Apple Music vs. Spotify Buyer's Guide

Apple Music and Spotify overwhelmingly dominate the music streaming space, but the two services offer surprisingly different experiences despite their competitive pricing, so which is best?

Apple Music vs Spotify Feature 1
While Spotify has been around for longer than ‌Apple Music‌, both services are now very widely adopted. ‌Apple Music‌ and Spotify have similar libraries with over 100 million songs, with features like personalized playlists, live lyrics, collaboration, crossfade, and SharePlay support, making it all the more difficult to choose between them. Read on for a detailed comparison to help you choose the music streaming service that's best for you.

‌Apple Music‌ Spotify
Advanced library management, allowing users to curate a collection of music with a wide range of sorting options No "library;" add songs to a playlist of liked tracks instead
Basic music discovery algorithm Advanced music discovery algorithm
Limited personalization comprising "New Music Mix," "Get Up Mix," "Chill Mix," and a personal radio station Personalized mixes including "Release Radar," "Discover Weekly," and "Tastebreakers," in addition to thousands of algorithmic playlists that are tailored to the user
Emphasis on human-curated playlists, with limited use of algorithmic playlists Emphasis on advanced algorithmic playlists
Occasionally offers exclusive releases from major artists
Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos for a virtual surround sound experience with supported songs
Lossless Audio up to 24-bit/192 kHz
Apple Digital Masters specification
‌Apple Music‌ 1, ‌Apple Music‌ Hits, and ‌Apple Music‌ Country radio with live DJs, interviews, specials and show archive
In-app music videos
In-app podcasts and audiobooks
‌Apple Music‌ Classical app based on Primephonic
‌Apple Music‌ Sing karaoke experience
Limited social sharing options Comprehensive social sharing options, such as the ability to see what friends are listening to in real-time
‌Apple Music‌ Replay year-long retrospective experience with limited social media support Spotify Wrapped end-of-year retrospective experience with better social media support
Closely integrated with the Apple ecosystem, including Apple TV, HomePod, Vision Pro, Siri, and Apple Fitness+
Available on all Apple devices and Android, as well as some games consoles and TVs Available across a wide range of devices, including non-Apple ones, but no support for Vision Pro
Known for user-friendly, cross-platform design
Ability to control Spotify on one device from another
Integration with existing iTunes libraries, allowing users to merge a personal music collection with the streaming library and upload and stream tracks that aren't in the ‌Apple Music‌ library Ability to play local audio files
Listen to ‌Apple Music‌ 1, ‌Apple Music‌ Hits, or ‌Apple Music‌ Country for free Full library access and shuffled playlists with ads for free
Individual subscription: $10.99/month
Student subscription: $5.99/month
Family subscription: $16.99/month
Individual subscription: $10.99/month
Student subscription: $5.99/month
"Duo" household subscription: $14.99/month
Family subscription: $16.99/month
Included in all Apple One subscription bundle tiers

Both ‌Apple Music‌ and Spotify boast extensive music libraries, sophisticated personalization features, and comparable subscription models, but the nuances of their offerings cater to slightly different audiences. When choosing between the services, you should decide which of the two following groups you fall into.

‌Apple Music‌ touts a seamless and feature-rich listening experience for Apple device users, offering particular advantages to those who are heavily embedded in Apple's ecosystem. The service is particularly appealing to audiophiles and those invested in high-quality audio, thanks to features like Lossless Audio and Spatial Audio. ‌Apple Music‌'s exclusive content, such as live radio shows and the ‌Apple Music‌ Classical app, provides unique value to those seeking more than just a vast music library. ‌Apple Music‌ is the preferred choice for users who appreciate the convenience of ‌Siri‌ integration, conventional library management, the ability to merge their own music library with the streaming service, and who are possibly already subscribed to other Apple services, making the ‌Apple One‌ bundle an attractive proposition.

Spotify, on the other hand, excels in music discovery and social sharing. Its sophisticated algorithms that power features like Discover Weekly and Release Radar are unmatched for surfacing new music tailored to the listener's tastes. Spotify's cross-platform design and compatibility with a wide range of devices make it a versatile option for users with a diverse range of hardware. The service's superior social features, such as the ability to see what friends are listening to in real-time, enrich the music discovery process. Spotify is the go-to choice for users who value these social and discovery aspects highly, as well as those who appreciate the option of a free, ad-supported tier.

Which music streaming service do you prefer and why? Let us know in the comments.

Top Rated Comments

ofarlig Avatar
3 weeks ago
I am trying Apple Music again on their free trial and it is astonishing how terrible it is. There’s small hiccups in the audio playback quite often (as in every third song), hard to find anything to listen to unless I search for every song myself and manually add it to a playlist, lacking the big library of original live sessions that Spotify has, no direct to device streaming like Spotify Connect.

Honestly it feels like a beta and many many years behind Spotify as a music streaming service, I won’t continue paying for it after the free trial and delete the app and use Spotify again instead.

Apple’s services really feel like a compromise these days, Music is the same as Maps, sure it technically does what it says it will but it does it substantially worse than the competition did it 10 years ago.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kraszim Avatar
3 weeks ago
I switched to Spotify due to:
- Superior interface on desktop
- Broader library of music, with both more independent artists and some game soundtracks missing from Apple.
- Apple had no localized playlists. For instance all christmass music playlists were filled with US songs. Spotify has one made specifically for my country additionally to more international ones.
- Spotify music discovery actually suggests good stuff
- Ability to control music playback on mac using spotify on phone
What I miss
- Lossless quality
- Desktop Spotify has no AirPlay support, sucks with homepods
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
3 weeks ago
I occasionally try Apple Music again with one of those what seems to be endless trials but I just can’t get used to something as basic as the white on pink UI and I also need something like „Spotify Connect“. I like how you can open the App on one device to control the music on another device without pausing what you are actually doing on this device. On Apple Music you simply get a message like „we detected that you already listen to music on another device, do you want to pause it“.

I am also just too used to my curated playlists like every Friday it’s like „yay my Viva Latino or Release Radar has been updated. Let’s hear what’s new!“ Playlists in general don’t seem to be localized for a specific market / country on Apple Music. There are literally playlists for each Country on Spotify and it’s great.

But the biggest issue why I can’t use Apple Music is that I have two AppleIDs and every time I need to switch for a moment to the other one, it wipes my whole offline music! No go.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sgo Avatar
3 weeks ago
You missed some facts.

Apple Music does have audiobooks. Maybe not as many (?) but it does have them. In my experience mainly für Kids. But enough that there are dedicated apps for that.

Also, very important in my eyes, Spotify also doesn’t offer Siri / HomePod integration. Out of spite.

Oh, and Spotify pays its artists less.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
3 weeks ago

Obviously Apple Music because of CarPlay. Also the separation of Classical and Apple Music now where you can enable playback of lossless music from both as well as Spatial Audio tracks or Albums.
That’s not really a reason though. Spotify also works on CarPlay including Siri
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AndiG Avatar
3 weeks ago
This is a simple question. Spotify wins since it isn‘t tied to Apple. No matter what platform or device, I’m almost sure, Spotify will work. I have no worries and I’m not locked in, into Apples ecosystem - this is a huge benefit.

Same is also true for AppleTV. For Netflix, Prime, younameit , I just need a browser and i’m good to go.

Same is true for all Apple services. Try to listen to Apple Music or connect to iCloud storage on Linux, you will fail. Apple services on Windows were always a bad experience.

If Apple would follow the Microsoft approach to try to deliver the best experience on every platform, also Apple services would be welcome. But as long as Apples business model is to „lock customers in and lock competition out“, my advise is to ignore Apple services wherever and whenever you can.
Therefore I like to use Spotify on my iPhone and in my car and I know that if I‘m going to buy another brand tomorrow, I have no worries.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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