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Apple Music vs Spotify: Which to Choose?

By Elsie Wesley, Thursday, March 22, 2018

Spotify, officially released on 7 October 2008 in Sweden, specializing in music, podcast, and video streaming service, is regarded as the king of music streaming application. However, after the debut of Apple Music on June 30, 2015, many people consider that Apple Music will a big challenge to Spotify in the future.

Apple Music developed by Apple Inc, will be automatically installed on every iPhone and iPad with iOS 8.4 or later, so the number of Apple Music users will be larger and larger. Up to February of 2018, Apple Music has gathered 36 million users.

Therefore, many people will ask that which one is better, Apple Music versus Spotify? Is it possible for Apple Music to excel Spotify in the future? To figure out these questions, we will compare Apple Music with Spotify in several aspects such as price, design, music library, music quality, compatibility, and music discovery in this article.

1. Price

Both of Apple Music and Spotify provide free  trial to users. Apple Music offer users a 3-month free trial before their subscription, while Spotify provides 2-month free trial for users. Here are the more specific details in the comparison of Apple Music and Spotify.

Apple MusicSpotify
Free Trial3 months2 months
Starting Price$9.99 per monthFree
Free Price for Offline(no-ad)$9.99 per month$9.99 per month
Student Discount$4.99 per month$4.99 per month
Family Package

$14.99 per month for 6


$14.99 per month for 6 


Annual Plan$99 per year$99 per year

Winner: To some extent, using Spotify is more economical.

2. Design

There is no doubt that the design of an application is an important point of attraction. A perfect design of an application must be clear and easy-to-read.

As for Apple Music, the design is concise, simple and clear in a white background which is easy for users to understand and catch information. What's more, Big pictures and blocky text make it reader-friendly.

Apple Music Interface

Unlike Apple Music, the main color of Spotify is black which makes a strong contrast with the text so that it is easy to read.

Spotify Interface

Winner: Draw.

3. Music Library

If the design of a music streaming app is one of the elements to attract users, the size of the music library is the key to keep the users. It seems that Apple Music and Spotify both have huge song capacity. Both of them have claimed they are holding more than 40 million songs. No matter  which app you choose, you can access a massive collection of songs.

However, some exclusive albums are only available in Apple Music. For example, you cannot find Taylor Swift's 1989 on Spotify until June, 2017, yet the ablum has been available since November 2014.

Taylor Swift on Apple Music

Winner: Enjoy high-profile album in Apple Music.

4. Music Quality

Streaming musics on Apple Music are encoded in 256 kbps for high quality using the same output formats with iTunes such as M4A, M4B, M4P etc., while the downloaded files will be saved in 256 kbps with AAC format.

As for Spotify, music files are saved in the Ogg Vorbis format with 3 quality degrees, 96kbps, 160kbps and 320kbps. However, the highest quality is for paid Premium subscribers.


Winner: Spotify offers the higher quality.

5. Compatibility

Apple Music works with the following devices: 

  •  iPhone, iPad, iPod touch (iOS 8.4 or later);

  • Apple Watch 1.0.1 or later, Mac, Apple TV;

  • Windows and Android devices (Android 4.3 or later).

Spotify is available on these devices: 

  • Windows, Mac;

  • PlayStation 3 and up;

  • Android, Windows Phone, iOS devices such as iPhone, iPad, iPod.

Winner: Spotify is available on almost all devices.

6. Music discovery

As a big fan of music, you might want to discover music you love easily. Fortunately, both of Apple Music and Spotify have a service that offering personalized music recommendations based o users' preferences.

Apple Music offers personalized service in For You section. You can find suggestions on Today's Playlists, Today's Albums, Artist Spotlight Playlists, and New Releases which are based on the preference labels you chose before joining in Apple Music. What's more, you can discover more in Browse section.

Likewise, Spotify offer users similar service called Discover in Browse section, containing 32 basic genres and updating every Monday morning. Recommendations of artists, songs and playlists are based on your listening habits and favourites.

Music Discovery on Apple Muisc and Spotify

Winner: Draw. Both of them have awesome music discovery service.

After the comparison of Apple Music and Spotify, it is still difficult to choose the better one between them because both of them have amazing and professional functions and services. If you lay emphasis on compatibility, you'd better select Spotify so that you can use it in more devices. On the other hand, if you are a crazy fan of Apple and you want to try everything from Apple, Apple Music might be perfect for you.

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