Ever since Apple re-launched its flagship music service Apple Music in 2015, numerous analysts have predicted that they are poised to knock Spotify off the top spot in music streaming. But which one is better for the average user? With Spotify’s user base standing in excess of 75 million members, their position seems assured. However, Apple has a reputation for entering and reinventing markets and being the creator of the iPod, the device which transformed the music industry.
In this article we take a look at the difference between the two pieces of software so that you can work out which is best suited for you.
How Old Are They?
Spotify is a Swedish company, based in Stockholm. They launched their music streaming app in October of 2008, initially just for users in Sweden, but expanding to the UK the next year. Spotify didn’t enter the US market until 2011.
Apple Music on the other hand began life as Beats Music in 2014, shortly after Apply acquired Dr. Dre’s Beats headphone line. The acquisition cost the tech giant $3 billion. Apple re-launched Beats Music as Apple Music during their annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WDC) in June 2015.
In the wake of Apple’s announcement, Spotify released updated active user figures. In June 2015 they counted over 75 million total users, of which over 20 million were paid subscribers. By comparison, Beats Music had just 111,000 subscribers at the time Apple acquired the company.
Today Spotify counts 100 million total subscribers, with 60 million being paid subscribers. For Apple Music, every Apple user has an account, but their number of paid subscribers stands at 27 million.
When it comes to the quality of the audio itself, Spotify have a clear advantage. They offer three possible quality options, normal (96kbps), high (160kbs), and extreme (320kbps). Apple on the other hand, offers just two options which are regular (128kbps) and high (256kbps). The average listener probably won’t be able to detect the difference between the two, but for those who are particular about audio quality, Spotify is the clear winner.
Both Spotify and Apple Music offer the same features around the music streaming service. For example, both have a ‘radio’ mode that is designed to provide the user with music the app thinks they will like based on their previous listening choices.
Spotify has a large number of curated playlists available for listeners. Some of these are put together by Spotify staff, others are put together by guest musicians. Apple Music, on the other hand has a live DJ feature where special guests host a live show where they curate the music. These are then released as playlists afterwards. Users who are already using an Apple device, such as an iPhone, will find the integration beneficial. By buying an iPod a few generations old you can save some money and still land yourself a decent phone. Check out this review from Argyll Free Press for a review of the iPod 6.
Both Apple Music and Spotify do what they set out of to do very well; users of Apple Music will appreciate the integration with iTunes that it has to offer, while those who are looking for the best quality audio experience would be better off going with Spotify.