Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Apple Music or Spotify? Which Music Streaming Service to Choose


Both Spotify and Apple Music are both terrific music streaming services. But if you have to choose just one, which will it be?

The real truth is that when it comes to picking a music streaming service, you have several excellent options. These include Google Play Music and Amazon Music, along with Tidal or even Pandora if you’re in the US. Now there’s even a new one called Qobuz. But the kings on top of the heap are these two names: Spotify and Apple Music. Critics tend to classify these two music streaming services as a cut above the rest. 

While both of them are great, they’re not quite the same. Here are some key differences that can help you decide which one is best for your personal needs. 

Apple Music vs. Spotify


Apple Music



$10 a month, but for students, it’s $5

$10 a month, but for students, it’s $5

Family Plan

$15 for up to 6 family members

$15 for up to 6 family members

Free Use

Beats1 Radio

Free tier with ads

Free Trial Period

3 months

3 months

Streaming Quality

256kbps, AAC

320kbps, Ogg Vorbis or AAC

Music Library

50 million songs

50 million songs


You can see quite a lot of similarities in the overview. They both cost the same, even for students or for a family of 6. They have the same time frame for the free trial, and they have roughly the same size for their music library. Pay up, and you can listen to any song in the library whenever you want. You can even listen to them when you’re offline. 

Streaming Quality

The difference in the stream quality is also minor and virtually indistinguishable. That’s especially true when you get a premium subscription. There’s really not much of a difference between 256kbps and 32kbps. If you can hear a difference and this is really bothering you, you may want to switch to Tidal instead as it offers high-quality lossless streaming. 

Navigation and Interface

Both are easy to navigate or use. They both have the main tabs at the bottom, while Spotify offers a black look, and Apple Music is white. Both let you see the lyrics if they’re available. Apple Music lets you type a phrase in the lyrics to find the title of the song, but Spotify doesn’t. However, Spotify sometimes plays full-screen short videos and animations while you’re enjoying the music. 

You can listen to and control both Apple Music and Spotify with Google Maps. Waze has a similar feature, but only for Spotify. However, with CarPlay support, Apple Music for Android can now work with Android Auto. 

Apple Music or Spotify? Which Music Streaming Service to Choose


Key Differences Between Spotify and Apple Music

Free Options: Better with Spotify

With Apple Music, you have no choice but to listen to Beats1 Radio. That is, your other choice is to listen to your own iTunes library. You’re not getting much when you’re not willing to pay. 

On the other hand, freeloaders get a lot more with Spotify. You can still listen to various playlists and albums. It’s just that these songs are in shuffle mode, instead of in the order you want. You can only skip to the next song 6 times each hour. 

Music Selection: Better with Apple Music

Yes, they both have 50 million songs in their music libraries. Every now and then, both Apple Music and Spotify let you listen to an album ahead of everybody else. But Apple Music may have exclusive deals for particular music videos. 

Apple also lets you store up to 100,000 songs in the cloud, and you can listen to them with all your devices. You just have to turn on the iCloud Music Library in Apple Music. You can also match songs in your music library with songs in the iTunes catalog, and uploads the songs when they’re not available. This iTunes Match feature is available for $25 a year, even if you don’t have a subscription to Apple Music.

Spotify doesn’t store songs in the cloud. While you can use the Spotify app to play the music on your device, it only works with local files.

Listening Opportunities: Better with Spotify

You can get both on Android and iOS, and you have desktop apps for Windows and Mac for both. You can listen to both on your browser or stream the music to a Bluetooth wireless speaker. You can stream to a Chromecast speaker from an Android device, or to an AirPlay speaker from an iOS device. Both work with Siri and also work with all the Echo smart speakers from Amazon using the Alexa app. 

However, with Spotify, you also get compatibility with Google smart speakers. If your device is compatible with Spotify Connect, you can then use the Spotify app to control the playback with that device. You can even get Spotify to work with your PlayStation or Xbox. 

Musical Discoveries: Better with Spotify

The problem with the death of radio and MTV is that it’s a bit more difficult now to find new music. These days, Nirvana would have had more trouble breaking through. However, both Apple Music and Spotify have the ability to assess your favorite songs and then introduce you to new songs that are similar. 

Apple Music has tailored playlists like New Music Mix. With Spotify, you have Release Radar and Discover Weekly. This means you find new songs each week that may appeal to your tastes, based on your favorite genres and the songs you like or dislike. 

However, Spotify seems more spot-on with their recommendations based on the algorithms it uses. But Apple Music does have the Beats1 Radio, with human DJs curating songs for you to discover. 

Sharing Music: Better with Apple Music

Both let you follow artists and friends. This means you’re updated on what your favorite artists are releasing, while you’re aware of what your friends are listening to. But on the whole, artists tend to be more active in posting updates on Apple Music. It’s also easier to find profiles in Apple Music. 


If you don’t want to pay, go with Spotify. Spotify is also better when you use many different devices for music. But if you’re an Apple fan then clearly, you’ll want to go with Apple Music. But if your device works with either Spotify or Apple Music, choose one based on the key differences. 

John Diep
John Diep
Founder, Editor-In-Chief // A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, ICANN, and Raytheon. A mentor at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Entrepreneur School, Dr. David Choi. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; and invested in some. // Let's Connect:


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