Apple Music vs Spotify: the music streaming titans go head-to-head

Apple Music vs Spotify: What’s new for each service?

Apple Music: At WWDC 2019, Apple announced that it will retire iTunes on MacOS and replace it with Apple Music, Apple TV and Podcast apps. You’ll still be able to sync your iOS device using Apple Music, and your entire catalog of music will be safe within the new Apple Music app.

Spotify: It was recently announced that Spotify Stations, a Pandora-esque online radio service that launched in Australia last year, would be available in the US starting in June. 

The music world has always been about rivalries. There’s Taylor Swift vs. Kanye, Tupac vs. Biggie, Eminem vs… everyone? Now, you can add a new rivalry to the mix: Spotify vs Apple Music. 

While there are any number of streaming services for you to choose from out there, the only two contenders you should care about are the Swedish-born Spotify with its freemium music model and Apple Music, the replacement to iTunes that has exclusive albums and a monstrous 45-million song library. That said, Spotify has the advantage at the moment with a much larger user base, at least outside the US. That’s because Spotify doesn’t ask for any money upfront, and you can go for years without ever paying a dime. Sure, Apple may offer a free trial but, at some point, you’re going to need to pony up. 

So which service should you invest your entertainment budget in? To help you choose the right one for you, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of each service so you can sign up and start listening.

Apple Music

How big is its music library? 

Apple music has a large song library, numbering around 45 million, across a broad range of genres. So if you’re into French skiffle or Brazilian electro pop and you’re struggling to find your more obscure artists, there’s a great chance Apple Music will have you covered.

Plus, this being an Apple product, its interface is easy to navigate both on a Mac/PC and in more portable forms such as smartphone or tablet and you can download tracks to take them with you when you’re away from a Wi-Fi connection. It’s a feature Apple Music shares with Spotify, but it’s a vital one if you want to keep users signing up to the paid version.

How much does it cost?

Unlike Spotify, which offers both free /and/ paid versions, Apple Music only offers a free trial version before it requires you to sign up. 

It’s understandable from a business POV – especially with so many exclusives serving as a golden carrot for potential users – but not having any form of long-term free-to-use version has ultimately worked against Apple’s desire to increase its overall user base.

Free trials are limiting, especially to those looking to experience the service on a long term basis. Giving users limited access to the full experience of its service might seem like a better deal in the short term, but it suffers in the long-term compared to the free/ad-filled version Spotify offers.

Still, having three different payment plans does show Apple wants its users who are willing to cough up a more dynamic approach. Having a cheaper plan aimed at students ($4.99/£4.99/AU$5.99) is a great deal (but not an exclusive one as Spotify offers something similar), especially as this rate still gives you access to every facet of its service. For everyone else its $9.99/£9.99/AU$11.99 for an individual, or $14.99/£14.99/AU$17.99 for a family subscription for up to six people 

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