One of the most reoccurring questions of 2018 is “Which streaming service is better? Spotify Premium or Apple Music?” The @hc_collegian Twitter account ran a poll on October 6 to see what their followers think. A total of 116 votes were cast with Spotify Premium coming out on top. 63 percent of people voted Spotify, with 32 percent choosing Apple Music and 5 percent choosing other. Everyone has their reasons for liking either option, but I want to break it down.
Spotify Premium and Apple Music share some of the same features worth discussing first. Both offer a student plan at $4.99, a standard plan at $9.99 and a family plan at $14.99. In terms of streaming, each offers a download option so you can listen to songs without being connected to WiFi, as well as podcast options. Both services allow you to connect with friends and have curated playlists: Discover Weekly for Spotify Premium and For You in Apple Music.
There are a few technical differences between the two services, but I will be focusing on the main features that are the target for comparison. Let’s start with Spotify. They offer free and paid versions. The free version contains advertisements, a limited number of skips and a limited number of playlists and downloads. With Spotify Premium, there are no advertisements or limits on anything from the free version. Spotify also recently partnered with Hulu to offer a limited commercials version along with SHOWTIME to its subscribers. This is a big bonus for Spotify users looking for something more. Spotify’s black background with various playlist covers and fonts only offers around 30 million songs. They continue to grow their library by adding 20,000 new songs each day but remain under Apple Music’s 40 million (or so) songs.
The runner-up, Apple Music, may not be as easily beaten as it may seem. Sporting the white background with big album pictures and fonts, it offers a three-month free trial. After that, you have to fork out the cash. One thing that’s unique to Apple Music is their Beats 1 radio. It’s a 24/7 radio station with live DJs playing various playlist types. I think this is a feature some people need to explore more and it’s one that Spotify has no match for. One thing Spotify is trying to catch up on is music videos. Apple Music offers thousands of music video options for its subscribers. Another hard-to-beat element is Apple Music’s ability to sign big name artists exclusively to their service. This makes it one of the only spots where you can listen to their music for weeks at a time. One final feature that was recently added is the ability to search for lyrics to find a song on Apple Music.
Take these features as you will, but the two services have their pros and cons. Some may prefer one style over the other in terms of looks or organization. Apple Music can be a little difficult to navigate at times, but once you get used to it, it’s a great streaming service. Spotify’s deal with Hulu is one that’s hard to pass up, which is probably one of the main reasons it took the number one spot. Other additional items, like smart speakers, may play a role in which service you should choose. Ultimately, the choice between Spotify Premium and Apple Music depends on which one fits your lifestyle better.