Music Streaming Sites:
While older generations struggled with record players, cassettes and CD’s, listening to music has never been as easy as it is today. With smartphones music lovers can enjoy music with a tap of their finger. Now, the debate is over which music app is the best. I have used several different music platforms including Pandora and Soundcloud, but my favorites by far are Apple Music and Spotify. Apple Music and Spotify both allow users to listen to music online, as well as offline if the music has been downloaded. With premium memberships, each of these music platforms are advertisement-free. Likewise, Spotify and Apple Music both enable users to share their playlists with anyone and view friends’ playlists as well. While they appear to have similar features, there are also significant differences between the platforms.
According to Apple, Apple Music has a library of 45 million songs. Apple also has exclusive release deals with certain artists that release their music to Apple first before other streaming sites, giving it an edge in new music releases. Industry reviewer Sidify reports that Drake, Taylor Swift, Frank Ocean, Pharrell Williams and Future all have exclusive deals with Apple Music for their albums or songs, providing an incentive to join Apple Music for those who want priority in exclusively-released music. In 2017, Digital Music News reported that Apple started focusing on exclusive live performance streaming in an effort to catch up to Spotify’s dominance in the music streaming market, with over 23 million more subscribers than Apple. This way users can watch their favorite artists perform. One area where Apple falls short is the remixes category: difficult to find and with less variety, Apple Music remixes fail to provide the twists on classics that Spotify remixes do.
The cost of an Apple subscription depends on the plan. The first 3 months are free for all users. A standard subscription is $9.99 per month for an individual and a family plan is $14.99, allowing up to six people to create their own accounts and enjoy endless music under the same plan. Apple Music now has a student package that comes with one account for $4.99 per month.
The cost of the plan is not as important as the functionality of the app, in my opinion. Apple Music is not as intuitive, because it doesn’t know users’ music preferences as well as Spotify. When I tried to figure out why that was, Apple’s website reveals that the recommendations are chosen by the genre and artist selection users pick out when then first join, what users share that they love or dislike, and the music users listen to in the Apple Music catalogue. I don’t know about you, but my music taste evolves over time and on different days I want to listen to different types of music. Apple Music lacks premade playlists which make finding new music easy.
Overall rating: 4.5/5
Spotify feels like a social media platform and music app combined because of how easy it is to follow friends and see what they are listening to. I love this aspect of Spotify because it is easy to find new music. As long as your friends’ playlists are public, you can download and listen to their songs. There are also stations that users can listen to based off of a mood; for example, there are Chill and Mellow playlists for when listeners want to relax. Other stations include Low-Key, with mostly acoustic ballad-like songs, and Power Workout, with intense music aimed at motivating movement. Spotify also offers specific music selections based on a user’s music tastes and the type of songs on a playlist. One feature is called Your Daily Mixes, where Spotify creates customized playlists with your favorite songs and artists, as well as similar artists for you to explore.
Spotify has also teamed up with Hulu, a company that allows users to watch movies and TV shows, to give listeners a special deal. For $4.99 per month, students can get a subscription to both Hulu and Spotify. If you are not a student, you can get the same deal for $12.99. Another option Spotify offers is the premium family account. For $14.99 per month, up to 6 users can be added to the family plan. The cost does not apply right when users purchase the app because the first month of this plan is free. Apple Music and Spotify cost the same so the price is not a factor.
When it comes to Spotify’s radio feature, the stations include a wide variety of options. Users can discover new music by listening to stations ranging from pop and country to stations grouped by decade.
Overall rating 5/5
For many people, music is their escape and happiness. Although some may argue that Apple Music’s album release dates are first, Spotify releases them shortly after. Due to Spotify’s deal with Hulu and their diverse radio stations, I believe Spotify is superior to Apple Music. And, Spotify is more user friendly than Apple Music because the features are easier to navigate and the suggestions make it easier to find music you like. For these reasons, it is not surprising that Spotify dominates the market. In the age old debate of which platform is better, Apple Music or Spotify? I come out in favor of Spotify.