Apple Music vs. Spotify: Comparing the top music streaming services

Apple Music and Spotify are the 2 greatest names in music streaming. They’ve the identical month-to-month subscription payment ($10, £10 or AU$12) so it may be difficult to know which one most accurately fits your wants. Would you like lossless and spatial audio support? Apple Music is the one. Love podcasts and need a smart music player on your automotive? Spotify is your jam.

A part of the selection additionally comes right down to the way you pay attention. Should you’re having fun with music at house sensible speaker assist is essential, however music discovery and stream high quality will be as essential (if no more) for eager music lovers. This comparability is up to date periodically with new data.

Learn extra: Best music streaming service of 2021

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Spotify is essentially the most versatile possibility if you wish to stream songs with out paying, as a result of it has a free, ad-supported tier. You should utilize Spotify throughout completely different gadgets from sensible audio system to recreation consoles to telephones. There’s additionally a strong podcast providing, together with some exclusives and a subscription service.

Read our Spotify review.


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Apple Music has a key benefit over Spotify in you can mix the songs you already personal with the Apple Music streaming catalog. Siri customers additionally get extra sturdy voice controls for playback. Like Spotify, Apple Music has playlists that serve up songs primarily based in your listening habits, however you can too hearken to the Beats 1 Radio stations with human DJs on the helm. It additionally affords lossless audio and Dolby Atmos spatial audio assist on choose songs.

Read our Apple Music review.


Spotify vs. Apple Music

Spotify Apple Music
Value $10 a month ($5 for college students) $10 a month ($5 for college students)
Household plan Sure, as much as 6 individuals ($16) Sure, as much as 6 individuals ($15)
Free tier Sure, ad-supported No, solely Beats1 radio
Free trial 3 months  3 months
Stream high quality Depends on platform: 256Kbps AAC (Premium) or 128Kbps AAC (free) on net participant; as much as 320Kbps (Premium) or 160Kbps (free) on desktop, cellular and pill. Lossless audio and Dolby Atmos spatial audio from June 2021, 256Kbps AAC
Music library Over 70 million songs, 2.6 million podcasts Over 75 million songs


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Apple Music vs. Spotify: Music streaming battle


Apple Music and Spotify price the identical (principally)

Each Spotify and Apple Music supply a free three-month trial interval for his or her premium companies, which usually price $10 (£10, AU$12) a month. It prices $5 for college students, $15 for an Apple Music household plan or $16 for a Spotify household plan. You may stream any tune from the catalog on demand, plus hearken to songs offline. 

Spotify is providing three months of its premium version free to new customers till Sept. 30, 2021, whereas Apple Music is providing six months free for brand new customers via Greatest Purchase.

Spotify is the one one of many two music companies with a free, ad-supported tier, so even if you happen to do not need to pay for the premium model you possibly can nonetheless pay attention. The caveat (apart from the interruptions) is that many albums and playlists require you to pay attention in shuffle mode reasonably than sequential play and there is a restrict of six skips per hour.

Apple Music lets free customers stream Beats1 Radio, or you possibly can hearken to songs out of your iTunes library.

Spotify additionally affords a Premium Duo subscription for 2 customers who reside on the identical tackle for $13 (£13, AU$16). And if you happen to’re a scholar, you may get entry to Hulu and Showtime (ad-supported) as part of your Premium subscription

Winner: Spotify


The free model of Spotify allows you to hearken to songs on demand, however many playlists and albums can solely be listened to on shuffle.

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Does Apple Music or Spotify have higher streaming high quality?

Spotify makes use of the Ogg Vorbis format or AAC. On cellular you possibly can select what bit fee to stream, in increments as much as 320Kbps, which is helpful particularly if you happen to’re fearful about utilizing up an excessive amount of cellular knowledge. Should you pay attention on Spotify’s net participant, it streams in AAC at 128Kbps free of charge customers or 256Kbps for premium.

Apple Music streams 256Kbps AAC information and now has lossless and spatial audio on choose songs. Customers might want to opt-in to lossless audio by going to Settings, then Music, then Audio High quality on the iPhone. Spotify will quickly add a HiFi subscription for lossless audio later in 2021. To seek out out extra about bit fee and audio high quality, learn this in-depth comparison of sound quality between Apple Music and Spotify

You too can alter the equalizer in each to fit your preferences, though you may discover Apple Music’s EQ exterior of the app within the Settings app. 

Winner: Apple Music

Apple Music has extra tracks, Spotify has podcasts

Spotify says it has a catalog of over 70 million songs whereas Apple Music is over 75 million. Each supply early entry to sure albums sometimes and Apple Music typically affords exclusives for sure music movies.

Should you activate iCloud Music Library inside Apple Music, you possibly can entry your private library of tunes throughout all of your gadgets (from the PC to the telephone). This function “matches” songs in your library with these within the iTunes catalog, or uploads them if the tune is not accessible, so you possibly can hearken to your music wherever you are signed in along with your Apple ID. You may retailer as much as 100,000 songs.

Be aware that iTunes Match can be accessible even with out an Apple Music subscription for $25 a yr.

Spotify additionally allows you to play music out of your machine within the Spotify app, but it surely solely works for native information (so they are not saved within the cloud). Spotify is the one service that provides podcasts inside the app. Apple splits podcasts right into a devoted Podcasts app.

Winner: Apple Music for integrating your individual library, however Spotify has the podcast benefit


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Is Apple Music or Spotify simpler to make use of?

Apple Music incorporates a clear white look on cellular, whereas Spotify paints it black throughout its apps. (Activate darkish mode on iOS and Apple Music will change, too.) Each apps are fairly simple to navigate, with the primary tabs (radio, search, your library and so forth) discovered on the backside of the interface.

Each allow you to take a look at lyrics on display in the event that they’re accessible for specific songs. However solely Apple Music allows you to search by typing a stream of lyrics to seek out songs you do not know the identify of.

Google Maps allows you to hearken to and management Spotify or Apple Music playback inside the navigation interface in iOS and Android. Waze additionally affords an identical function for Spotify customers. Spotify additionally affords a wise participant on your automotive known as Automobile Factor, even when you do not have an Android Auto-compatible automobile.

On high of CarPlay assist, Apple Music for Android works with Android Auto, so you possibly can management playback via the infotainment system.

Winner: Draw

Spotify allows you to pay attention in additional locations, Apple Music is greatest for Siri

Each Apple Music and Spotify can be found on iOS and Android. Each have desktop apps for Home windows and Mac, so you are not restricted to listening on cellular.


Spotify Join allows you to Solid to suitable gadgets and pay attention on AirPlay audio system (on iOS solely).

Celso Bulgatti/CNET

You too can hearken to music in your browser: Spotify is at and Apple Music is at

And you can too stream any audio to a Bluetooth wi-fi speaker, to an AirPlay speaker from an iOS machine, or to a Chromecast speaker from an Android machine (you can too solid from iOS when you’ve got Spotify).

On the subject of sensible audio system, Apple Music with Siri voice management on Apple’s HomePod and is now suitable with Amazon’s full line of Echo smart speakers through the Alexa App (US solely). It is also accessible on different Apple and Amazon gadgets just like the Apple Watch, Apple TV and FireTV.

Along with Amazon Alexa audio system, Spotify can be accessible on and Google sensible audio system. And if a tool is licensed as Spotify Connect compatible, it means you need to use the Spotify app as a distant to manage playback. Spotify can be accessible throughout a variety of different gadgets like Xbox and PlayStation.

Winner: Spotify

Music discovery instruments excel on Spotify and Apple Music


Beats1 Radio.

Screenshot by Lexy Savvides/CNET

One of many high causes to make use of a streaming service is to find new music. Each Spotify and Apple Music expose you to new tunes primarily based on what you already like.

Spotify has tailor-made playlists like Uncover Weekly and Launch Radar which can be robotically populated every week with new songs. Apple Music has comparable playlists, together with New Music Combine.

Once you first join every service, each ask you on your favourite genres and artists to get a baseline studying. When you begin listening extra, every will get a clearer image of your likes and dislikes to assist tailor suggestions even additional.

Spotify and Apple Music even have radio stations primarily based round your favourite artists, tracks or genres. Apple Music additionally has a separate station known as Beats1 Radio which is curated and hosted by precise DJs, so you possibly can hearken to it in actual time such as you would a conventional radio station.

In our expertise, Spotify’s algorithmic suggestions for brand new music primarily based on our listening habits is essentially the most on-point. However Apple Music’s human-curated radio station typically uncovers new or unreleased tracks that additionally attraction.

Winner: Spotify for playlists, Apple Music for radio lovers

Social sharing is a win for Apple Music


Spotify codes will be scanned with the digital camera to share playlists.

Screenshot by Lexy Savvides/CNET

Each companies allow you to observe your favourite artists to maintain updated with their posts and newest releases.

You too can observe pals. On Spotify, you possibly can see what tune your friends are listening to in real-time (in the event that they select to share this element) on the desktop app.

Spotify Codes are a approach to share tracks, albums and playlists amongst pals. It is sort of like a customized QR code you can scan with the digital camera in Spotify if you happen to’re listening in the identical location, or share via messages if you happen to’re aside.

Many widespread musicians appear to be extra lively in posting updates on Apple Music and it is simpler to seek out that content material than it’s on Spotify.

Naturally, you can too observe your folks and see what they’re as much as throughout each platforms. Whereas it is a lot simpler to seek out profiles on Apple Music than it’s on Spotify, you do should have already got your folks in your contacts listing (or on Fb) to observe them.

Spotify has Group Sessions that lets two or extra Premium subscribers management music playback and collaborate on a shared playlist.

Winner: Apple Music

Is Apple Music or Spotify best for you?

If you’d like a free service, Spotify is the clear winner. However in case you are seeking to pay for a service, your determination could also be just a little extra difficult.

Apple Music performs nicely with different Apple gadgets. If you’d like voice management on the HomePod, for instance, Apple Music is your solely possibility. Spotify, however, has higher cross-compatibility throughout a lot of completely different gadgets, from recreation consoles to sensible audio system.

It takes time to coach every of those companies to actually get to know your style. For our cash, Spotify does a greater job in uncovering and tailoring playlists and proposals to us via its customized playlists and discovery options. However Apple Music provides you essentially the most flexibility in mixing songs from your individual library (that may not even be on streaming companies) with new tunes you possibly can stream on demand.

In fact, Spotify and Apple Music aren’t your solely choices for streaming music companies. To see how they stack up towards opponents like Tidal and Amazon, click here to read our comparison. | Apple Music vs. Spotify: Evaluating the highest music streaming companies


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