Apple Music Vs Spotify: Which is better?
On June 30th, Apple Music became the latest music streaming service to rival Spotify. But with Apple coming into the game so late, how do they expect to conquer the millions of devoted Spotify users like myself? What can Apple offer that will pull me away from Spotify after over two years? More importantly, is it good enough to compete?
As they do with every product, Apple did a great job in giving Apple Music the hype it needed. So by the time it was released, millions of people around the world were poised to download the latest version of iOS which contained Apple Music. Issues surrounding its release and some of its key features marred this initial excitement.
The three month free subscription to Apple Music, which will cost £9.99/month thereafter, may entice people into moving away from their free or premium accounts elsewhere.
As for the app itself, Apple Music underperforms. Apple gave the app similar aesthetics to the iTunes app, which isn’t conducive to an intuitive user experience. For Apple, this is a rare occurrence; their apps usually make you feel like you’ve been using them for years after only minutes. Apple Music feels clunky and is certainly not as user friendly as its rival Spotify (particularly after Spotify’s most recent update).
Apple Music also has glitches in abundance. For example, when you lose internet connectivity, you have to manually play the song again. More annoyingly, when you lose connectivity whilst listening to the radio, you have to acknowledge a warning message before refreshing. There are also issues surrounding the playing of music, a pretty vital feature.
But all is not lost for Apple Music! Apple Music has shone through with its Beats 1 Radio station. Curated by former BBC Radio 1 DJ, Zane Lowe, Beats 1 is a worldwide radio station with a mandate to play great music.
Broadcasting 24/7 from London, New York and LA with a host of top DJ’s from around the world supported by a range of high profile interviews, Beats 1 could be Apple Music’s saving grace. But it must be noted that Beats 1 will be available without a paid subscription to Apple Music.
***As of writing, connection to Beats 1 is consistently dropping out***
Although Apple Music is far from perfect, it does have some great features. The ‘New’ page offers the user a diverse range of music and content, giving users the opportunity to discover new music. The “For you” feature also curates a bespoke list of suggestions for each user.
Importantly, Apple has used its power within the music industry to secure artists, such as Taylor Swift and Dr Dre, who have shunned the likes of Spotify. Deals like these will certainly set Apple music apart from its competitors.
Spotify has been a household name for a few years now. It has become the primary music streaming service globally, pushing the likes of Google by the wayside. Spotify has two price points, a free service that includes audio advertisements or a premium service costing £9.99/month which is ad free.
The latest update of Spotify is, for all intensive purposes, flawless. They have taken all of the features people wanted and needed and packaged them into an app that feels… right. The menu on the left is a particularly nice feature with swipe navigation fully utilised, feature so key to modern apps that Apple seems to have ignored!
The “Browse” screen in Spotify is also great to use – offering the users a range of playlists specific to their time and location. These are often able to match your needs perfectly.
Outside of this, Spotify supports the user through the process of choosing a song – mostly categorising songs into playlists. Although this is a benefit, it is also a drawback I find with Spotify. It doesn’t support the user to find new singles and albums at all – an area where Apple Music is particularly strong and an area that has been frustrating people for a while.
Spotify’s new feature “Running”, released after the announcement of Apple Music, is a great feature that works well! The app uses your phone or watch to detect your running pace and matches the playlist to your speed. With endorsement and production from Tiesto, this feature allows Spotify to not only customize the songs people hear but to create custom tracks, created by Tiesto that are only available in Spotify run.
So… Apple or Spotify?
The two products, on paper offer a relatively similar package. They are the same price across the board, although Spotify offers a free account, and both offer offline capabilities for paid customers.
They both contain the majority of the world’s available music and both create custom playlists and suggestions. One stand out point for Apple Music is Beats 1 – it feels like natural progression; once you listen, you immediately wonder when Chris Evans will be poached by Apple to start Beats 2.
But I’m not convinced that Apple’s first offering will be enough to pull significant numbers from Spotify. Apple will have to make some serious improvements to their app to make it more user friendly in the coming weeks and launch a wave of updates to address the glitches.
Spotify, who have been at this for almost 10 years, have an incredibly slick and intuitive app that feels and looks great to use and this could be the feature that stops most of its user base from leaving. Furthermore, the majority of users will have an extensive range of music and playings embedded into Spotify!
Apple Music is a without a doubt a turning point in the music streaming industry and with the massive amount of devices they can reach automatically, it is hard to see it failing. But with its current app and format, Apple Music is not doing enough to induce significant shifts in the market. For this reason Spotify will still get my monthly subscription fee.