September 22, 2022
In this day and age, pretty much the only way to listen to music is through streaming apps. Soundcloud, Amazon Music, and even Pandora are all apps that provide a well-rounded selection of music, but the two most popular in my mind are Spotify and Apple Music.
So that begs the question: which app is the better option?
Starting with pricing, both Apple Music and Spotify Premium have the same price of $9.99 per month, making them equally priced for ad-free listening. But Spotify also offers a free version whereas Apple Music does not. And while the features of Spotify’s free version are far more limited, the option is available.
Spotify also offers a joint “Duo” subscription plan for $12.99 per month for two accounts, a plan that Apple Music does not offer. Additionally, Spotify’s student plan is one dollar cheaper than Apple Music’s; $4.99 per month vs $5.99 per month respectively.
Apple Music, however, does offer a family plan for $14.99 for 6 accounts while Spotify offers the same deal for $15.99. All in all pricing-wise, because they have a wider variety of payment plans, I believe that Spotify wins this round.
While the layout may be considered too subjective to compare the two, I believe that it can make or break an app.
When you open the Spotify app, there are three tabs at the bottom: ‘Home’, ‘Search’, and ‘Your Library’. The home screen greets you with content centered around yourself, the user. Whether it be you ‘Recently Played’, your ‘Top Mixes’, or the ‘Made For’ section, which curates music to your own listening activity. Only after you scroll past those sections do you get further recommendations from the app’s pre-made playlists.
There is then the search section which showcases different genres, radio stations, curated playlists, charts, podcasts, audiobooks, live events, etc. You can then move over to your library, where you will find your personal playlists along with your liked playlists, liked songs, and podcasts, along with the profiles of artists you follow. Apple Music’s layout is formatted a bit differently.
When opening Apple Music, there are five tabs at the bottom: ‘Listen Now’, ‘Browse’, ‘Radio’, ‘Library’, and ‘Search’. Under ‘Listen Now’ you’ll first find your ‘Top Picks’ from the app, after which you will see your ‘Recently Played’. After an onslaught of playlists and radio recommendations, you’ll find a section that shows what your friends have been listening to along with friend recommendations.
The ‘Browse’ tab highlights new music releases, artist interviews, pre-made mood playlists, charts, and other discovery recommendations. The ‘Radio’ section, true to its name offers radio stations for different artists and genres, along with more exclusive shows and artist interviews. The ‘Library’ and ‘Search’ sections are virtually the same as Spotify’s, with the Library showcasing personal and playlists, songs, albums, etc. The search engine again depicts different genres, and moods, with the absence of audiobooks and podcasts. The two layouts may be different, but they both provide the user with more than enough music choices and options.
That being said, I personally prefer the Spotify layout, as the three bottom tabs make it easier to navigate and less cluttered on each page.
Over the past few years, music artists have been more vocal about the amount of money they are paid from music apps. When comparing the two, the differences between Spotify and Apple music were apparent.
Sorry Spotify users, but Apple Music wins this category by a landslide. Apple Music claims that they pay an average of $0.01 per play, while Spotify falls flat with $0.0033 - $0.0054 per play. The difference is major, and Apple Music is the better option in this sense.
When it comes to music options and availability, there is actually a major difference between the two streaming apps. This is another category that Apple Music easily takes.
Currently, Spotify has a library of around 70 million songs, short of Apple Music’s 90 million songs. Spotify offers exclusives such as their ‘Spotify Singles’, where artists either re-record a new version of one of their songs or record a cover of another artist’s, but that doesn’t mean that Apple Music doesn’t have their own exclusive content too. All in all, Apple Music provides more availability music-wise.
Yet socially, Spotify easily wins over Apple Music. Spotify is currently the only app between the two that supports collaborative playlists. Spotify also has the ‘Blend’ feature, which allows you to invite up to 10 friends onto a unique, daily-refreshing playlist crafted by the Spotify algorithm. And of course, who can forget the magical week in December when everybody you know is posting their Spotify Wrapped to their Instagram story? Although Apple Music tried to replicate this with their own end-of-year Rewind, nothing could beat Spotify’s advantages in the social category.
Apple Music and Spotify are the two leading apps for music streaming for a reason, and you can’t go wrong with either service. But if you need a definitive answer between the two, I would lean towards Spotify. They offer more pricing options, an easy-to-navigate layout, podcast and audiobook options, and well-rounded social features. Apple Music may have its advantages at times, but Spotify seems to be the superior music streaming service.
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Lucy Hanlon is a junior at Lake Forest High School and is excited to be a first-time writer for The Forest Scout! If she’s not playing soccer or golfing…
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