Streaming with options

Spotify

Spotify Green Logo

Premier streaming

Apple Music

Apple Music App Icon

Spotify brings music streaming to the masses thanks to its ad-supported free tier and various Premium plans. While Spotify doesn't offer the highest sound quality (yet), its expansive library boasts more than 70 million songs, thousands of playlists, and more than two million podcast titles.

From free at Spotify

Pros

  • Sharing music is easy
  • Free tier option
  • More Premium options
  • Massive podcast library

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Weaker audio quality
  • Limited to certain countries

The subscription-based Apple Music offers listeners access to more than 75 million songs, exclusive music videos, and curated playlists from around the globe. You can also tune in to Apple Music 1 for exclusive interviews from Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, and more.

From $5 at Apple

Pros

  • Ad-free music
  • Higher audio quality
  • 24/7 radio stations
  • Online and offline listening

Cons

  • No free tier
  • Limited podcast library
  • Limitations on protected songs

Spotify and Apple Music are top-tier streaming platforms that give users access to millions of songs, podcasts, and exclusive music content. While it can be difficult to decide which service will be the better option for your listening needs, it comes down to what you're looking for in a music streaming service: better audio or more versatility. Read on to learn more about which each platform is offering right now.

Spotify vs. Apple Music: Subscription options

Apple Music AndroidSource: Android Central

Both Spotify and Apple Music offer a variety of subscription plans depending on the listening habits of you and your family. While only Spotify offers a free, ad-supported tier with limited streaming options, Apple Music does allow new users to try any one of its paid plans for three months free.

All you need to do is go to Apple.com> select Start Your Free Trial>Pick the plan you want> Click on Try it for free. Once your free trial runs out, you'll automatically be charged the next month for your chosen plan. It's also worth pointing out that, through Jan. 31, 2022, Apple Music's free trial is extended to five months. In addition to its free tier, Spotify offers a one-month free trial when you sign up for any platform Premium tiers. Like Apple Music, once the trial runs out, you'll be charged the regular cost of the plan you initially chose.

Spotify Apple Music
Student $4.99 $4.99
Voice Plan $4.99
Individual $9.99 $9.99
Duo $12.99
Family $15.99 $14.99
Audio ~96 kbps, ~160 kbps, and ~320 kbps (Ogg Vorbis) 16-bit/44.1kHz to 24-bit/192kHz
Compatible devices PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One; Spotify Studios podcasts Works with Siri on the HomePod/HomePod mini; Apple Music 1 Radio; Cloud music locker; spatial audio

Both Spotify and Apple Music also offer Student and Individual subscriptions, which cost $4.99 and $9.99. Spotify's Student plan is identical to its Individual tier in that it includes ad-free streaming, the ability to listen to music offline, and on-demand playback. The only difference? It costs half the price. Apple Music's Student plan also offers the same traditional Apple Music experience as its Individual plan at a discounted rate.

Apple Music also recently announced a new Voice Plan subscription tier, which also costs $4.99/month and is designed around the power of Siri. Users can subscribe to the Voice Plan with Siri by saying, "Hey Siri, start my Apple Music Voice trial," or by signing up through the Apple Music app. Once subscribed, users get the same perks as the Individual plan and can request songs from the entire Apple Music catalog to be played across Siri-enabled devices such as the HomePod mini speakers, AirPods, and iPhones. The Siri-enabled Voice Plan also works while using CarPlay.

Additionally, both Spotify and Apple Music offer Family Plans, which allow multiple listeners within the same household to create separate profiles. Spotify's Family Plan costs $15.99 per month and allows for up to six separate profiles under the same account. Subscribers also get a Family Mix, which compiles favorite tracks from each profile and the standalone Spotify Kids app for younger listeners. In comparison, Apple Music's Family Plan also allows for up to six users. If you're not ready to commit to a full Family Plan, Spotify also offers the "Duo" premium subscription tier for $12.99 a month, including two Premium accounts and access to the Duo Mix.

Spotify vs. Apple Music: The key differences

Spotify Wrapped 2021 Pixel 6 Pro LifestyleSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Beyond the varied subscription plans, the biggest differences between Spotify and Apple Music come down to the audio quality and content libraries available on each platform.

Standard-quality Apple Music tracks are 256 kbps AAC files, which is the same format as tracks purchased from iTunes, meaning even the "lowest quality" songs available on Apple Music sound a bit better than anything you'll find on Spotify currently. Apple Music also offers a "lossless" feature, which allows subscribers to listen to a selection of higher-resolution, ranging from "CD-quality" 16-bit/44.1kHz up to "Hi-Res Audio" 24-bit/192kHz.

In comparison, Spotify streams songs at ~96 kbps, ~160 kbps, and ~320 kbps in the Ogg Vorbis format and only offers the highest audio quality to Premium subscribers. While none of these quality levels currently compare to Apple Music's "lossless" picks, this is expected to change with the upcoming rollout of Spotify HiFi.

There are also some key differences between the Spotify and Apple Music libraries, especially regarding podcasts. While Apple Music claims to offer a more extensive music catalog at 90 million songs, versus the more than 70 million songs on Spotify, Spotify tends to add more new artists on a daily basis and stands out for boasting upwards of four billion curated, ever-evolving playlists. Users can also search playlists by genre, international charts, and mood. In addition, Spotify's recent acquisition of podcast production companies such as Anchor, Gimlet Media, Parcast, and The Ringer means the brand also hosts more than 3.2 million podcast titles.

Apple Music also offers a wide array of genre- and mood-specific playlists and seems to provide more genre categories and hidden gems on a regular basis. Additionally, Apple Music allows users to purchase songs they like and add those to their iCloud Music Library and gives subscribers access to exclusive music video content.

It's also worth pointing out that, where Apple Music lacks in podcasts, it easily beats Spotify in the radio department. Apple Music 1 radio, previously branded as Beats 1, is exclusive to Apple Music Premium subscribers. In addition to airing a 24-hour mix of pop, rap, and indie, Apple Music 1 features exclusive artist interviews and presenters, including Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, and Matt Wilkinson.

Spotify vs. Apple Music: Which service is right for you?

When it comes to the battle of Spotify vs. Apple Music, both boast massive music catalogs and are compatible with Android and iOS devices, making either streaming service a solid choice. And similar to comparing Apple Music vs. YouTube Music, it truly comes down to personal preference.

If you're a big podcast listener, then Spotify may be the best service for you. Spotify also has the added perk of giving users access to its entire podcast catalog within the app, while Apple Music still chooses to restrict most of its podcast content to the dedicated Podcasts app.

On the contrary, Apple Music is the next best choice if you're an audiophile who has yet to commit to TIDAL but still wants access to higher-quality music. As mentioned above, this may change when Spotify finally rolls out its Spotify HiFi tier, and we will keep you updated if it does.

Streaming with options

Spotify Green Logo

Spotify

Music, podcasts, and more

Spotify has proved to be the music streaming service to beat thanks to its variety of subscription tiers, curated playlists, and extensive library of podcasts. You can also try out Spotify's free tier before committing to a Premium plan.

Premier streaming

Apple Music App Icon

Apple Music - Streaming service

More music, better quality

While Apple Music doesn't offer a free tier, you can sign up for an extended free trial before committing to the service full time. Apple Music also boasts higher audio quality than Spotify and an extensive collection of exclusive content.

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