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Apple Music vs Spotify Tech Review

Spotify versus Apple Music Op-Ed Image

Each generation has been plagued with its own set of debates; chocolate or vanilla, cats or dogs, Yanny or Laurel… For music lovers everywhere, the most significant debate has to be Spotify or Apple Music. Of course, nowadays there are so many streaming services that it’s hard to keep track. Apple Music and Spotify however, are arguably the most popular. Let’s delve into what makes a music streaming service great.

Affordability

Regarding price, Apple and Spotify are pretty much equal. Both companies offer a subscription for $10 a month, which also happens to be the general price provided amongst their competitors. In order to attract more customers, both streaming services also offer a family plan which is priced at $15 for six accounts. If you do the math, or don’t, because I did it for you, this deal is extremely reasonable considering it comes out to $2.50 an account. They both have special offers for students as well, which is half the price of their regular subscription. However, Spotify’s student subscription also comes with a Hulu and Showtime subscription. Although Apple Music offers a three-month free trial which attracts many customers, it is missing a critical component that Spotify has: the ability to use the service for free (with ads). This proves to be a very popular option among those who don’t want to spend on a streaming service.

Winner: Spotify

Music Discovery

With the number of songs released daily it’s tough to keep up, not only with new music, but with new artists as well.  Thanks to technology and social media it is no longer just about what is playing on the radio. To make the process of discovering new songs easier, many streaming services develop playlists based off of what you like and what you’ve been listening to. Once you have signed up for Apple Music, they ask you a series of questions about your preferences to best understand your taste. They then have a special team put together unique playlists based off of your choices.

Apple Music also has Beats 1 Radio which not only contributes to music discovery for many individuals, but also has exclusive shows such as Nicki Minaj’s “Queen” Radio. Spotify, on the other hand, has carefully developed algorithms which produce numerous playlists for every Spotify user based on what they listen to. Every Monday, Spotify will add a playlist to your page titled “Discover Weekly” which has songs based off of what you’ve been listening to, and what people who have a similar taste in music have been listening to. Additionally, once a playlist that you’ve created ends, Spotify’s radio feature will start to autoplay songs that are similar to what was on the playlist (this is the default, but it can be turned off). It also creates a number of daily mixes separated by genre of artists and songs you listen to. Even though I do believe that personal selection offers great benefits for customers in most cases, the algorithms at Spotify are light years ahead of the teams built at Apple Music.

Winner: Spotify

User Experience

In terms of user interface, both services are well constructed. Apple allows you to use Siri to control your music through your iPhone or Macbook. The app is straightforward and is designed to make sure users can access music without significantly reducing their data. Yet, the user experience for Apple customers differs greatly from the user experience for Android customers. The Android version is simple to understand but doesn’t allow for the use of the Siri feature.

In this aspect, Spotify is more solid across the board. It isn’t quite as straightforward as Apple’s layout, but once you know how it works, you will be able to efficiently use it regardless of device. Spotify is well ahead of Apple Music socially as well. It allows for the collaboration and sharing of playlists, and it can even connect to the popular dating app, Tinder. The app also gives you recommendations on concerts nearby and artist merchandise you may be interested in. If you are on the app while you are listening to your music, Spotify allows you to read Genius ‘behind the lyrics’ annotations, or watch exclusive video clips solely produced for that particular song on Spotify.

Winner: Spotify


For techies, there are an abundant number of factors that you can continue to compare. However for music loving college students, I narrowed it down to what I felt where the most important. Amongst the factors of affordability, music discovery, and user experience, Spotify wins across the board.

I am in no way trying to demean the quality of Apple Music, but rather show you that Spotify is arguably the much better option. At the end of the day, some people still hear Laurel, others still (for some reason unknown to me) prefer chocolate, so it is ultimately up to you to decide which service you invest in. I’m just saying, if you’re not a Spotify user now, you most definitely will be at some point.

Tech Review By: Simran Banga

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