Apple

What is the best streaming service? – The Forest Scout

Nowadays, almost the only way to listen to music is through streaming apps. Soundcloud, Amazon Music, and even Pandora are all apps that provide a well-rounded selection of music, but the two most popular in my opinion are Spotify and Apple Music.

So the question arises: which app is the better option?

Pricing:

Starting with pricing, Apple Music and Spotify Premium are priced the same at $9.99 per month, making them the same for ad-free listening. But Spotify also offers a free version, while Apple Music doesn’t. And while the features of the free version of Spotify are much more limited, the option is there.

Spotify also offers a joint subscription plan “Duo” for $12.99 per month for two accounts, a plan that Apple Music does not offer. Additionally, Spotify’s student plan is a dollar cheaper than Apple Music’s; $4.99 per month vs. $5.99 per month respectively.

However, Apple Music offers a family plan for $14.99 for 6 accounts, while Spotify offers the same deal for $15.99. Overall in terms of pricing, since they have a wider variety of payment plans, I believe Spotify wins this round.

Design:

While layout may be considered too subjective to compare the two, I believe it can make or break an app.

When you open the Spotify app, there are three tabs at the bottom: Home, Search, and Your Library. The home screen welcomes you with content centered around you, the user. Whether it’s “Recently Played”, your “Most Popular Mixes” or the “Made For” section that curates music to your own listening activity. Just after scrolling past these sections, you get further recommendations from the app’s pre-built playlists.

Then there is the search section which shows different genres, radio stations, curated playlists, charts, podcasts, audiobooks, live events, etc. You can then go to your library, where you’ll find your personal playlists along with your favorite playlists, favorite songs and podcasts, along with the profiles of the artists you follow. Apple Music’s layout is formatted a little differently.

When you open Apple Music, there are five tabs at the bottom: Listen Now, Browse, Radio, Library, and Search. Under Listen Now, you’ll first find your Top Picks from the app, then you’ll see your Recently Played. After an onslaught of playlists and radio recommendations, you’ll find a section that shows what your friends have been listening to, along with friends’ recommendations.

The Preview section highlights new music releases, artist interviews, pre-made mood playlists, charts and other discovery recommendations. The Radio section, true to its name, offers radio stations for a variety of artists and genres, along with more exclusive shows and artist interviews. The Library and Search sections are almost the same as Spotify’s, with the library showing personal and playlists, songs, albums, etc. The search engine again displays a variety of genres and moods, excluding audiobooks and podcasts. The two layouts may be different, but both provide the user with more than enough music choices and options.

That being said, I personally prefer Spotify’s layout, as the three tabs at the bottom make it easier to navigate and less cluttered on each page.

Payment to contractor:

Over the past few years, music artists have been more vocal about the amount of money they’re paid by music apps. When comparing the two, the differences between Spotify and Apple Music were obvious.

Sorry Spotify users, but Apple Music wins this category by a landslide. Apple Music claims to pay an average of $0.01 per play, while Spotify drops in at $0.0033 – $0.0054 per play. The difference is big and Apple Music is the better option in this sense.

Music availability:

When it comes to music options and availability, there’s actually a big difference between the two streaming apps. This is another category that Apple Music easily takes over.

Spotify currently has a library of about 70 million songs, less than Apple Music’s 90 million songs. Spotify offers exclusives like their “Spotify Singles” where artists either re-record a new version of one of their songs or cover another artist, but that doesn’t mean Apple Music doesn’t have its own exclusive content as well. Overall, Apple Music provides more accessibility when it comes to music.

Social Features:

Yet socially, Spotify easily wins over Apple Music. Spotify is currently the only app between the two that supports collaborative playlists. Spotify also has a “Blend” feature that lets you invite up to 10 friends to a unique, daily-refreshing playlist created by Spotify’s algorithm. And of course, who can forget the magical week in December when everyone you know posts their Spotify Wrapped on their Instagram story? Although Apple Music tried to replicate this with its own Rewind at the end of the year, nothing beats Spotify’s strengths in the social category.

Apple Music and Spotify are the two leading music streaming apps for a reason, and you can’t go wrong with either service. But if you need a definitive answer between the two, I’d go with Spotify. They offer more pricing options, an easy-to-navigate layout, podcast and audiobook options, and well-rounded social features. Sometimes Apple Music can have its advantages, but Spotify seems to be the best service for streaming music.