Battle of the beats – how does music streaming giant Spotify hold up against Apple Music?
Over the last decade years Spotify has sat comfortably in the throne as the most popular paid streaming service in the world. Now, Apple — the company that propelled the digital music revolution forward back in 2001 — is looking to reclaim their place and boot Spotify from its cloud.
Despite launching nearly seven years after Spotify, Apple Music has established itself as a keen competitor to the music-streaming colossus of Spotify. Now that both services have had time to butt heads, let's take a look at how the two compare.
|Free Trial||60 days||3 months|
|Quality||320 kbps||256 kbps|
|Price||$11.99 AUD||$11.99 AUD|
Yes, Spotify has long offered either a free tier option, or a 2–month free trial for their premium services. Apple Music does the same, though it one-ups Spotify’s already generous trial by offering a lengthy 3–month trial.
Whether, it’s the world's most petty case of one-upmanship or Apple are simply taking a page out of their predecessor’s book, they are giving Spotify users more than enough time to trial their service.
Sign up for a free 3-month Apple Music trial from Apple Store
Listen to over 45 million songs, ad-free with zero commercials. Plus get unlimited downloads to your library, and listen anywhere without Wi-Fi or using data. There’s no commitment, you can cancel anytime.View details
Streaming quality is, oddly, where Apple Music loses points in the battle. Apple’s service streams at 256 kbps (the same as iTunes), which is lower than many competitors like Spotify and Rdio (who both offer a high-quality 320 kbps stream). And according to Apple subsidiary, Beats, 256 kbps is actually below the “industry standard”.
There are many theories as to why this is: maybe Apple are making room so their Beats headphones can be marketed with “enhanced sound”, or maybe it’s simply that millions of iTunes users seem to take no issue with 256 kbps streaming (we certainly don’t). If you are an avid muso, however, you might want to compare the two services’ free trials to ensure you’ll be content with the final product.
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Spotify certainly has the upper hand in terms of stream quality and with third party music integration, Playstation compatibility and Spotify’s tried and true algorithm, it sure isn’t short on extra features that sweeten the pot.
Conversely, the extra features of Apple Music do a lot to set it apart from a sea of bare-bones services. With flashy additions like Siri integration and Apple Music Connect, there is no doubt Apple is banking on these features to sell subscriptions.Back to top
While Apple Music and Spotify won’t be sharing a meal any time soon, they do have one thing in common, the exact same price point. Yep, both services will set you back $11.99 AUD. If a lower quality stream doesn’t concern you all that much and you don’t mind the occasional advertisement disrupting your listening experience, Spotify does still offer free access to their colossal music library. While the same can’t be said for Apple Music, you can partially access some new features simply by signing in with your Apple I.D.Back to top
Apple Music's library clocks in at an impressive 40 million songs, which is 7 million more tracks than its streaming rival Spotify.
And make no mistake, this is no coincidence, just another way Apple is taking aim at its competitors. Plus, any songs you've purchased through iTunes or ripped from CD can be streamed through Apple Music, potentially expanding your Apple Music library even more.Back to top
When it comes down to Apple vs Spotify, who will be crowned king of the digital music scene?
Forget the rest, this is where the competition really stands. Apple has made no effort to hide the fact it's gunning for number one spot and have yet to show any concern for who they trample along the way. Spotify has put up a fight, though, and a recent report of Spotify's best efforts to pay out royalties (to the tune of $3 billion) suggests the streaming giant is trying its darndest to get on the good side of major music labels after some fairly destructive public outcry from Taylor Swift and Thom Yorke.
Interestingly, this announcement came within just 24 hours of reports of an "anti-trust investigation" against Apple. The attorney general of New York is reportedly looking into suspicions that the tech giant Apple has colluded with major labels in a bid to drive "freemium" services, like Spotify, from the market. So, while it's impossible to declare a music streaming champion at the current time, it will no doubt be a bloody and bitter fight to the death. Colour us intrigued.
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