Thinking About Paying for a Music Streaming Service? Spotify vs. Apple Music – Key Differences

Spotify and Apple Music have rich and relatively similar music libraries/collections, but choosing one over the other is not easy due to their differences.

Thinking About Paying for a Music Streaming Service? Spotify vs. Apple Music – Key Differences

In this article, we discuss the key differences between Spotify and Apple Music to help you choose the better option if you’re considering paying for a music streaming service. Both are good, but we believe certain features may pull you in one direction or the other.

Which Service Has Better Sound Quality?

One of the significant differences between Spotify and Apple Music is the sound quality.

Spotify’s maximum audio streaming quality is 320 kbps (which is very high quality according to Spotify). However, there are also lower-quality options, including 24 kbps (low), 96 kbps (normal), and 160 kbps (high), which you can enable if you want to reduce Internet traffic on your cell phone or other device. Despite being a late adopter of better sound quality, Spotify has been working on adding support for “lossless audio” under the name “Spotify HiFi” since 2021. Unfortunately, it is still not in production and we do not know when it will be.

Apple Music beats Spotify in this category as it supports up to 24-bit/192kHz, making it one of the best music streaming services for audiophiles. The catch is that you need a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and quality wired headphones or speakers to play high-quality Apple Music audio on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Apple Music also offers 16-bit/44.1kHz and 24-bit/48kHz audio quality settings. If you want to minimize the data used by Apple Music, a 256-kbps quality option is also available. Let us not forget that Apple Music supports Spatial Audio, powered by Dolby Atmos surround sound technology, which helps create a cinema-like experience.

Which Platform Offers Better Content?

Spotify has diverse content in its music catalog with over 82 million songs. You can also listen to podcasts and audiobooks. According to Edison Research, the most popular podcast category on Spotify (and generally) among users in the United States and abroad is comedy. Based on the size of the audience among listeners who are 18 and older, the Society & Culture genre climbed one position to take the #2 position, demoting News to the #3 position. Although Entertainment has always been among the top 10 genres for Spotify podcasts, and betting/gambling podcasts as a sub-category that advertise platforms, software providers at the site, and bonuses are currently becoming more and more well-liked.

Unlike Spotify, Apple Music focuses mainly on music, with more than 100 million songs on the platform. It also includes live radio stations from around the world that you can listen to anytime. Additionally, Apple has its own special digital radio shows and stations, some of which are presented by musicians and radio personalities. Finally, let us mention that Apple Music has videos and includes videos of live performances that may not be found anywhere else on the Internet.

Recommendations and How to Discover Good Music

There are different ways to discover new music on Spotify and Apple Music.

Let us begin with Spotify: the service offers six playlists called “Daily Mix” that are generated based on your musical taste. They primarily depend on the artists and genres you listen to. In addition to the aforementioned six Daily Mix playlists, there is also a “Discover Weekly” playlist and a “Release Radar” playlist with new music from artists you follow or might like. Spotify’s homepage is filled with customized recommendations, but personalized music can be found under the “Made for You” tab.

On the other hand, Apple Music offers personalized music on the “Listen Now” and “Browse” tabs. You can find a never-ending variety of individualized music in the form of songs, albums, playlists, mixes, and radio stations. Personalized playlists on Apple Music include combinations of Get Up!, Favorites, New Music, and Chill.

Although the personalization algorithms on both platforms are excellent, many believe Spotify’s suggestion algorithm to be the finest in the streaming music industry.


No matter the device and operating system you use – iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, iPadOS – both services are accessible. You can also stream music over the web and several other platforms. However, Spotify has an advantage over Apple Music as it is available on multiple platforms, from Linux to operating systems for smart TVs, game consoles, smart speakers, etc.

As a pioneer in the field, Spotify is more likely to be available on specific platforms than Apple Music, which was primarily limited to Apple products. In contrast to Apple Music, Spotify provides a uniform streaming feel throughout all platforms.

User Experience

The streaming experience offered by Spotify is much better than Apple Music. For example, on Spotify, you can use one device to control music playback on another device, thanks to Spotify Connect. Spotify Connect also allows you to seamlessly transfer audio from one device to another. You can, for example, switch from playing audio on your phone to playing it on your TV as long as they are connected to the same network.

Apple Music cannot do this even when streaming music through iPhones and MacBooks. The only support for streaming audio on Apple Music is available between other Apple devices and the HomePod via AirPlay. With streaming support, you can use other Apple devices to control the sound on HomePod. But unlike Spotify, music playback will not sync if you try to play music between different Apple devices at the same time. Each session will be separate.

Furthermore, Spotify offers a superior cross-platform streaming experience and assistance if you do not like Apple’s ecosystem. Although the Apple Music delivery is more suited for Apple devices, it cannot compare to Spotify’s user-friendly interface.


For many, Spotify is synonymous with streaming music because it is quickly available, and you can use it for free, that is, without paying. True, you are limited in some aspects, and you have to listen to ads/advertisements in the application, but many people do not mind because the service itself is free. Additionally, Spotify has three paid packages, including Individual ($9.99 per month), Duo ($12.99 per month), and Family ($15.99 per month), which also unlock Spotify Kids. There is also a special student discount of $4.99 per month that includes access to Hulu and Showtime.

Apple Music, on the contrary, does not offer plans that are free. The cheapest plan, Voice, has many limitations and starts at $4.99 per month, followed by Individual ($10.99 per month), and then Family ($16.99 per month). Apple also offers a cheaper student package of $5.99 per month.

Unique Possibilities

Purchasing audiobooks, interpreting song lyrics, streaming video podcasts, and making playlists with friends are all exclusive features of Spotify. There are also special recordings of live performers.

Apple Music has some great features that you will not find on Spotify. These include Apple Music Sing, Top Charts (where you can find the most popular music around the world in various cities), and the ability to listen to music together using SharePlay while on a video or voice call. You will also find music videos (including a 24-hour livestream of popular music videos), mini-documentaries, artist interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and even live performances in audio and video formats. Finally, Apple Music’s “Lyrics” feature lets you tap a line and skip to a specific part of a song.


Apple Music offers better sound quality, has more exclusive features, and includes music videos, radio shows… Spotify includes music along with audiobooks and podcasts, offers a free plan, and supports multiple platforms. As for streaming, Spotify has a better user experience and a better recommendation algorithm.

At the end of the day, both platforms are great, but to choose the right service for you, you should consider the devices you use, the features you want, and how much you are willing to pay per month for a streaming service. For most people, Spotify will be the best choice, but if you are an Apple fan, maybe Apple Music and all its features will be your first choice, partly because of the Apple ecosystem, and partly because of the better sound quality.

In the end, we can say that you will not go wrong with any choice, the only question is what you want from the streaming service.

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