Gone are the days when we used to stuff our mobiles with hundreds of MP3s and eat up most of the device’s storage. Music streaming services have replaced that entirely. This can be backed by the report released by RIAA. According to the report, music streaming services have contributed 75% of the total revenue of the music industry in the US.
Along with the evolution of the music industry, many companies have jumped in to get their piece of cake, leaving the consumers in the dilemma which one to subscribe to. Spotify and Apple Music are the two most widely recognized and subscribed streaming services, globally.
In the end, I am going to settle with one of them, but the question is which one should I bet my money on? This question led me to try them both and then reach a conclusion. This post is about my “Sherlock Holmes” experience investigating deep inside both of them.
What’s the quality like?
Streaming quality is, oddly, where Apple Music loses points in the battle. Apple’s service streams at 256 kbps (the same as iTunes), which is lower than many competitors like Spotify and Rdio (who both offer a high-quality 320 kbps stream). And according to Apple subsidiary, Beats, 256 kbps is actually below the “industry standard”.
There are many theories as to why this is: maybe Apple is making room so their Beats headphones can be marketed with “enhanced sound”, or maybe it’s simply that millions of iTunes users seem to take no issue with 256 kbps streaming (we certainly don’t). If you are an avid muso, however, you might want to Apple music vs Spotify – DC sonic circuits comparison’ free trials to ensure you’ll be content with the final product.
Who offers better features?
Spotify certainly has the upper hand in terms of stream quality and with third party music integration, Playstation compatibility and Spotify’s tried and true algorithm, it sure isn’t short on extra features that sweeten the pot.
Conversely, the extra features of Apple Music do a lot to set it apart from a sea of bare-bones services. With flashy additions like Siri integration and Apple Music Connect, there is no doubt Apple is banking on these features to sell subscriptions.
Spotify: The Streaming King
With 60 million total users, Spotify is the undisputed monarch of music. In addition to its impressive digital library of over 30 million songs, Spotify is well known for its variety of discounts and pricing options.
After downloading the free Spotify app, users can choose between the Free streaming service (which includes ads and limited access to playlists in shuffle mode) or the Premium subscription service, which allows users unlimited access to any song, anywhere—even without an Internet connection—for a monthly fee.
Apple Music: The Up-And-Comer
Although Apple Music has yet to be released, it’s already being branded as the ultimate music streaming option, because it will combine key features from all the others. The app will boast these main elements:
• Unlimited music streaming from a majority of the iTunes catalog
• Beats 1, a 24-hour live radio station featuring popular DJs and artist interviews
• Connect, a new social media network that allows fans to engage with musicians
Unlike Spotify, Apple Music will not offer a free option. After the preliminary three-month trial period, users must pay a monthly subscription fee to continue using the service. Apple will also offer a family subscription plan which will cover up to six users.
For Apple device users, there’s no need to worry about downloading—the app will be automatically installed when they update their operating systems to iOS 8.4.
Apple vs Spotify: What happens now?
The European Commission has yet to publicly comment on Spotify’s complaint, which could have wide-reaching consequences for Apple’s European business model.
It is far too early to tell whether the EU plans a full investigation into Spotify’s accusations, much less launch an antitrust suit against Apple. However, should this occur, there’s the chance Apple might be asked to pay a fine and be compelled to change its policies.