Apple Music vs. Spotify

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Apple Music vs. Spotify

Streaming services are the future of music consumption. This article compares Apple Music and Spotify.

Being a music fan used to be very expensive. We were expected to spend $10 to $15 for an album. Unless you were wealthy, you had to choose wisely and listen to an album several times just to get some value out of it. We live in a brave new world for music fans. For a mere $10 per month, it’s possible to listen to just about any song or album.

I knew about these services a long time ago. A colleague started using Rhapsody and informed me about the service years ago. I never really followed through. I figured a music service would only offer mainstream options.

When Apple Music entered the fray, the music service buzz finally piqued my interest. I tried the free version of Spotify and was impressed by the selection. I had high hopes for Apple music. After all, Apple is the largest corporation on the planet. Surely, they could deliver something better. I was wrong and disappointed. Apple Music proved to be a slavish copy of the Spotify user interface, with far too many bugs and quirks to justify subscribing. After using both services, I went back to Spotify, but this time with a premium membership.

This article compares Spotify and Apple Music, evaluating which has the better feature or implementation in a given area. In some respects, this is subjective, although there is evidence to support these contentions. Having used both services every day for several months, I feel this information is fair and accurate. I have no relationship with Apple or Spotify.

FeatureApple MusicSpotify
Voice Controlwinner-trophy
Family Planwinner-trophy
Student Discountwinner-trophywinner-trophy
Sound Qualitywinner-trophy
EQwinner-trophy
Device Compatibilitywinner-trophy
Pluginswinner-trophy
Gapless Playback/Crossfadewinner-trophy
Free Musicwinner-trophy
Reliabilitywinner-trophy
Searching for Musicwinner-trophy
Discovering Musicwinner-trophy
Runningwinner-trophy
Catalogwinner-trophywinner-trophy
Sync and Cloud Storagewinner-trophy
Live Radiowinner-trophy
Offline Musicwinner-trophy
Transmit Audiowinner-trophy
Social Mediawinner-trophy
Ease of Usewinner-trophy
Overallwinner-trophy

Voice Control: Apple Music Wins

Apple has a unique advantage when it comes to their apps. On iOS, only Apple can integrate Siri with apps, and this feature has been folded into Apple Music. Users can tell Siri to play songs, albums or artists. Siri can even handle requests like “play the top songs from 1991”. For a full list of Siri commands, check out “Apple Music Tips”.

Having used Siri with Apple Music, it’s not that great. For one thing, bands often have strange names that can confuse Siri. Even a band name as simple as “Gong” can be misinterpreted as “gone”. Furthermore, the underlying data in Apple Music is a bit dirty. There are duplicate albums, artists pages that are “dead ends” and other nasty surprises. Siri may be able to understand your request, but you might end up with something you don’t expect. We’ll take a look at the data problems with Apple Music later in this article.

I eventually stopped using Siri as an interface for Apple Music. It was easier to find music using search, but that still has its problems.

Spotify doesn’t offer a personal digital assistant or voice control. There are third-party apps, such as Vela, that offer this functionality. They’re not integrated into iOS like Siri. For example, you can’t launch Vela by holding down the home button. This also means you can’t launch Vela by holding down the center button on your iPhone headphones.

Family Plan: Spotify Wins

Both Apple Music and Spotify offer discounted family plans. These plans are essential if you have a family that loves music. Although streaming services are inexpensive, the costs can add up if every member of the family wants to use the service. While it is possible to share one account by using one device, this would create cluttered music libraries and conflicts.

Apple Music’s family sharing plan is much cheaper than Spotify’s. At $14.99 for up to six users, it seems like a huge advantage over Spotify. Unfortunately, Apple’s family sharing regime is not flexible. Family members must be part of iCloud Family Sharing, which goes beyond Apple Music. Apple’s family sharing ties all accounts to one credit card. If your son wants to purchase an app, this is billed to your credit card. This may be ideal for many families, but it also means that family sharing is really only for immediate families with young children. Cousins, parents of adult family members and more distant relatives don’t fit in well with this system, let alone friends. A couple could fare well with this system, but only get meager savings at the expense of flexibility. Having all Apple purchases tied to one credit card may create conflict in many households.

Apple Music Family Plan Pricing

Spotify is much more lenient with their family sharing plan. It only applies to Spotify, and has no impact on app and content purchasing for enrolled members. This makes it easier to use family sharing with distant relatives and even friends. They even encourage customers to use their family plan with friends. Spotify only offers a 50% discount for additional accounts. If you were to enroll in family sharing with 6 people, it would cost almost $35, which is more than twice the price of Apple Music’s family plan. Unfortunately, Spotify only allows 4 additional users (a total of 5 accounts) in their family plan. The accounts are tied to one credit card, but only for Spotify access. Unlike Apple Music, your family members can make independent purchases in the App Store, iTunes and other Apple services. It is important to note that the Spotify family plan cannot be purchased through iTunes or the App Store. Customers must purchase this plan directly from Spotify.

Spotify Family Plan Pricing

The flexibility of Spotify’s family plan makes it worth the additional cost. Even within a nuclear family, having all Apple app and content purchases apply to one credit card is not always ideal. If you have older children, they may have their own credit cards. Apple Music’s plan is really limited to couples or nuclear families with young children, where one account pays for all purchases. It seems almost like a throwback to the days of Leave it to Beaver, where a family has one breadwinner. With Spotify, you can give friends a family discount. They’re not going to do genetic tests or look up your family tree. They actually encourage this practice. Keep in mind, Spotify’s family plan is billed to one credit card, so if you enroll your friends, you must collect their payments, unless you are very generous.

New Spotify Family Plan

UPDATE: Spotify just reduced the price of their Family Plan, which makes it an even better deal than Apple Music. At $14.99 for 6 users, the costs are the same as Apple’s plan. The main difference is that Spotify’s family plan gives users completely separate accounts. With Apple Music’s Family Plan, users must be part of iTunes Family Sharing. This ties all Apple purchases (apps, music, books, movies, TV shows) to one credit card. Apple Music’s Family Sharing is really only for a nuclear family. Spotify’s plan can be shared with friends and family. They even encourage subscribers to use family sharing with friends. Spotify will also automatically upgrade current Family Plan subscribers to the new price. Given that Spotify’s Family Plan is the same price as Apple’s, yet is more flexible, Spotify wins this category.

Student Discount: Tie

Spotify Discount for College Students

College students are often in debt after graduation. Subscribing to a music streaming service is an added burden, however, downloading music and purchasing CDs costs even more. Spotify offers qualified students a generous 50% discount for one year. Instead of $9.99 a month, students only pay $4.99.

Although the discount is generous, there’s a few hoops to jump through. First, this is only for college students attending a U.S. Title IV accredited institution located in the United States. Students must submit their name, educational institution and date of birth. From here, Spotify verifies that the subscriber is a student using SheerID. The discount is only good for one year. Students must remember to cancel or they will be automatically billed for a $9.99 premium membership at the end of the discount period. There’s a limited number of student discounts available. Despite all of the limitations, the discount is an excellent deal if you qualify.

Apple Music does not offer any student discount. At best, a student could try to participate in the family sharing plan, but it is even more restrictive. Spotify’s family plan is much easier to share with friends. They even encourage it. If you don’t qualify for the student discount, you can always sign up for Spotify’s family membership. Each additional member will only pay $4.99 a month. Unlike Apple Music, it’s not tied to every purchase in the Apple ecosystem. You can sign up friends and family without giving them the ability to buy apps or iTunes content with your Apple ID.

UPDATE: Apple Music has just introduced a student discount. It’s offered at the same price as Spotify — $4.99. One slight advantage is that the discount can be used for up to four years. Spotify’s discount is limited to 12 months. Apple Music also offers the discount to graduate students. Although Apple Music’s student discount is slightly more generous, Spotify’s liberal family plan makes it easy for anyone to get a discount. Both services are tied when it comes to student discounts.

Sound Quality: Spotify Wins

Digital music has always traded off quality for convenience. CDs are inferior to vinyl in overall sound quality. Although CDs don’t have the almost-inaudible popping artifacts of vinyl, they’re just a digital representation of audio. Vinyl sounds warmer and more natural, with better bass definition and less program compression. Some readers may object and prefer CDs. Listening to both on high-end systems, most audiophiles will prefer vinyl.

When mp3 players and iPods hit the scene, audio quality diminished even more, as a trade-off for convenience. You could put 20,000 songs in your pocket, but they didn’t sound very good. Over the years, this has improved. There are even digital music players that sound better than CDs, offering 24-bit/192 kHz audio, which some say sounds even better than vinyl. Most people can’t tell the difference, especially if they listen to modern pop music on an average audio system.

Both Spotify premium and Apple Music offer decent audio quality. Apple Music uses 256 kbps AAC and Spotify premium offers an adjustable rate, with “Extreme” quality at 320 kbps Ogg.

Spotify Audio Quality

Having tried both, Spotify sounds noticeably better — as good as a CD. It’s not just the bit rate. It seems that Apple’s encoder is doing some audio processing that makes the low-end sound hyped, yet dull. The bass is too loud, so I have to cut it on my stereo’s EQ. I also find that Apple Music seems to use more program compression than the original master. This makes the music sound louder than it should and reduces the overall dynamic range. When I play the same album on Spotify, I have to turn the volume up on my stereo about 10%. With Spotify, quiet parts are quiet and loud sections are loud. That’s the way it should be. (continue…)

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27 thoughts on “Apple Music vs. Spotify

  1. I just came across an article which says Apple is shutting down it’s ad supported iTunes Radio stations beginning January 29th in the US and I believe Australia. So now you need an Apple Music subscription in order to listen to any Radio stations on iTunes Radio.

    Hmm, call me a skeptic but me thinks this is a ploy to get their Music subscriber numbers up. Oh well, there’s still Pandora, Spotify and Jango.

    And the irony is that there were countless comments by Apple fanboys who were foaming at the mouth hoping Apple would destroy Spotify and Pandora. So if the two major players like Pandora and Spotify stay the course then there’s NO way Apple will kill off those two. In fact they just might grow.

    • Having used iTunes Radio, I can honestly say, I won’t miss it. I did use it when it first came out and after Apple Music launched (hoping human curation would make it better). The main problem is that it tends to play the same songs over and over. You can tune this, but then it starts playing more tangential material. I actually bought a few iTunes albums based on what I heard on iTunes Radio. Apple may actually lose money through this strategy.

      It amazes me how much hatred the fanboys have for Spotify, in particular. I gave Apple Music a shot, and it was just too buggy. Beyond UI quirks and search failures, I would get 30 second audio dropouts. It happened with downloaded music, over AirPlay and through direct listening. It was a problem with Apple Music, and others I know on social media have experienced it. If it can’t do the fundamentals, it’s junk. I really wanted to use Apple Music, but I went back to Spotify with a paying subscription. It’s not perfect, but they got the fundamentals right. I am missing out on the system integration — no Siri and no direct Apple TV support. That’s not important, as long as I can find and play music. Spotify will likely release a tvOS app.

      They are led on by Apple’s moral appeal. They’re trying to save the music industry! Apparently, Spotify rips off artists, but Apple Music does not (as long as Taylor Swift takes to Tumblr). That’s not true. The Atlantic published an article that explains that Spotify doesn’t make a difference. Artists don’t make or lose money by participating or withholding from Spotify. If they don’t participate, people pirate their music. If they participate, they lose a few CD and download sales, which is made up with Spotify revenues. One musician I follow was complaining about Spotify, only to reveal that he only gets 15% of his Spotify revenues. The label takes everything else. Spotify gets blamed for bad record deals, which are standard. One has to wonder why buying an album costs $10, and video games, movies and other much more substantial media often cost less. The average price for a newly released movie on iTunes is $14.99, but I have bought them for much less. A movie is longer and has much higher production costs. It offers both audio and visual entertainment. The soundtrack for most movies costs more to produce and took more effort than most albums. The music industry is a racket because so many people want to be rock stars. They sign on to bad deals and are exploited by record labels. Only the mega stars can make a living. Apple Music only offers slightly more compensation than other streaming services, apparently so they can make this moral appeal. The difference is laughably miniscule. Spotify’s free service garners the most criticism, and the payouts are quite low. Unfortunately, for many people, the alternative is piracy. It’s better to get some payout. Spotify’s free service offers poor audio quality and obnoxiously loud ads. Given the poor user experience, patrons of their free service wouldn’t pay for an album in the first place.

      I have yet to hear a movie star whine about his movie being on Netflix! Right? The music industry is rotten to the core. They’re taking advantage of kids who just want to be rock stars. Even the worst Netflix movie costs more to produce than most albums. Software companies spend years slaving over code and graphics with teams of engineers to develop a game that’s free (with in-app purchases). Spotify and other music streaming services pay the rights holders a lot of money, but the artists only get a small fraction of that. Artists need to get smarter about negotiating deals or even avoiding the corporate music industry altogether.

      I have to wonder if my AirPlay problems on the new Apple TV are an attempt to thwart Spotify. It just seems fishy to me. AirPlay is a conduit for third-party content, just like WebKit. Both technologies seem to be sabotaged by Apple.

      I expect some great numbers from Spotify. I don’t think I am the only one who found Apple Music to be the gateway to Spotify. Apple Music got me into streaming music, but it just wasn’t very good.

      I think our experience with fanboys underscores their irrationality. Let’s face it — Apple does not make decent stock apps, including Apple Music. Anyone who will blindly use such a bad service, just because it is branded with an Apple logo, is completely irrational. They have no ability to evaluate technology. “If it’s made by Apple, it’s great”.

      I like a lot of Apple products, but I also use a lot of third party products. The Apple fanboy is like the guy who wears jeans, a denim shirt, a denim cap, denim socks and denim underwear. Everything has to be Apple. They are the minority. Most Apple customers only have an iPhone and use a Windows PC. They are rational consumers.

  2. As promised free iTunes Radio is now officially dead. If you try and bring up any of your stations you are redirected to Apples Music subscription screen and asked to join.

    I ask in all seriousness. Can a company that’s making so much money, hands over fist, be that stupid? What do they have to gain? The website Apple Insider got it right. They said just like I did that this move is nothing more than to boost their Beats Radio listenership and Apple Music subscription rate.

    It’s no wonder this company is looking at hitting the proverbial brick wall in the future if it continues down this road. Most of their sales are iPhone based. They are also busy expanding into new stores and building a gaudy space station type HQ campus. Right now they are making money from their stores but I can assure anyone that when sales flatline those stores that are considered assets will turn quickly into liabilities and boat anchors.

    I once worked for a company like Apple back in the 80’s called Wang Labs and just like Apple they kept buying up real estate because business was so good until trouble arrived late in the 80’s with the push for Novell networks and they were quickly drowning in debt.

    • It’s not a smart move at all. I don’t think anyone will subscribe to Apple Music just for iTunes Radio. When I first got my Apple TV 2, they didn’t even let you play your iTunes music directly on Apple TV, unless you subscribed to iTunes Match. They later allowed anyone who bought iTunes music to play it directly on TV. They are constantly fiddling with their media offerings. Pandora is available directly on the new Apple TV, and it’s probably better. I’m not too upset with the lack of iTunes Radio, as I haven’t used it since I started subscribing to Spotify.

      I remember Wang computers. One of my friends had one. They were business machines, but his uncle worked with them, so he was able to give him an older model. It was pretty cool. It was actually in a home-made case constructed out of wood panelling. On the Simpsons, Martin Prince wears a Wang computers t-shirt in one of the episodes.

      SGI was another company that bit the dust big time. Their offices were all over Mountain View. They pretty much owned Mountain View. Then they vanished into thin air. They still exist, but just take up a suite in an office building. Apple actually played a hand in killing off SGI, as the Mac was more than capable of doing high-end video editing and animation. Linux made their Irix operating system unnecessary. They had two eggs in their basket, and they were both stolen.

      I could very well see Apple fading into oblivion. It happens. That’s why I am weary of investing in tech stocks. Apart from IBM, most tech companies don’t last more than a decade. I think the problem is that these companies get too large and latent, and they cannot beat small startups. Apple’s size is an advantage in that they can do things on a massive scale. I would love to see a cheap MacBook (without a fan) running an A-series processor and OS X. That would be a slam dunk product. The iPad Pro doesn’t make sense at all, because iOS is not a professional operating system.

      IBM is successful because they know how to sell to CIOs and CTOs. They completely bypass engineers as decision makers. I was at a company that forced us to migrate to an IBM app server. It was a horrible experience. But they sell to the highest tech decision makers in a corporation. Their sales people know how to golf, wine and dine. One of my colleagues once said “the decision to go with JBoss is made by developers and the decision to go with (IBM) WebSphere is made on the golf course”. IBM knows how to capture that market. Apple has no clue. Their partnership with IBM still can’t convince CIOs and CTOs to adopt iPads over Windows PCs. IBM’s app servers use java and the middleware runs on servers. The clients are mostly web-based, which works well on any computer, but not so well on an iPad. Apple’s app-centric view of the world doesn’t work well with enterprise computing. It doesn’t fit into the future of computing where we will most likely be using thin clients. Google’s ChromeOS seems to be a smart move in that direction.

  3. I guess part of my beef with Apple Music is that I ruined a perfectly fine iPad 3 which was running iOS 5.1.1 because here I thought iTunes Radio was here for the foreseeable future. I guessed wrong and now my iPad 3 is basically a paperweight. I’m hoping that Pangu will release a Jailbreak for iOS 9.2.1 so I can downgrade back to iOS 8.4.1

    I’ll do the same with my iPad 2 and drop it down to iOS 6.1.3 and leave it there. I definitely won’t ruin my iPad Air which is still running iOS 7.1.1

    I’m glad I voted with my money and returned the ATV 4.

    • That sounds like a good idea. I may very well do that with my iPad 2. I’m going to try doing a full reset, which I’m not happy about, since I have downloaded all six Star Wars movies onto my iPad. There’s still plenty of free space — almost 5GB. If an iOS device doesn’t have at least 1GB free, it will run very slow. It’s needed for swap space.

      I personally like my ATV 4, however, I don’t have cable. I need it to watch TV and I prefer it to digital cable. It’s better than my ATV 2, but it has a lot of problems. This morning, the screen was going black. I thought it was the video, but it happened on the home screen, with no video playing. I rebooted it, and that solved the problem. I reboot it just about every day, sometimes more. It’s amazing how much Apple’s quality has slipped. This thing has been out for 4 months now, but still requires constant rebooting. There are things I like about it, especially the games. I have really gotten into Asphalt 8. I can’t stop playing. That’s more thanks to Gameloft than Apple.

      My second generation Apple TV was a similar experience. There were times when it was rock solid, but eventually, the updates completely hobbled the device. It would often reboot itself multiple times in an evening, often in the middle of a video. I don’t have faith that they will fix these issues with updates. They may very well introduce more problems. The last tvOS update seems to have introduced new problems. I never had the screen go black until this latest update on Jan 25.

      It seems a lot of tech journalists are commenting on the decline in Apple’s quality. Only fanboys are in denial about this. It’s so painfully obvious. I checked up on your point about newer iPads having performance problems. Yes. They didn’t fix it in iOS 9.2. I think iOS needs a major overhaul, as it seems to have some fundamental problems. On a slower device, I can see that the UI is out of sync. I am having a frustrating problem with it automatically selecting text as I type. That makes me overwrite the text. It’s not even useful for email anymore!

      Their iTunes Radio move is short sighted. I notice a huge spike in my iTunes Radio Tips for Apple TV article. I think a lot of people, who don’t follow tech news, were surprised that it is no longer free. I doubt these people are happy about it or willing to pay $10/mo for Apple Music. If they have an older Apple TV, Pandora is not available, but they can use the old Internet Radio app.

  4. Regarding Apple fanboys, there’s one in particular over at MacRumors.com and he claims that iOS 9 is the best version of iOS for his “iPad 2”. He claims that Safari has never run better and more stable even with Javascript turned on even on websites that are Javascript intensive.

    That’s weird because if I turn on Javascript my iPad 2 will go into a hissy fit and will either crash repeatedly or just cause the iPad to reboot. The you have the Apple cheerleaders who view Apple as a Sports team and will defend Apple no matter what which is the case with Apple putting iTunes Radio behind a “paywall”. The chorus is, Apple has a good reason for it’s actions.

    Then there’s another MacRumors fanboy/troll who is a contributor to their website and has a “stamp out Google avatar”. Talk about objectivity. He’s even been on record as saying that whenever someone talks negatively about Apple that they should be banned for being a troll and he treats such views in a serious manner so he has to DEFEND Apple.

    That’s a quick summation of the 21st Century Apple Cult. And yet two thirds of Apple’s business revolves around the iPhone who is now seeing flatlining sales and there’s even mention that it could go in negative territory this quarter.

    • The fanboys on both sides are ridiculous. I used to be a little like that, and jump in on those arguments, shilling for Apple. I can’t do it anymore. For one, it’s petty. I also think there’s not much to advocate as an Apple user. I like the Mac and I prefer it to Windows. As for iOS vs. Android, they are so similar now, it’s like Tweedledum and Tweedledee. iOS is a bit better with multimedia and Android is more flexible. One is not better than the other. They’re both great operating systems.

      On Google+ there’s a community of people who believe that the iPad is a “post PC” device and can do anything a full computer can. They are truly ridiculous and blind to reality. They get hostile towards anyone who refutes this. Their leader believes because he can make YouTube videos and post on his blog, it means that everyone can do everything on an iPad. His tasks are very basic, yet compromised so he can use an iPad. He actually thinks because there are text editors that can support writing code, that one can develop software on an iPad. Hmmm… So you don’t need to compile and deploy anything? They don’t know the difference. They’re that clueless! It’s not just developers and audio visual experts who need real computers. A lot of the iTunes ecosystem functions can only be modified on a computer. How do you even restore a bricked iPad without a computer. If you bring it to the Apple Store, they will use a computer.

      There seems to be some need to live in the “future of computing”, as a way to demonstrate that they’re better and smarter than most people. At their core, they are narcissists. Psychological profiles of trolls have revealed this. These fanboys are just a type of troll. The sad thing is they troll for some amoral corporation, as so much of their self-esteem is tied up in their choice of devices.

      The iPad is not the future of computing. It’s not a post PC device. David Clark was talking about thin clients and the Internet of Things, not tablets. Steve Jobs co-opted and misappropriated the term. I prefer to live in the present of computing. The few tasks that the iPad could accomplish were a chore. One has to do small units of work in each app, unless you want a cookie-cutter result. I don’t think it’s good to compromise the end result just to use a new gadget. That’s something I learned from over 20 years in working with technology. None of these guys have actually worked at a software or tech company. The few people I have worked with who were fanboys were usually let go, because that behavior is toxic in the workplace. Most engineers are agnostic about brands and technology. That said, when presented with the choice of a MacBook or Windows PC, most will go for the MacBook. But if they had no choice, they would be fine with whatever system they needed to use. Most developers have to use multiple languages, app servers, and technologies. There are some preferences, but they will typically accept the architect’s or manager’s decisions. To me, the fanboy is someone on the periphery of technology. They don’t really work in tech, and if so, they are on the margins. At any decent tech company, they would either have to drop that attitude or be fired.

  5. I wanted to pass along an Music app called “AccuRadio”. Solid quality, ad based although not too bad. Music genres are DEEP for all kinds of music.

    Jazz genres are especially deep with an incredible amount of sub categories. Their fusion playlist is solid. I’m listening to Donny McCaslin and Stanton Moore on this playlist. It even has the Montreal and Newport Jazz Festivals.

    • Thanks for the information. There are a lot of alternatives to iTunes Radio. Some are so good, I would say iTunes Radio is the alternative to these apps. I also think Spotify has excellent radio capabilities and a vast library to draw from.

      I’ll check out AccuRadio!

  6. Another worthy mention is a streaming App called “bRadio”. The Curator needs a little work cause the playlist gets wonky for certain artist. It makes up for it with a clean UI and HQ Music. You can tell it’s 320 kbs. No EQ needed as you can hear a good soundstage and sound quality from this FREE radio streamer. It’s primarily for Latin music but you can find different artist and music genres as well. I was hoping to add The Brecker Bros but it’s not in their inventory.

    One last mention regarding AccuRadio, it allows you to blend different channels from a varity of artists in the playlists.

    • Thanks for mentioning another alternative to iTunes Radio! My main problem with most radio apps is that they don’t sound good and offer poor audio quality. It simply costs more to stream high quality audio. At 320kbps, it sounds as good as a CD to me, even when I listen on studio monitors.

      I really like the Brecker Bros!

      Another Radio app I really like is TuneIn radio. You can record programs and play them back later. That’s an awesome feature! That’s one of the first apps I bought when I got my first iPhone.

  7. I forgot how GOOD Samsung Milk Music service is. On tablets it’s only available on their tablets. However it’s available on a PC or Mac although I had trouble running it thru Safari on my Mac Mini.

    Milk Music is free with 96Kbs streaming and 320 Kbs for their Premium subscription for $3.99 and that includes offline listening. I haven’t subscribed yet so I wonder how that works i.e. does the Premium service allow to listen to artist albums or is it Playlists only.

    That said their Music Curator is off the charts. I have not skipped one song in any playlists in over 20 hrs of listening. Go figure, Samsung ruins an Android tablet with their Touchwiz UI but the UI in Milk Music is flashy, polished, intuitive to use, looks great with the artist album cover and the App just works fantastically.

    • I’ll have to check out Milk. I have heard of it, but it’s not mentioned much in the media. Unfortunately, not being able to use it on my smart phone or tablet is a deal breaker, but that $3.99 a month price can’t be beat.

  8. I think I just figured out why Milk Music did not work in Safari, duh! It requires Flash which is not in OS X. However Chrome has built in Flash support.

    • I don’t like Safari much at all. I prefer Chrome. A lot of complicated web pages and web apps don’t work at all in Safari. I also find Safari renders pages in unusual ways, unlike any other browser. It doesn’t fit pages to the window size, like Chrome. Chrome is my favorite browser and I use it all the time, both on OS X and iOS.

      I guess one could use a cloud-based browser like Photon to stream Milk music on an iOS device. Photon works with Flash by rendering the content on a server and displaying the stream on the iOS app.

  9. I tried Milk Music on Chrome and it’s a NO go on my Mac Mini running El Capitan. If you find a solution let me know. I disabled all of my Chrome extensions including Ad Blockers and Flash related extensions. Unless one of my extensions is killing Flash in Chrome it looks like using Samsung Music on any PC, is only supported by Windows.

  10. Update, I got it to work. It must be an extension I use that doesn’t disable properly which keeps Milk Music from not accessing Flash. I need/use those extensions in Windows 8/10. I setup a Guest profile in Chrome and Milk now works !

  11. Update on AccuRadio, I discovered by going to the Sonos website that Accuradio streams at a locked bitrate of 128 kbs AAC.

    Of all the music streaming services, AccuRadio is my favorite because judging by it’s Jazz Fusion playlist, it’s EXTENSIVE. I rarely hear songs repeat. In fact i’ve NEVER heard any streaming service including iTunes Radio play any electric Miles Davis as well as electric Lee Ritenour.

    • 128 kbps is decent audio quality. It used to be the standard for iTunes not so long ago. For most music played on most systems, people can’t tell the difference between 128 kbps and a CD.

      I’ll have to check out AccuRadio. I’m paying for Spotify, and so far, it has exceeded my expectations. I’m actually saving money, as I easily spent $500 a year on iTunes music. With Spotify, I don’t need to buy albums anymore. I still listen to a lot of terrestrial radio. Now if I hear a great song on the jazz station, I just look at their playlist and I can usually find the album on Spotify. Unfortunately, they didn’t have Peter Eskine’s Dr. Um. I may end up buying that one. That said, it’s hard to stump Spotify. 97% of music I am looking for is there! I may purchase one or two albums per year.

      If AccuRadio is not repeating the same tracks, it’s already better than iTunes Radio ever was. They had such a limited repertoire. Not only did it play obvious music, but it constantly repeated the same tracks. Electric Miles is my favorite stuff — Bitches Brew, In a Silent Way, On the Corner… Excellent!

    • I was just reading a comment about Apple’s new Twitter-based support service. There is a problem with Apple Music on Apple TV 4. The album covers are often out of sync with the currently playing track. For example, it will show the last played track’s album cover while the next track is playing. Apple Support has no solution to this problem. Of course, it’s one of many defects. When I was using it, I would routinely experience 30 second audio dropouts. It’s still garbage.

      I found out that Beats 1 Radio is free on Apple TV 4 without an Apple Music subscription. Of course, you can only listen to that one radio station, and it isn’t my cup of tea.

      It’s a shame Milk may be shutting down. It seems to be how these markets work. There are a lot of players and a then a few survivors. I still think Spotify is the best service I have used.

  12. I agree that Spotify currently sits on top of all the streaming services and they have a very SIMPLE user interface to boot. Both Spotify and Pandora received a lifeline from Apple when they decided to shutdown iTunes Radio. Many Apple fanboys wanted to see Apple destroy both Spotify and Pandora. What they don’t realize is that competition is good for the consumer.

    • Apple Music actually converted me into a Spotify user. I knew about streaming music services, but figured they would only offer top 40 pop music. I was impressed with Apple Music’s selection, but found that the apps and service were just too buggy to use. Apart from regular 30 second drop-outs when playing music (even downloaded music), the app didn’t work at all on my iPad for over a month. It just froze. That was a notorious defect with Apple Music. I still read complaints from users.

      Spotify actually has a better selection of music, if you’re into jazz or anything Europeans would like. The major music streaming services have pretty much the same content, with a few minor differences here and there. Spotify is rock solid and the user interface is clean and simple. I am a satisfied, paying customer. I’m actually saving money, because I used to spend over $500 a year on iTunes music. It has better sound quality than iTunes or Apple Music.

      Apple’s quality is really going downhill. That bug with copy and paste not working in iOS is hitting me again. At first I thought maybe I made a mistake, but it happened again and again. Today, I had to copy some text three times before it worked. The fundamentals don’t work at all. When copy/paste is broken, that’s a showstopper. I don’t know how Apple is going to charge a premium price for buggy products. At this point, the quality decline has been going on for over 2 years. I don’t see them fixing it anytime soon.

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