Apple Music vs Spotify: What I'm Sticking With

I've been trying out Apple Music for the past three months and rather than spend a bunch of time writing my own review, I thought I'd quote this comprehensive article from Digital Trends.

It pits Apple Music against Spotify and does a great job running through all the big features.

With a reported paid user base surpassing an astounding 20 million subscribers — not to mention an astronomical 55 million additional listeners of its free, ad-based service — the Swedish-born service [Spotify] currently trounces its competition, most of which boast a few million users at best. Now Apple has entered the fray, recently announcing its much anticipated new music service, Apple Music. However, while Apple Music has the benefit of the tech giant’s near-infinite resources behind it to go toe-to-toe with Spotify, whether or not it can upend the champ in the long run remains to be seen.

Spotify was my first choice for music streaming before Apple entered the fray.

While there exist several glaring holes in its library — hello Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Tool (and, of course, the Beatles) — Spotify’s offering is about as comprehensive as it gets. Moreover, Spotify brings all the latest record releases, exclusive Spotify live sessions, and various new singles right to its New Releases tab each Tuesday. This provides users a great way to hear the latest from established stars like Beck, as well as the chance to discover new and emerging artists.

I'll admit that I will occasionally enjoy a catchy Taylor Swift song, yet not having her music in Spotify was not enough reason for me to initially leave the service.

However, while Spotify’s catalog has been essentially unrivaled up to now, Apple’s new service also reportedly touts around 30 million songs — roughly similar to Spotify’s “more than 30 million” figure.

From my own limited music searches, I never found anything missing from Apple Music. I think it has the slight edge here.

Music discovery
[Spotify] the streaming king’s playlist feature and newly-launched “Discover Weekly” feature arguably provide the best opportunity for subscribers to latch on to new music.

I have found music discovery to be better with Spotify. Apple Music tends to recommend stuff I used to listen to 5-10 years ago. I do like about 50% of the recommended playlists in the For You section....and when I like the playlist I play it incessantly. Something I don't often find in Spotify. I tend to skip a lot more songs in Spotify's playlists.

Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio function plays a major roll when it comes to music discovery... the service’s individually curated playlists in the “For You” section aim to provide users a diverse musical experience that’s updated three times a day, providing you playlists for a broken heart and those apt for Sunday brunch.

Beats 1 doesn't really do it for me. I find it hip hop heavy and that is not quite my genre. While I really like some of the For You recommendations I've found it lacking in heavy use. I like to constantly look for new music and For You is not really geared towards that. Again, Spotify is much better with the Now section and Discover Weekly playlist that is updated for the individual user each Monday.

In the end, I found myself wanting to use Apple Music more but Spotify's endless playlists and music discover won out. Apple does a good job tying in iOS specific features...and a lot of these are what I like bout it most but the UI and "browsability" is nowhere close to Spotify. Plus I continue to run into bugs when I try to download playlists for offline listening with Apple Music - a deal killer for me.

For now, I'm sticking with Spotify but I truly hope Apple can smooth things out and draw me back.

Spotify vs. Apple Music: Who wins the ultimate streaming showdown?