Apple Music vs. Spotify

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Apple Music’s settings are scattered throughout iOS. If you want to change an EQ preset, you have to drill down into Settings. Controls for the iCloud Music Library and showing/hiding Apple Music are also in Settings. Even worse, they put cellular settings for Apple Music on two different Settings screens. They made the point that their social media offering, Connect, was embedded in the app. Unfortunately, Apple failed to contain Apple Music settings within the app. Apple Music is devoid of the typically excellent user experience people expect.

Spotify is simple and easy to use. If you like an album, you save it. You can download it by sliding on the Available Offline switch. You can access saved music with the global search, or browse for it on the Your Music screen.

Although Apple seems to have copied much of its workflow from Spotify, the Your Music screen is clear and concise. Users can easily identify music saved to the device. Most importantly — it just works. Unlike Apple Music, Spotify music won’t mysteriously disappear. If you save an album, it’s saved. All Spotify settings are contained within the app. You can even adjust cellular data usage within Spotify.

Overall: Spotify Wins

Most people who have used both music services tend to agree that Spotify is better than Apple Music. I have used both services extensively, every day. Spotify’s reliability and audio quality are the selling points for me. In fact, I prefer to listen to music that I own on iTunes using Spotify. Spotify sounds better than both iTunes and Apple Music, because the latter platforms both use 256 kbps AAC. Spotify’s Extreme quality is 320 kbps Ogg. I can actually notice the difference, but it isn’t just the resolution. Apple has always seemed to hype the bass too much. Even if I cut the bass on my stereo’s EQ, it is still often too loud. Spotify doesn’t seem to apply additional mastering or frequency adjustments. They also offer a much better EQ.

Spotify is rock solid. I have never experienced an audio dropout. It just works. Apple Music is still a beta-quality product. Hardcore Apple fans may want to subscribe and wait for it to get better. There’s no guarantee that will happen. I’ve found Apple’s apps to be mediocre. Apple Maps hasn’t really improved in three years. iTunes has been around for over a decade, but goes through phases of improvement and regression.

The main drawbacks of Spotify are the lack of a decent iPad app (their iPhone app is excellent) and no cloud-based storage for non-Spotify music. I listen to very diverse music from all over the world. There’s not a lot of music I can’t find on Spotify. The selection is remarkable. It sounds great. Spotify offers an excellent user experience and a rock solid app. These advantages more than make up for Spotify’s minor flaws.

Even though the Spotify iPad app is deficient in basic features, such as queue management, the iPhone app is excellent, and they offer players for the web, Windows (including Windows Phone), Android and even Linux. I can even use my old iPhone 4 with Spotify, which can’t be done with Apple Music. Unless you are an Apple fanatic or Taylor Swift fan, Spotify is a much better music streaming service. If you like Taylor Swift, you can buy her latest album on iTunes. Spotify has her previous albums and her latest one will likely end up on Spotify eventually.

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