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Play Spotify on Apple TV 4

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Why Not Use Apple Music?

Apple Music is a native, first-party app included with tvOS on the new Apple TV 4. It is fully integrated with Siri. With all that it has going for it, why would anyone beam Spotify to Apple TV using AirPlay?

I tried Apple Music for three months, taking advantage of the free trial offer. I found the service to be horribly buggy. I’m not the only one. There were numerous complaints about missing music, songs that couldn’t be added to playlists and its complete failure to operate on the iPad 2. Some of these issues were eventually remedied, but the worst problem, audio dropouts, continued until the end of my trial. When playing music, there would often be 30 second segments of dead air. This happened whether I downloaded the music or streamed it. It happened all too often and had me leaving Apple Music. Instead, I opted for a premium Spotify music subscription.

Beyond being reliable, Spotify’s premium service boasts better audio quality. At 320 kbps (vs. 256 kbps for Apple Music), it’s virtually indistinguishable from a CD. Spotify works on more devices than Apple Music, even Apple devices. I can use Spotify on my old iPhone 4. Apple Music requires a device capable of running iOS 8. Although my iPad 2 could run iOS 8, Apple Music was barely usable on this device. Spotify offers a web-based player capable of running on virtually any operating system. They make desktop software for Mac OS X and Windows. Most importantly, Spotify is rock solid and reliable. I don’t have disappearing music or 30 second audio dropouts.

I also think that Apple should not be rewarded for copying Spotify. They blatantly ripped off the concept, workflow and user interface of Spotify, all while touting some moral superiority. Jimmy Iovine contends that Apple is once again rescuing the music industry.

Both Spotify and Apple are accused of poor compensation for artists. If you subscribe to the premium Spotify service and listen to your favorite artists regularly, they will be compensated. I listen to music I own on CD and iTunes on Spotify, because the rights holders will get some compensation. I also find it much more convenient.

I am not thrilled about the paltry payouts for artists, but it has been proven that Spotify doesn’t make a difference in terms of overall payouts for artists. This is because people who would normally resort to piracy have the option to use Spotify’s free service, which at least gives the rights holders’ some revenues. If music streaming services were harming the industry’s bottom line, the rights holders wouldn’t allow their music to be streamed. Music streaming services have enormous collections of music precisely because the rights holders have allowed this.

Music streaming services are here to stay. They are getting more content every day. A few months ago, all of the streaming services obtained the entire Beatles catalog. The momentum is clear. Music streaming services are the way most music fans will enjoy music for years to come. Right now, Spotify is the best option, even for people vested in the Apple ecosystem. I own an Apple TV 4, yet still feel that Spotify is better, even though it lacks a tvOS app. For more information on the two music streaming services, check out “Apple Music vs. Spotify”.

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