By Megan Chang, staff writer
A long-standing feud that has driven friends and family into raging debates: Spotify or Apple Music—sorry, Pandora.The competition between these two rivalries is intense, as Spotify has a family of 130 million subscribers and Apple has 70 million users. With quarantine, music serves as a bigger outlet than ever, whether that be relief or creativity.
Today we are here to add more fuel to the fire, comparing the two in a classic pro/con list.
A major pro for both platforms is that the simple interface makes it easy to create playlists, find artists, look for recommended songs or artists and find friends online to hear what they’re listening to. Appearance wise, it depends on the individual’s preferred aesthetic, as many people who prefer Apple Music enjoy it’s sleek white color scheme, describing it to be “clean-looking.” Kaitlynn Tucker, Maria Carrillo High School senior, agrees, saying, “the appearance of it is definitely nicer and it is more organized.” On the other hand, Spotify users find the black and darker themed configuration to be just as sleek and easier on the eyes at night, but what most Spotify users may not realize is that Apple Music also offers a dark mode.
Spotify operates a freemium model, which is another pro, as users who join have the option of upgrading to Spotify Premium or staying at the free tier. With Premium, paid subscribers can listen to their music without ad interruptions, offline and at a higher-quality recording.
For Apple Music, there is no option to listen free besides the free three-month trial. Apple Music offers the same benefits as Spotify Premium with no ads and offline listening. A pro is that Apple Music has what is called Beats 1 Radio that broadcasts music from all over the world from DJs in real time, convenient for users who are in the mood for exploring new music.
But in terms of broadening your music taste, Spotify wins with its algorithms. The platform curates special playlists based around your most listened to artists, saved songs, and recent favorites. These tailored playlists like your Daily Mixes, Release Radar, Tastebreakers, Discover Weekly, On Repeat, or Top Favorites from a certain year, capture a wide variation of music. Personally, as a Spotify user who tested Apple Music for a trial period, I found Apple Music’s curation to be lacking in comparison to Spotify: I didn’t enjoy the majority of songs they had recommended.
In terms of prices, Spotify Premium runs at the cost of $9.99 a month or $4.99 a month for students; this is the same for Apple Music.
Both platforms have various ways to interact with friends. Apple Music allows users to create profiles where friends can find one another and share playlists or see what everyone is currently listening to. Spotify has a similar feature where desktop users can see the current song friends are playing. There is also a collaboration option for both Spotify and Apple Music users where friends can both add music to one playlist. Carrillo Senior Esther Beaulac believes Spotify is the superior music streaming platform because she likes “how you can follow your friends and see what they are listening to and collaborate on playlists.” She also notes for her personally, “it is easier to use.” As for myself, during my testing period of Apple Music, I preferred Apple Music’s follower system. Users set up a contact profile where friends could reach out and add you, synching your device’s contacts and even Facebook friends; this is opposed to searching for individual usernames on Spotify, which is often tedious.
In terms of connecting with artists, Apple Music has a feature called “Connect” where artists can share photos, videos and lyrics to their audience. This cultivation of a relationship is more in-depth than Spotify’s features where users can read about an artist’s background or check to see if the artist is playing at local concerts near them.
With connectivity and device compatibility, Apple Music requires an Apple ID no matter what device it is streamed on–iOS or Android. For computers and laptops, Spotify has a desktop app, along with an open browser platform, and Apple Music has iTunes, which is also downloadable for both Windows and Mac.
With the current COVID-19 lockdown, according to Forbes Magazine, Apple Music plans on expanding their streaming services in 52 additional countries. Along with this, they are offering 6 months of a free trial to these locations. It totals their outreach to 167 countries, while Spotify falls behind, only serving 80 countries worldwide.
When asked if quarantine has increased their music usage, both Apple Music and Spotify fans agree: Beaulac responds “Yes, 100%” and Tucker says “Yes, for sure.”
All in all, for a great music listening experience, either platform will serve that purpose. Because it depends on preferences and subtle nuances, the great debate will feud on: which do you think is the superior music streaming platform?