Apple Music vs. Spotify

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Apple Music is still quite buggy, and the My Music workflow is still problematic. I tried to add an album to My Music several times, and it was never saved. Downloads are very slow, even with lesser audio quality and smaller file sizes than Spotify. Users are also reporting that songs they have downloaded are disappearing from My Music. Spotify offers better quality downloads and it just works. The only “advantage” of Apple Music is that you can download tracks when the app is closed, which could slow down your device and waste cellular data.

Transmit Audio: Spotify Wins

As we move closer to a wireless reality, a plurality of schemes for beaming media is emerging. AirPlay was one of the first, but not the first. Intel’s WiDi technology enabled beaming a PC’s entire desktop to a television, prior to AirPlay. Unlike AirPlay, it never caught on. AirPlay is extremely popular, and supported by many manufacturers and software developers. Unfortunately, Apple Music only supports AirPlay and Bluetooth, whereas Spotify works with Bluetooth, Chromecast, Spotify Connect and AirPlay. Spotify will support just about any setup you can imagine. The Spotify Connect feature has been embraced by several audio manufacturers, including Bose, Denon, Harman Kardon, Sonos, Sony, B&O and many others. Spotify Connect also serves as a remote controller. Users can control Spotify on a computer or any other device with a smartphone or tablet.

Social Media: Spotify Wins

At the keynote, Apple Music’s Connect feature was said to set it apart from the pack. Instead of going outside of the app to share music or engage in social media, Connect provides these features within Apple Music. This is a bit misleading. Spotify actually has much better social media support.

Spotify integrates directly with Facebook and Last.fm. As with Apple Music, one can follow artists on Spotify. Spotify presents upcoming concert dates on the artist’s page. It has already informed me about concerts I would have missed otherwise. They just added a feature to the Browse screen, enabling users to find concerts based on listening habits. Spotify users can email songs, albums and playlists to friends, and they can access this music for free, without installing any apps. Even Barack Obama shares Spotify playlists, along with other prominent and famous figures. This is a huge advantage of having a web-based player. Websites can also embed Spotify playlists, accessible by anyone for free.

Web Page with Embedded Spotify Playlist

Apple Music can’t offer anything like this, as it lacks a web player and a free on-demand music streaming service. Apple Music allows people to share songs, albums and playlists, but not everyone can play them. It’s a way to entice others to subscribe to Apple Music, which seems to negate the sharing experience altogether.

Apple Music’s Connect feature hasn’t caught on. In addition to managing Facebook and other social media, Apple expects artists to engage with fans using Connect. It’s another burden for artists and music marketers. Artists already have Facebook pages. Why force them to manage yet another social media presence?

Ease of Use: Spotify Wins

Apple is considered by many to be the “user experience” company. Their products are typically easy to use and stable. Apple Music doesn’t live up to their reputation for an excellent user experience. The main problem is with how they handle streaming vs. downloaded music and the My Music collection. It’s both confusing and buggy. (continue…)

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