Spotify really isn’t all that, and Apple Music has far more to offer than you probably think. Before you start booing, hear me out. As someone who is very familiar with both services, there are a few key differences that make Apple Music my go-to.
First, it’s important to remember that Apple Music joined the streaming service game a fair amount of time after Spotify. Apple was still focused on iTunes and selling music through individual downloads. This gave Spotify an early lead in terms of building a dedicated user base, so many people haven’t even considered Apple Music.
Both Apple Music and Spotify go for $9.99 a month, or, with the student plan, $4.99. Their interfaces are mostly comparable, but I find Apple’s search and customizable organization features to be far more user friendly. Still, both offer enough similar features that it could be considered a matter of personal preference.
Where Apple Music really differentiates itself is in its music library. The reason why I initially chose Apple Music was because I already had years worth of music that I didn’t have the heart to give up. Apple Music allowed me to combine my old song catalog with the new, even my songs from CD were synced and made part of Apple iCloud. And these tracks aren’t poor quality either, as Apple Music automatically replaces it with a high-quality version.
Though you can technically do the same with Spotify, it requires so many extra steps (that are non-intuitive, mind you) that you might as well be back in the early 2010s. Even if you manage to get those tracks onto Spotify, they can’t be accessed from the cloud like Apple Music—it just allows you to play what was downloaded locally to your device (which takes up precious storage space). Plus, despite what it may seem like, iTunes isn’t dead. What this means is that individual songs are still available to purchase and download, which is convenient for people who may want to do other things with their music (or don’t like the feeling of having to commit to monthly fees).
In terms of audio quality, choosing Apple Music is a no brainer. Apple’s streaming service offers 256Kbps AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) in addition to lossless audio compression. I know, it’s a lot of numbers and letters that don’t mean much at face value (even to myself), but, to put it shortly, it means that it sounds good. Really good. As in way better than Spotify good. In fact, it’s pretty much identical to the original studio recording.
Aside from all that, Apple Music differentiates itself from Spotify in smaller ways, such as integrated Siri controls and their Beats 1 Radio which features actual human DJs. By this point, I know this hot take sounds more like an ad read, but it’s not, I promise. All I’m saying is that Spotify might not deserve all the hype—Apple Music has a lot to offer. Plus, the weird looks when I tell people that I don’t use Spotify are getting pretty old.