Which is better Apple Music or Spotify?


My musical taste has always been under scrutiny by anyone who rides in the car with me. On any given day, my music library could play the likes of Nelly, followed by 2Pac, Michael Jackson, then John Mayer, and sprinkle in some country too. I call it eclectic, but others just call me confused. All that considered, I enjoy music very much and consider it vital to my existence, especially in the car. I used to be the guy who would be browsing through hundreds of CDs at the stoplight trying to find the right album. My history of music follows all the major trends as I was never afraid to adopt the latest craze. In high school it was all CDs and Napster.

The classic medium

It wasn’t until college that I got my first iPod, but I didn’t really jump in completely at first. I had an older car with an aftermarket stereo, so I was limited to options at the time. My favorite thing was the MP3 CD where you could load up a regular CD with 100-200 songs opposed to the traditional 15 or so songs.

“A Junkie’s Lament”

Spotify was my first venture into streaming music, since I had such a large catalog of ripped CDs and other songs, I always had a lot of music locally on my iPhone.

“So I can search for and listen to any song in the world?”

I was invited to try Spotify when they launch in the US by a friend and within minutes I was completely consumed. I thought to myself, “So I can search for and listen to any song in the world?” – it was like someone had downloaded 20 million songs onto my computer and actually organized them properly. After a few weeks, I became a Spotify junkie. Telling all my family and friends, I was like a brand ambassador, it was the greatest thing since iTunes!

“Kiss on my List”

I would spends hours making playlists for me, and public playlists for others.

The original playlist

After two years with Spotify, I had about 65 playlists that I would listen to regularly. These ranged from playlists with 20-30 songs based around a theme, up to genre based playlists with over 1,000 songs. The way I used Spotify almost all the time was open the app, select a playlist, and shuffle.

“I’ll Try Something New”

Using Spotify for over two years was great, but due to lack of innovation, the experience got stale. I was looking for something new, and a better way to find new music. One of the things that annoyed me about Spotify was their shuffle algorithm. I would shuffle a large playlist and after less than 50 plays, I would hear a repeated song. Also, the radio function was not smart enough for me. If I played ‘John Mayer Radio’ Spotify would play John Mayer songs and other songs that were popular when he was at his peak. Just because two songs are popular at the same time doesn’t mean I would like it. For these reasons, I was looking for something innovative.

“Block Rockin’ Beats”

Prior to the Apple acquisition I went ahead and gave Beats Music a try. They were new and had a different approach to streaming music plus discovery. I wasn’t very impressed by the interface and the library was about the same. Because I was already heavily invested in Spotify, the trial did not last long and I cancelled my account.

“Public Service Announcement”

Apple Music was announced at WWDC 2015, but was long rumored before that. Almost everyone watching the WWDC keynote knew eventually Apple would debut their new streaming service. I watched closely hanging on to every word that Tim Cook and company said as I was very excited to have an integrated music platform. After the announcement, we were left with not a whole lot of information about how it actually worked. Over the next four weeks more details would emerge and by the time launch day came, I was ready to make the move. Initially I didn’t cancel my Spotify account but the way my billing worked out, there was a three-week overlap.

“Don’t Look Back”

Here’s the thing, I had both Apple Music and Spotify installed on my iPhone, iPad, and all my computers, but not once did I open Spotify and play music. I jumped in head first and never looked back. I enrolled in the family sharing plan so my wife can share for less per month. Everyday I would ask her if she has tried Apple Music yet, as she was also a Spotify-lover.

“Nothing Compares 2 U”

Everyone always asks, what are the differences between Apple Music and any other product? Well, not a whole lot…

Apple Music feels clunky and doesn’t have much of a flow.

Firstly, Spotify is more playlist driven where Apple Music is just like iTunes before it, everything centers around ‘My Music’ which is your library. Both Apple Music and your local songs are added to iCloud Music Library which can be streamed from anywhere. On Spotify your local songs remain local to that computer and need to be synced over Wi-Fi before you can take them with you. Coming from Spotify I had a difficult time with the library portion because I could make a playlist without having to add the songs to my library. Apple Music automatically adds songs you add to a playlist to your library and vice versa when you subscribe to a playlist, those songs magically appear in your library. This can become annoying if you like a lot of playlists. Both Spotify & Apple Music have a vast selection of songs you can stream (~ 30 million) but notable albums are missing from Spotify, Taylor Swift & Dr. Dre to name a few.

The biggest and most glaring difference is the user interface and user experience. Apple Music feels clunky and doesn’t have much of a flow. Spotify’s UI & UX have been perfected over the years and has logical flow mixed with modern design.

Spotify Pros

They newly redesigned Spotify logo

Here is my straight-forward list of where Spotify has Apple Music beat:

  • User interface & user experience
  • Playlist creation and organization
  • Social integration with Facebook
    • I can see what my friends are listening to real-time and even listen to their playlists
  • An app for almost every platform, including the web

Pro Apple Music

The Apple Music App Icon

This is what makes Apple Music a better choice over Spotify:

  • Integration with iOS
    • Siri, searching, and auto listening are much better
  • Beats 1 live radio station
  • Curated playlists based on artist preference and listening history
  • Exclusive releases
  • Local / purchased music integration into iCloud
  • Displaying album art
  • Family-share pricing

“In The End”

I’m slightly partial to Apple Music over my beloved Spotify because of the ‘Pros’ list above. It’s the simple things that make it a must-have for me. For example, the fact that I can get in my car and it actually plays music instead of fumbling with Spotify, waiting for it to load and then trying to play some random song I wasn’t listening to, that’s huge. I can see Apple Music being bigger with people who already have extensive iTunes libraries that they purchased over the years, it’s so simple to have all your music everywhere. After testing some of the new features Apple is working on with iOS 9 and Apple Music I can see that are headed in the right direction. It won’t be long before other streaming services are trying to catch up to what Apple is doing.  BB