Apple Music vs Spotify: which is better?

Apple Music vs Spotify: which is better?

Spotify Wrapped has just dropped and, if you’re anything like us, you’re probably wondering how on earth you spent over 49,000 minutes listening to music, and why you listened to the same one song 181 times (Ari Lennox – Whipped Cream, for those of you wondering).

Spotify has long held the top spot of the ultimate music streaming service. It offers both free and premium subscriptions, it has an eclectic catalogue of music and podcasts, and it seems it’s a lot of people’s default choice. But is it the best?

Apple Music, which launched in 2015 in comparison to Spotify’s 2006 debut, is Spotify’s closest competition. The two streaming platforms share a lot of similarities, from recommending new artists and songs to creating personalised mixes. They also have a fair few differences, like audio quality, paid services, and sharing to social media. If you like to shout about the hot new track you’ve just discovered, this last feature is a big deal.

A monthly subscription to a music streaming service is the easiest way to consume music. But out of Spotify and Apple Music, which platform should you spend your hard earned cash on? We’ve analysed both.

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Start a three month free trial at Spotify Premium

Start a one month free trial at Apple Music

For more music streaming comparisons, check out Amazon Music vs Spotify.

What’s the difference between Apple Music and Spotify?

Spotify offers a free entry-level subscription. You pay absolutely nothing, however, you’ll be met with adverts every approximately three songs, have six skips per hour, and the audio quality is worse than Spotify Premium.

Individual Spotify Premium will set you back £9.99 per month, and this gets you ad-free music, the ability to listen offline — it lets Premium users download and save up to 10,000 songs at any one time on up to five different devices — and unlimited skips.

The other Spotify Premium options include: Duo, a £13.99 per month service for two people living under the same roof; Family, a £16.99 per month subscription which has six Premium accounts and gives parents the ability to block explicit music; and Student, a discounted £5.99 per month service which still has the same benefits.

Apple Music doesn’t offer a free entry-level subscription. So, if you’d already mentally planned to not spend a single penny, head over to Spotify.

However, Apple Music’s paid packages are brilliant value for money. There’s the Apple Music Voice plan, which is £4.99 per month and is designed to only play music by using Siri; the £5.99 Student plan; the £10.99 Individual package; and the £16.99 Family plan.

The Spotify and Apple Music packages essentially offer the same things: ad-free, skippable listening, but you’ll probably have noticed the popular Individual plan is £1 extra on Apple Music. So now for the big question: is it worth the extra quid?

As well as the expected devices like phones, tablets, PCs and Macs, Spotify can be played on games consoles, such as the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. It also works on smartwatches, such as Fitbit, Samsung, Google and Garmin models.

Apple Music, unsurprisingly, can be played on Apple devices like the Apple HomePod and HomePod Mini, Apple TV 4K, and Apple smartwatches. It’s also supported on Sonos, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, PS5 (not PS4), Roku and even Android smartphones.

Start a three month free trial at Spotify Premium

Start a one month free trial at Apple Music

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Apple Music vs Spotify

Getty / Five

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. In the red corner is Spotify with over 80 million songs, and in the blue corner is Apple Music with over 100 million songs.

Ding ding ding. What about podcasts? Spotify boasts 4.7 million podcast titles, whereas Apple Music doesn’t have any. Instead, there is a separate service called Apple Podcasts.

Next round is streaming quality. Last year, Apple Music updated its entire catalogue to give it high-res audio quality (24-bit/192kHz). Spotify streams songs at three different rates: 96kbps, 160kbps and 320kbps, all in the OGG Vorbis audio format. The highest rate is exclusive to Spotify Premium subscribers.

Apple Music continues to offer lossless streaming and spatial audio support as standard. If crystal-clear audio quality is important to you, opt for Apple Music.

Start a three month free trial at Spotify Premium

Start a one month free trial at Apple Music

Apple Music vs Spotify verdict: which music streaming service should you buy?

Like we said earlier, if you’d rather not pay to stream music, Spotify is the way forward. The adverts are tedious but not diabolical, and the lesser audio quality is noticeable but not unenjoyable.

If you’re going to spend money on a music streaming service, we’d recommend subscribing to Apple Music. The audio advantage is worth the extra quid for the Individual plan, however, if you opt for the Family or Student package, you’re paying no more money than you would be for Spotify, except the listening experience will be better.

Spotify Wrapped is a huge part of the music experience: it’s an annual round-up of your top artists, songs and genres, as well as how many minutes you’ve spent enjoying listening to music and what new things you’ve discovered. If you’re swapping from Spotify to Apple Music, you’ll be pleased to know Apple Music offers Apple Music Replay which is essentially the same thing as Spotify Wrapped.

Start a three month free trial at Spotify Premium

Start a one month free trial at Apple Music

Spotify vs Apple Music free trials

Spotify is offering three months of free music on its Individual plans up until 8th March next year. You can also bag one month of free listening on the Duo, Student and Family packages.

Apple Music offers a one month free trial on all of its plans, too.

Start a three month free trial at Spotify Premium

Start a one month free trial at Apple Music

If you also enjoy audiobooks, be sure to check out the best Audible deals for this month. Plus, take a look at our deep-dive into ‘What is Amazon Music Unlimited?’ and if it’s worth your money.