Apple Music vs. Spotify

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CNET conducted a listening study comparing Spotify and Apple Music audio quality. They also preferred Spotify’s sound quality. Listen to both, and you will probably come to the same conclusion.

EQ: Spotify Wins

Equalizers, or EQs, enable audio frequency adjustments. If the bass is too loud, you can turn it down. Muddy sounds can be cleared up with a cut in the right frequencies. Basically, an EQ gives you more control over the sound of your music.

Apple Music only offers EQ presets. These presets are labelled as “jazz”, “rock”, “dance”, etc. The problem is that there is no such thing as a “jazz” EQ. Jazz is extremely diverse music, covering everything from Kenny G to Sun Ra. While there are third-party apps offering better EQs, they do not work with Apple Music. They can only play music in your purchased music library, not the subscription-based streaming music in Apple Music. The EQ settings are buried in the Settings app, not in Apple Music. This is a problem with Apple Music’s design. Settings are scattered throughout iOS.

Apple Music EQ

Spotify features an excellent graphic EQ enabling precise control over frequencies. Users can make precise and custom EQ adjustments with an intuitive touch screen interface. The controls are available directly within the app. It also provides presets for users who aren’t comfortable with making these adjustments. This feature is available on multiple platforms. Windows users can even download plugins for Spotify, including some advanced EQs.

Spotify EQ

Device Compatibility: Spotify Wins

Apple has taken a big step with their music subscription service — it works on different operating systems, including Android. Unfortunately, many users are still left out. If you have an older iOS device that can’t run iOS 8.4, Apple Music won’t work.

Furthermore, Apple Music does not offer a web player. If you use Apple Music on your computer, you have to install iTunes. This is not convenient when you visit friends and family. If you want to play Apple Music at a friend’s house, you have to install iTunes on their computer. A lot of people don’t want guests to fiddle with their computer. Most people won’t object to pulling up a website on their computer.

Spotify Web Player

Spotify is compatible with many more devices. It even supports iOS 7. I actually play Spotify on my old iPhone 4, and it works just fine. It’s given my old iPhone a new purpose.

Spotify on iPhone 4 Running iOS 7
Spotify running on an iPhone 4 with iOS 7

Additionally, Spotify has native clients for Windows (including Windows Phone), Android and even Linux. If that’s not enough, the web-based player will work on just about any operating system.

Plugins: Spotify Wins

Apple Music doesn’t offer plugins or extensions. There are no third-party audio tools, such as EQs or lyric viewers. You can view lyrics by adding an app like Musixmatch Lyrics Finder, but this isn’t a plugin per se. It is an app with a widget. The lyrics aren’t integrated into Apple Music. Instead, you have to pull down Notification Center when playing Apple Music.

Spotify Plugins

Spotify for Mac OS X and Windows has full support for plugins. There is a community of developers creating wonderful and powerful third-party plugins. Spotify users can add enhanced search functionality, smartphone remote control capabilities, enhanced social media functionality and much more. (continue…)

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