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Apple Music or Spotify: Side by Side Comparison

Spotify vs Apple Music

With the rapid growth of streaming services like Spotify which has dramatically changed the way consumers perceive buying and consuming music, Apple’s once great iTunes business model has been in decline for years. It is imperative for Apple to move into the music streaming space. Apple Music emerges in response to this situation. Since the release of Apple Music, it continues to get more popular, which seems like one of the most compelling rivals yet for Spotify. Now, let's us make a side by side comparison bewteen Apple Music and Spotify to see which one is better for you.

First, let us look the  quick guide to the differences and similarities of Apple Music and Spotify.

  Apple Music Logo Spotify Logo
Founded June 30, 2015, WWDC 2015 October 2008, Stolkholm
Monthly fee $9.99, £9.99, AU$11.99 $9.99, £9.99, AU$11.99
Family plan $14.99 per month for six accounts $5 per month per additional user
Free trial period 3 months 30 days
Availblility 108 countries 58 + many territories
Number of users 15 million, but only 6.5 million paying as of October 2015 75 million+ users, 20 million+ paying subscribers (June 2015)
Music library size 30 million+ 30 million+
Sound quality (free) 256 Kbps in AAC 96 Kbps, 160 Kbps in Ogg
Sound quality (Premium) 256 Kbps in AAC 320 Kbps in Ogg
Platforms Mac, iOS, Windows (via iTunes), Apple TV, Android Windows, Mac, PlayStation 3 and up, Android, iOS, Windows Phone
Offline listening Yes, with paid subscription Yes, with paid subscription

1. Apple Music vs Spotify: Price

Firstly, the monthly fee of an individual account to subscribe Apple Music and Spotify is the same: $9.99, £9.99, AU$11.99. But Apple has the better price for large families than Spotify which charges an additional $5 per user on top of the $9.99 monthly rate (Apple Music’s $15 a month for six accounts vs Spotify’s $30 for five accounts). If you don’t want to pay for streaming music and you’re OK with ads, you’d better stay with Spotify, which offers a free ad-supported tier. Besides, both services offer a free trial period: 3 months for Apple Music and 30 days for Spotify.

Suggestion: Spotify for individual users and Apple Music for families

2. Apple Music vs Spotify: Music Quality

Apple Music has a single standardized 256 kbps sound option, in AAC format, whether you are paid user or free user. Spotify, on the other hand, separates its sound quality according to whether you are paid user or not: 96 kbps and 160 kbps on its free version, and 320 kbps on the paid version. Some people may draw the conclusion that the Spotify Premium version offers better quality music than Apple Music. In fact, it is a misunderstanding. Apple Music is streamed at 256Kbps in AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format, while Spotify offers the Ogg Vorbis format at 320Kbps. The two compression formats aren't directly comparable by bit rate alone.

Suggestion: Which one is better is up to your ears.

Spotify Apple Music

3. Apple Music vs Spotify: Music Discovery

Both Apple Music and Spotify try to understand your music preferences to serve up recommendations, but they work in different ways. Apple Music uses the Beats Music recommendation engine to learn what you like and continually find new suggestions. The "For You" tab will fill up with constantly evolving recommendations according to your favorite artists and genres. Unlike the prominent “For You” section of Apple Music, the Spotify’s Discover section is buried in the Browse tab, which tailors recommendations based on your listening history.

Suggestion: In Spotify, list 20 albums and be familiar with only 6 of those 20. In Apple Music, list mainstream artists such as Coldplay, Elvis Presley, and Robert Johnson.

4. Apple Music vs Spotify: Radio

Apple Music wants to make a big splash in radio. Apple Music will offer Beats 1, streaming from London, New York and Los Angeles. The Beats 1 promises to be an always-live radio station where DJs will broadcast around the clock not only to play great music, but also to discuss what's hot in music and music culture and offer exclusive interviews.

Spotify, does not have live radio, but it enables you to create stations based on your favorite artists, genres, songs, playlists or albums, and the service will find songs to match. These radio stations are the top priorities of Spotify now.

Suggestion: If you are fond of listening Radio, Apple Music is your top choice.

Apple Music Spotify Radio


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