Apple Music vs. Spotify: which music app is greatest for you?

I’ve been a religious Spotify listener for years. All of the music and podcasts I would like are there, it’s what my associates use, and I couldn’t probably take care of the FOMO of not having a flowery Spotify Wrapped with my prime artists to put up on my social feeds on the finish of yearly. However then I listened to one among my favourite albums in Apple Music’s Spatial Audio, and for a brief jiffy, my world modified. Had I been lacking out this entire time?

To reply that query, I made Apple Music my main music streaming app for the higher half of some weeks. However whereas Apple’s audio service has quite a lot of huge benefits over Spotify and different widespread rivals, they merely weren’t sufficient for me to make the swap completely. Right here’s why.

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A number of weeks again when testing out the AirPods Max, I made a decision to fireplace up Apple Music to see how the corporate’s immersive 360-degree Spatial Audio tech held up on the high-end headphones. I used to be calmly bobbing my head to Turnstile’s “Glow On” — an album I’ve listened to dozens of occasions — when the hovering anthemic refrain of the blistering punk track “Limitless” all of the sudden hit me like a truck.

Not solely did Spatial Audio observe my head actions — maintaining every instrument in a set place as if I used to be at a stay live performance — it additionally highlighted vocal harmonies and small background instrumentation I by no means observed when listening on Spotify. I shortly grew to become obsessive about discovering out which of my favourite albums had been blended in Dolby Atmos for immersive spatial listening, and had a blast listening to every little thing from chill indie to explosive onerous rock from a brand new perspective.

In fact, you will want a supported pair of Apple headphones (such because the AirPods Professional, AirPods Max, AirPods 3 or Beats Match Professional) to reap the benefits of this perk. I discovered Spatial Audio to make a a lot larger distinction on the over-ear AirPods Max than on earbuds just like the Beats Match Professional, however the impact continues to be spectacular no matter what you’re sporting. The audio system on newer Mac fashions just like the 24-inch iMac and 14-inch MacBook Professional additionally assist Spatial Audio, however you gained’t get fairly the identical immersive head-tracked expertise.

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Even when you’re not a part of the AirPods military, Apple Music has one other huge benefit over Spotify: lossless and high-resolution audio. Lossless audio basically avoids quite a lot of the info loss that occurs when songs are compressed from their authentic supply, providing you with CD-quality sound from a digital file. Sure Apple Music albums even supply Hello-Res Lossless, which is an excellent richer audio decision that will get you that a lot nearer to studio high quality. On prime of all this, choose data can be found as Apple Digital Masters, which Apple says ship the “highest attainable high quality audio.”

This all implies that Apple Music ought to sound higher than Spotify for a lot of listeners, although your mileage could range. You’ll must put on wired headphones to reap the advantages of lossless audio, and even then, you’ll want a fairly discerning ear to note the variations. That stated, even when listening totally on wi-fi earbuds whereas utilizing an iPhone, I discovered that the majority songs sounded louder and brighter on Apple Music in comparison with Spotify.

Lossless audio is finally coming to Spotify by way of Spotify HiFi, however there nonetheless isn’t a transparent phrase on when. Rival app Tidal is famously identified for its Hello-Fi listening assist that begins in its $10 monthly plan, although you’ll must pay an expensive $20 monthly for entry to codecs like Dolby Atmos and Grasp High quality audio — two issues obtainable on Apple Music from the beginning. Tidal’s $20 HiFi Plus plan provides a wider total vary of audio codecs (together with Sony 360 Actuality Audio for these on Sony headphones and mega-high-quality 9216 kpbs tracks), however for folk who’ve a barely discerning ear, Apple Music provides rather a lot for the cash.

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Whereas I discover Spotify a lot simpler to navigate than Apple Music (extra on why later), the Apple Music app has a lot of small touches that make my inside music nerd blissful. Sure album pages function animated paintings, and a few are even accompanied by a full article that gives a deeper dive on the music straight from the artist. When searching an artist’s catalog, you’ll additionally see hyperlinks to any Apple Music Radio exhibits they’ve been featured on. As somebody who likes to geek out over their favourite bands, I used to be delighted to discover a full track-by-track breakdown on the album web page for Julien Baker’s “Little Oblivions,” or uncover a latest Radio interview that featured Turnstile diving into their new report.

Talking of which, Apple Music Radio is among the service’s greatest options. You’ll get stay radio exhibits from prime trade personalities like Zane Lowe and Ebro, in addition to no scarcity of on-demand interviews to find from artists huge and small. I haven’t dug too deep into the app’s Radio choices, however exhibits like After College Radio (that includes Blink 182’s personal Mark Hoppus) are sufficient to make me at the least verify in from time to time. Spotify provides auto-generated radio stations based mostly on particular artists and genres in addition to pre-recorded podcasts with songs blended in, nevertheless it doesn’t fairly have the identical sort of stay content material — or the identical huge names.

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Apple Music begins at $9.99 monthly, which is fairly customary for a music streaming service. Nevertheless it’s an particularly nice worth when you get an Apple One bundle, which will get you Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and iCloud+ with 50GB of storage for $14.99. If you happen to personal an Apple machine and plan on utilizing the corporate’s numerous subscription companies, it’s a no brainer.

Apple Music and Spotify’s household plans are typically comparable, letting as much as six customers share an account for $15 to $16 a month. However if you would like extra than simply music in your cash, Apple’s obtained the most effective deal out proper now.

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Right here’s the largest cause I couldn’t wait to get again to Spotify after just a few weeks of Apple Music: The latter simply doesn’t really feel as good to navigate. Whereas Apple Music has all of the music I would like, full with some sensible suggestions and curated playlists based mostly on my listening historical past, it makes it tougher for me to truly discover all that stuff. Whereas Spotify’s homepage exhibits me my six most up-to-date albums/playlists whereas nonetheless leaving room for suggestions and new releases, Apple Music options quite a lot of wasted house, with large blocks of paintings that require me to do quite a lot of scrolling earlier than I get to what I’m in search of. Doing every little thing from discovering a brand new launch playlist to easily hitting the “like” button on a track simply feels extra cumbersome in Apple’s app.

Music and podcasts in a single place

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I take heed to music and podcasts in fairly equal measure, and Spotify’s the one app of the 2 to supply each in a single place. I do know some of us wish to hold the 2 separate — and produce other podcast apps they swear by — however I a lot choose having a one-stop store for all my listening wants. Spotify does an excellent job surfacing new releases for each music and podcasts whereas making it straightforward to leap again into exhibits I’m in the course of listening to, whereas Apple Music listeners must look elsewhere. Contemplating that the Apple Music and Apple Podcast apps appear and feel nearly an identical, I can’t assist however surprise why they’re not rolled into one.

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Maybe the largest factor maintaining me on Spotify is the truth that practically all of my associates use it. I like having the ability to see what my buddies are listening to whereas on the desktop app, and nearly anytime anybody sends me a track, it’s a Spotify hyperlink. Extra crucially, I’ve a lot of collaborative playlists with associates that we’re all repeatedly including songs to as a way to present one another new stuff. That’s one thing you merely can’t do on Apple Music.

Spotify additionally has a lot of cool algorithmic options resembling Mix, which routinely creates a shared playlist between you and one other individual based mostly in your particular person listening habits. I discover its suggestion engine to be the most effective on the market, and have discovered a few of my favourite artists by way of each my Uncover Weekly playlist and the artist radio that auto-plays each time you end an album.

Lastly, I’m merely means too connected to my Spotify Wrapped, which is a year-end abstract of a person’s prime artists, songs and genres that you just’ve most likely seen plastered throughout your Instagram Tales on the finish of every 12 months. Apple provides the same year-in-review within the type of Apple Music Relay, nevertheless it’s not as widespread — and do you actually need to be the one individual in your social feed utilizing the off-brand model? It is perhaps a small self-importance factor, however as somebody who’s a geek for his or her music listening stats, Wrapped is one among a number of cool social instruments that retains me jamming out on Spotify.

Mike Andronico/CNN Underscored

I loved my time with Apple Music, and for lots of people — notably these with Apple headphones or of us with a discerning ear — it simply is perhaps the most effective music service on the market. It provides higher audio high quality for a similar value, and extras like Spatial Audio and its numerous stay radio stations are fairly nice. It’s additionally an excellent worth, particularly when you get it bundled with an Apple One subscription.

However after weeks of testing, the novelty of listening to an album in Dolby Atmos or studying just a few additional liner notes has worn off. I simply need an app that has all of the music and podcasts I would like in a single place, and Spotify continues to offer me precisely that, on prime of some nice suggestions and social options.

I can personally stay with barely decrease audio high quality in alternate for a helpful, clear interface and an ecosystem I’m already deeply invested in. Plus, it’s solely a matter of time earlier than Spotify HiFi will get right here. I’ll seemingly nonetheless pop into Apple Music from time to time to take a look at a brand new album in Spatial Audio or catch a radio interview with an artist I like, however in the case of day-to-day listening, Spotify is formally again in rotation. In spite of everything, I couldn’t probably wreck my listening stats earlier than Wrapped season.

Music library Greater than 90 million songs Greater than 82 million songs
Podcasts No Sure
Hello-Res/Lossless audio Sure Not but
Spatial Audio Sure No
Key supported units iOS, Android, Mac, Home windows, HomePod, CarPlay iOS, Android, Mac, Home windows, PlayStation, Xbox
Household plans 6 customers for $14.99 monthly 6 customers for $15.99 monthly; 2 customers for $12.99 monthly



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