iOS Apple Music for Android

Music library

Spotify first took its dominant place on the power of its spectacular 50 million-plus tune catalog. Couple this with the truth that it provides greater than 40,000 new songs every day, and it’s clear that the service provides extra music than your ears would even know what to do with. The Swedish streaming service additionally brings all the newest releases, unique dwell periods, and varied new singles proper to its New Releases tab every Friday, offering an effective way to listen to the newest from established artists and rising stars alike.

Apple’s service, then again, touts greater than 60 million songs, which is superior to Spotify’s present 50 million-plus determine (although it claims to be including as many as 40,000 per day) and in addition outdoes newer contenders like Amazon Prime Music and Jay-Z’s Tidal. Furthermore, Apple has taken steps to safe many extra exclusives than the competitors, largely as a result of it doesn’t provide a free tier. Spotify isn’t too proud of artists signing exclusivity offers with Apple, both — Spotify reportedly has a historical past of altering search rankings for artists who launch their music via Apple first.

Apple Music

There’s one other space the place Apple Music has the leg up on its competitors: Integration of the iTunes library. Any music you have got — whether or not beforehand bought by way of the iTunes Retailer, ripped from a bodily CD, or uploaded to iTunes Match — will seem in your Apple Music library, supplying you with the choice to freely browse your personal music alongside Apple’s customary catalog. Spotify provides an analogous operate, relegating your native music information to a separate tab, however you possibly can’t entry your native music by way of broad searches as you possibly can with Apple Music.

Winner: Apple Music

Music discovery

With so many songs on the prepared, streaming libraries can appear daunting for many who need to discover new music, however Spotify offers a number of helpful instruments for locating new songs to fit your style. Personalised playlists like Discover Weekly present implausible alternatives for subscribers to latch on to new music from artists they by no means stumbled throughout on their very own. The deep nicely of base genres to select from makes new music ripe for the selecting, and different personalised playlists like Daily Mixes are continuously being added. Spotify even has a featured collection referred to as Secret Genius, which permits followers of pop music to listen to the songwriters behind a few of their favourite hits.

Free customers will be capable of make the most of these playlists, too, with as much as 15 on-demand (that means not shuffled) playlists to select from each day. That provides as much as about 40 hours of latest music in whole day-after-day. These lists are curated primarily based on a questionnaire you fill out once you join a free account that asks you to decide on your favourite artists.

Uncover Weekly, particularly, deserves excessive reward within the streaming world. Added to your feed each Monday morning, the characteristic delivers a two-hour playlist of personalised music suggestions primarily based in your listening habits, in addition to the habits of those that take heed to related artists. Playlists are sometimes chock-full of tracks you haven’t heard earlier than, in addition to deep cuts from a few of your favourite artists. Take heed to a number of Billy Eilish? Your weekly playlist may embody her brother Finneas. The characteristic will not be at all times on level, but it surely’s usually spectacular.

Spotify for Windows 10 Screenshot

Spotify additionally provides you the possibility to create, share, and observe playlists of any form — together with these shared by mates — with a easy click on, together with expertly curated playlists for any temper or style you’re into to maintain issues contemporary. The service additionally lately introduced a brand new Collaborative Playlist feature that allows you to create playlists with your folks you could all add to and edit.

As for Apple Music, upon creating an account, customers are prompted to pick a few of their favourite artists so the service can get a way of their tastes. The interface for it is a digital ball pit, with every ball representing an artist. Customers merely faucet explicit balls to point artists they like (one faucet) or love (two). You too can at all times head again by way of the Account tab — accessible by tapping the icon within the top-right nook of For You — to reselect your favourite genres and artists. Whereas it’s a visually placing approach to dictate music preferences (the pink-on-white background is pure Apple-chic), the type stomps on the utility a bit. On cell units, particularly, the balls rapidly clog up the display, sluggishly bouncing off one another as they develop and making it a ache to pick extra artists.

Apple Music app

Fortunately, as soon as the method is full, Apple Music does an important job curating playlists to attraction to your preferences. Playlists could be primarily based on style, artist, or perhaps a explicit exercise like driving. Apple claims the playlists are curated by a “staff of consultants.” This cabal of tastemakers — whoever they’re — do job, creating various playlists which might be directly acquainted but contemporary, like a mixtape you may get from a good friend.

The extent of particular person curation is spectacular, with one DT staffer fast to spotlight a Behind the Boards playlist that encompasses music from audio engineers who’ve helped create among the finest music of their time from the studio management room. Spotify additionally provides “expertly curated” playlists, however Apple Music’s playlist alternatives come from particular person DJs on the Apple payroll.

Apple Music’s Apple Music 1 operate, which provides dwell radio 24 hours a day, additionally performs a serious function on the subject of music discovery. It’s refreshing to see Apple transfer past subtle algorithms for a human method to facilitating true music discovery — however Spotify has its personal magic at work, and its personalised playlists are solely rising.

Having confirmed a knack for the human aspect, Apple appears intent on beefing up its algorithmic suggestions with new features like Replay 2020, which resurfaces your most-played tracks all year long to maintain you jamming. All of the whereas, the corporate has remained dedicated to well timed suggestions to match or distract from world occasions and traits to raise your temper.

Nonetheless, Spotify’s hands-off playlists, with its implausible Uncover Weekly and Launch Radar section, give it the sting. Till Apple Music can compete with this algorithm-based method, we’ll give Spotify the win.

Winner: Spotify


Within the app, Spotify did away with the Radio tab of the past, changing it with an “assisted playlisting” characteristic as a substitute, which might be discovered below the Search tab (whereby, naturally, you possibly can seek for artists and new music strategies). This characteristic provides you contextual suggestions primarily based in your music pursuits. Say, for instance, you wished to create a playlist to accompany you in your morning exercises. Utilizing assisted playlisting, Spotify will pull from strategies primarily based in your previous listening historical past, in addition to suggestions primarily based on songs others have added to their very own, related contextual playlists. You possibly can proceed to fill your playlists with tracks, or Spotify can autofill them when you’ve chosen just a few to start out with. Customers are additionally in a position to search and preview songs earlier than including them to a playlist.

The corporate continues to be centered on playlists, however premium customers do get a feature called Endless Artist Radio, which permits customers to pick an artist they like and get personalised playlists primarily based on their listening historical past — all of that are additionally obtainable for obtain.

This characteristic enhances the beforehand mentioned free tier playlists possibility, which supplies free customers over 40 hours of music throughout 15 playlists generated from their musical tastes that they’ll take heed to for as much as 24 hours.

The expertise differs from radio-style listening. Whereas it provides you extra management over discovery and personalization, it’s not the straightforward channel-based method.

Apple Music 1

In an age that prioritizes automation, Apple Music’s desire for the human contact helps with radio-style programming. This philosophy is embodied in Apple Music 1, Apple Music’s premier radio station that runs nonstop music blended by DJs on dwell radio exhibits.

Whereas in-house DJs like Zane Lowe do an admirable job, particularly on the subject of premieres, probably the most intriguing exhibits on Apple Music 1 are these hosted by notable musicians akin to Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest). These exhibits present listeners with a singular look into the tastes of artists they admire. A few of them even have attention-grabbing codecs, akin to St. Vincent’s Mixtape Delivery Service, during which Clark solicits followers to inform her what’s going on of their lives and assembles playlists to swimsuit them.

Past Apple Music 1, Apple Music has some extra generic radio stations for many who merely need to take heed to, say, traditional rock, jazz, or Prime 40 hits. There are additionally non-music stations akin to BBC News and ESPN, making a menagerie of choices which might be onerous to beat.

Winner: Apple Music


Though Apple Music and Spotify are primarily music apps, podcasts have a pure dwelling on audio platforms. Spotify has been the fastest-growing podcast vacation spot since launching the characteristic in 2015. In truth, it lately dethroned previous champion Apple. You’ll discover tons of common packages, and there are sufficient compelling originals that podcasts alone might entice you to remain. The Spotify app handles the duty superbly, with timers and playback pace controls obtainable to help your binge-listening periods.

Apple Music doesn’t have any such performance built-in. Podcasts have been cut up off into their very own app proper across the time Apple started breaking iTunes into little bits and pieces, and that’s the place they’ll keep for the foreseeable future.

Winner: Spotify

Subscription charges

Apple Music prices the industry-standard $10 per 30 days, as does Spotify Premium, Tidal Premium, Pandora’s on-demand service, and nearly each different on-demand subscription service on the block (Amazon Music Unlimited prices $10 per 30 days for present customers or $8 for brand new customers and people with an Amazon Prime subscription). Proper now, new subscribers get Apple Music free for 3 months. Apple initially hoped to undercut its rivals by providing its customary service for $8 and even $5 per 30 days, however that plan was derailed by the key labels that personal the rights to the overwhelming majority of the corporate’s catalog. To make an Apple Music or Spotify subscription a bit extra interesting, each firms provide particular household packs that enable prospects so as to add as much as six particular person accounts for a complete of simply $15 per 30 days.

There’s one other manner to avoid wasting money on each companies. New customers with an relevant pupil e mail can get a reduced month-to-month subscription of simply $5. Each add a bit extra for that cut price, with Spotify providing ad-supported Hulu entry with Showtime into the combo, whereas Apple will hook the studious up with Apple TV+.

Apple Music subscribers can even get a yr’s price of service for $99 when you know where to look. You’ll first should be subscribed to Apple Music (it doesn’t matter which subscription you have got). Head to your Subscriptions within the App Retailer app (accessed via your Apple ID on the backside of the Featured tab), and choose Apple Music. It’s best to see an Particular person (1 yr) possibility for $99 — choose it, and it can save you almost 20% over a yr. Or, , you possibly can at all times subscribe to Verizon Limitless and bag a six-month membership for free. AT&T Limitless & Extra prospects, then again, have the choice to redeem a free Spotify Premium subscription, which can run proper via the tip of the contract.

Contemplating Apple grants each potential subscriber three months of Apple Music at no cost, the service could also be sweeping away extra of Spotify’s viewers than CEO Daniel Ek wish to acknowledge. Nonetheless — and that is key — Apple doesn’t have a free, ad-based tier like Spotify, which is an enormous purpose the Swedish firm was in a position to corral so many customers within the first place. The vast majority of Spotify’s customers pay attention at no cost, and that’s higher than any three-month trial or discounted yearlong subscription Apple might provide — and the only real purpose it takes dwelling the crown for having probably the most aggressive subscription charges. To not point out, new Spotify customers can at the moment nab two months of Premium for free.

Winner: Spotify

Consumer interface and cell expertise

Regardless of Apple’s penchant for minimalist design, Apple Music’s cell interface was lower than intuitive out of the gate. With the next releases of iOS 10 and iOS 11, nevertheless, the cumbersome format turned a extra streamlined expertise. The library is now on the homepage of the Music app — all of the music you personal might be accessed on this tab, and you may simply filter by Playlists, Artists, Albums, Songs, and Downloaded Music, simply in case you don’t need to waste your treasured cell knowledge.

Tapping on the For You tab now brings up a number of totally different personalised choices. The My New Music Combine and the each day themed playlists present much more methods to find new tunes, whereas the Browse tab provides you an avenue to discover common music, movies, and Apple exclusives. These searching for one thing particular can use the Search tab, which lets you rapidly search via both your private library or the Apple Music library.

Apple Music on Apple Watch

Apple has additionally built-in Siri with Apple Music, permitting subscribers to difficulty voice instructions via their Apple TV, iPhone, or Mac. For those who have been to ask Siri to play the No. 1 tune from 2001, as an example, Lifehouse‘s Hanging by a Second would rapidly begin taking part in. It’s a cool characteristic that Android customers received’t get, as they don’t have entry to Siri.

The Android model of Apple Music is aesthetically totally different from the iOS model in that it hides its menu to the left facet of the display, as many Android apps do. If customers must navigate, they’ll pull the menu into view like a drawer. This retains the format clear and makes good use of your telephone’s restricted actual property. Although Apple Music is offered for iOS and Android, Apple Music works finest on iOS, particularly with the added Siri performance. As of MacOS Catalina, Apple Music is not accessed inside iTunes. You’ll have a devoted Apple Music app for that as a substitute, although these on older variations or any model of Home windows will nonetheless require the antiquated service.

Spotify, then again, is extra device-agnostic and has lengthy been the {industry} chief by way of sheer usability. The cell and desktop purposes present customers with a simple approach to browse music, entry playlists, take heed to web radio, and uncover new music.

Spotify screenshot

On cell, all of your bidding is completed inside three tabs — Residence, Search, and Your Library. Every part options its personal set of easy subcategories, which supplies customers quick access to the service’s many options. The search window actively populates the outcomes subject, very like Google’s search engine, usually offering precisely what you’re searching for after typing only a few characters, and a filter operate makes it simple to drill down even additional. Spotify has middling help for voice activation via units just like the Amazon Echo or Google Home, however current proof factors to the event of its own in-house digital assistant, based on Engadget. You’ll be capable of name on it by issuing two magic phrases — “Hey, Spotify” — however provided that the app is already open in your telephone.

In February 2020, Spotify launched key changes to its mobile interface to assist streamline your playback efforts. The adjustments embody the addition of a unified button for Play and Shuffle features, in addition to corralling the Like and Obtain buttons — amongst different actions — right into a navigation bar that yow will discover close to the highest of any playlist. Lastly, the corporate has began displaying album artwork subsequent to every particular person monitor in all views besides the album view. Moreover, now you can edit your profile out of your cell gadget.

Spotify additionally dares to set an instance of how a music firm will help listeners throughout a disaster like current viral breakouts. It lately announced initiatives to match as much as $10 million in donations to music organizations that elevate cash to help struggling artists.

Spotify for iOS Spotify for Android

Apple Music for iOS Apple Music for Android

As for outdoor integration, each Apple Music and Spotify additionally help Amazon’s Echo ecosystem, permitting subscribers to play songs on the corporate’s sensible dwelling techniques with easy Alexa voice instructions like, “Play songs by Mumford and Sons.” Spotify even provides Google Cast integration, which is particularly helpful for many who like Google’s streaming units just like the Chromecast, permitting for a fast and simple approach to stream music from your own home theater system. Apple Music as soon as had exclusivity on the Apple TV, however lately loosened its grip, permitting Spotify integration to Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD house owners. HomePod, then again, continues to be restricted to streaming to it from different units via AirPlay, although Apple might quickly open up the floodgates to permit different companies — akin to Spotify — the identical integration.

For these allergic to apps, Spotify has lengthy supplied an internet participant that, whereas not fairly as intuitive because the native desktop app, provides fast, light-weight entry. Apple has adopted swimsuit, with a web player of its own in beta. Each have the choice to show the lyrics of the tune taking part in.

Apple Music provides one of the crucial spectacular music companies round, however it’s a must to be all-in on Apple’s smartphones, tablets, computer systems, and streaming containers to get probably the most out of it. We’ll have to present Spotify the sting right here for its clear and simple person expertise, ubiquity, and elevated availability of third-party integrations.

Winner: Spotify

Social options

Spotify’s social features enable subscribers to observe mates (when you’re each on Fb and join your Spotify accounts) and see what they take heed to and who they observe. It additionally provides customers the flexibility to share or suggest playlists, together with the flexibility to publish their listening historical past to Fb, which then provides their Fb mates a possibility to love or touch upon the exercise.

Spotify Share screenshot

Late final yr, it was reported that Spotify is prepping a Tastebuds feature that can curate a customized playlist primarily based on frequent listening tastes between you and your folks. The characteristic could be just like the Mates Weekly playlist the corporate beforehand examined, during which you’d discover a assortment of songs your folks have been listening to these days. Tastebuds could also be a extra algorithmic playlist, with the amalgamation of tracks not essentially being a carbon copy of their weekly playback historical past. No current information has surfaced concerning the characteristic.

Per TechCrunch, one other social characteristic purportedly within the works for Spotify might enable choose influencers to share “tales” to go together with a shared playlist. Much like Fb and Instagram Tales, Spotify’s characteristic will help a number of quick movies that followers can faucet via. Presumably, a lot of the content material will encompass the music, however there’s no telling what the corporate will enable contributors to publish.

Whereas these options do give Spotify some added social clout, we wish to see the service add a simple approach to chat with these you observe. It has additionally now eliminated the Inbox/Messages characteristic, which allowed customers to privately message one another contained in the app — one thing the corporate stated most customers merely weren’t utilizing and due to this fact was too costly to take care of.

Apple Music’s most important social characteristic was once contained inside one thing referred to as Join, a Twitter-style feed that introduced artists and followers nearer collectively and successfully served as an all-access go to your favourite bands. Artists might publish images, movies, and extra. Sadly, Apple eliminated the rarely-used characteristic in favor of extra informational artist pages.

Fortunately, a few of Apple Music’s social performance stays, together with the flexibility to see what your folks are listening to and simple playlist sharing. Nonetheless, Apple Music doesn’t provide a lot in the best way of social elements. Even with out messaging, Spotify’s strong social media integration, in addition to the flexibility to see what mates and followers are listening to, provides the service the higher hand.

Winner: Spotify

Exercise modes

Many individuals take heed to music whereas working, and each Apple Music and Spotify are loaded with workout-themed playlists.

Spotify used to have built-in workout features however has since offloaded a few of these options to different apps. For instance, on smartphones with the suitable sensors, Spotify can be utilized along with working apps akin to Runkeeper to routinely choose a playlist that matches the person’s working tempo. The combination is a welcome one for individuals who don’t need to plan out their music choice earlier than they hit the monitor — although it’s a disgrace the performance is not natively supported in-app.

Equally, Apple Music doesn’t have an in-app characteristic devoted to train however can also be built-in into working apps (Runkeeper) and has quite a few exercise playlists. Although it’s not good and was higher up to now, Spotify’s wider integration with third-party exercise apps provides it the win.

Winner: Spotify

Offline downloads

Apple Music allows you to obtain music for offline playback throughout 10 totally different units directly, with no actual restrict on how a lot you possibly can obtain. Technically, the higher restrict is 100,000 songs, however you’ll be hard-pressed to achieve that quantity except you obtain each album you see. Spotify lags on this space, with their restriction sitting at 10,000 songs on as much as 5 units.

Winner: Apple Music

Closing verdict

Spotify for the win. Whereas Apple Music has made some critical strides, Spotify nonetheless reigns supreme. Its person interface is accessible and uncluttered, making playlist administration easy. Its music discovery playlists, particularly Uncover Weekly, hold it brilliantly contemporary, and it’s additionally free for many who can’t but commit. Apple Music’s bigger catalog, unique releases, human-curated playlists, and options like Apple Music 1 make it a critical contender. However for now, Spotify nonetheless has the sting.

Spotify for iOS Spotify for Android

Apple Music for iOS Apple Music for Android

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