When it comes to the best music streaming services, Apple Music and Spotify immediately come to mind, and it’s no surprise given that they lead the competition in terms of the number of paid subscribers.
Both Spotify and Apple Music offer rich and extensive music libraries, but choosing one over the other isn’t straightforward due to their differences. There’s no clear winner in the Spotify vs. Apple Music debate; it’s hard to say that one is definitively better than the other.
There is significant overlap between the two libraries, with most contemporary artists aiming to showcase their music on both streaming platforms.
Fortunately, you can explore both libraries without even signing up for an account by using the Apple Music web player and the Spotify web player. Simply open your preferred service and use the search function to find some of your favorite artists.
Let’s take a closer look at what each service has to offer.
One of the significant differences between Spotify and Apple Music is sound quality. Spotify’s maximum streaming quality is 320 kbps.
Apple Music surpasses Spotify in terms of streaming quality, supporting up to 24-bit/192 kHz, making it one of the best music streaming services for audiophiles. However, to fully appreciate high-resolution audio on Apple Music, you’ll need a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and quality wired headphones or speakers for lossless playback on your iPhone 14, iPad, or Android device.
Both services offer sound quality that will satisfy most casual music listeners. However, if you live in an area with unreliable internet connectivity, you may appreciate Spotify’s variable streaming quality options for a seamless playback experience. Spotify Premium users can also download and store up to 10,000 songs at a time on up to five different devices, which is handy for offline listening.
Spotify boasts a diverse range of content beyond its music catalog, including podcasts and audiobooks. In contrast, Apple Music primarily focuses on music, with over 100 million songs on the platform. Its content library also includes live radio stations from around the world that you can tune into at any time. If you want to listen to audiobooks or podcasts, you’ll need to use Apple Books or Apple Podcasts, respectively.
Both services are available on iOS, macOS, iPadOS, Android, and Windows, and you can stream through the web and various other platforms. However, Spotify has the advantage of being available on more platforms, from Linux to smart TV operating systems, gaming consoles, smart speakers, and more.
Regarding search functionality, Apple Music has had the upper hand over Spotify for a while because it offers lyrics-based search, which Spotify lacked. However, Spotify has now implemented this feature as well. Regardless of the service you use, you can simply type the lyrics into the search bar in the app, and it will show you the song with a snippet highlighting the lyrics you entered, making it easy to find songs even if you only remember the lyrics.
If you use a virtual assistant in your daily life, whether through a smartphone or a smart speaker, Spotify has you covered. The platform is supported by most, if not all, virtual assistants, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri. Yes, you read that correctly – even Siri supports Spotify. Keep in mind that integrating a virtual assistant requires a Spotify Premium subscription.
On the other hand, Apple Music lags behind in virtual assistant functionality, with only Siri having full support for the platform. If you don’t own a HomePod or any other device with Siri, don’t expect to seamlessly stream your Apple Music playlists using a non-Apple virtual assistant.
Spotify allows you to create collaborative playlists, letting you and your friends create the perfect playlist for a Friday night or a Saturday evening out. You can also quickly share songs and playlists using Spotify Codes, which can be created and scanned within the app.
While Apple Music doesn’t yet support collaborative playlists, it does support playlist sharing.
Spotify also works on smartwatches, such as Fitbit, various Samsung models, Google, and Garmin devices. You can also easily download your favorite songs from Spotify to your device and listen to them on your MP3 player during your workouts or walks.
Apple Music, unsurprisingly, can be played on Apple devices like the HomePod, HomePod Mini, Apple TV 4K, and Apple smartwatches.
In conclusion, both Spotify and Apple Music are excellent music streaming services, and the choice between them largely depends on your preferences and needs, whether it’s sound quality, content variety, platform compatibility, or virtual assistant integration.