apple music vs. spotify

Apple Music vs. Spotify comparison – Do you know which one is better? Spotify has been offering music streaming services for decades, while Apple Music came to light somewhere six years ago. However, both these giants have positioned themselves equally in the market within this time.

The Swedish-born Spotify is a freemium model, meaning free essential services and charges for some premium services. On the other hand, Apple Music is a replacement for traditional iTunes. Both applications have enriching features and a broad customer base. Let us know them in detail:

Apple Music iPhone vs. Spotify: Comparing prices, features, and sound quality 

The below-mentioned points will help you to get a detailed idea of how the two differ from each other.

1. Streaming quality

Apple Music offers an audiophile-grade streaming experience with high-resolution streaming options at no extra cost. Its default settings are at high resolution and change automatically on cellular data. However, these settings are subject to change per user needs. 

Apple Music streams content at 16-bit/ 44.1 kHz, 24-bit/ 48 kHz, 24-bit/ 192 kHz and spatial audio through Dolby Atmos content. Its streaming quality is at 256 kbps maximum, utilizing the AAC audio format. The AAC Bluetooth codec is far more efficient than other open-source alternatives.

Users can enjoy the best Apple Music streaming quality with headphones. However, Apple Music does not support all wire/ wireless headphones available in the market. Despite this shortcoming, it is one of the top-quality music streaming applications.

Spotify default settings are automatic, meaning the quality changes with internet connection strength. It streams audio at 320 kbps for premium users and 160 kbps for free users. It uses open-source AAC and Ogg Vorbis codec. The premium option lets users download up to 10,000 songs to stream in the highest quality. 


Both streaming services are good at satisfying casual music listeners. However, Apple Music supersedes this round due to its high-resolution streaming. Although Spotify Hi-Fi will launch soon, it will offer CD-quality audio in selected regions. 

Thus based on all the current facts, Apple Music wins the streaming quality round. 

2. Content and recommendations

content and recommendations

Apart from music content, both streaming applications host a variety of non-music content. Spotify provides a diverse range of audio podcasts. It acquired podcast production companies like Gimlet Media, Parcast, Anchor, and more than 3.6 million titles. Moreover, it is home to popular shows like The Michelle Obama podcast, The Joe Rogan experience, etc. 

Spotify allows users to upload video podcasts and content into their existing audio shows. It aims to develop sports, music, and cultural programming with ‘A Locker Room,’ a live sports talk app. It partners with Riot Games and League of Legends for exclusive content.

Spotify promotes underrepresented aspirational podcasters with less exposure through the ‘Sound up program.’ This program aims at honing their skills and creativity to host their shows. Spotify also provides fiction, non-fiction, classic literature, poetry, young adult, language learning, children’s stories, and other audiobooks.

On the other hand, Apple Music provides music videos and live radio programming as non-music content. It has three main stations that broadcast live 24*7 to 165 countries. There are genre-specific radio shows, celeb-hosted shows, discussions, artist interviews, local and international news, sports radio stations, etc.

There is a vast selection of music videos, live videos, documentaries, live performances, behind the scenes, etc.

From the recommendation forefront, Spotify beats Apple music’s human-curated playlists. It provides recommendations based on listener history and Spotify algorithms. The ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist saves time and curates hours’ worth of song lists. Apple Music has a dedicated ‘Listen Now’ tab with song recommendations.


This round of Apple Music vs. Spotify battle is won by the latter. Spotify offers more diversified content than Apple Music. Also, its recommendation algorithm works magically.

3. Music library

music library

Apple Music is well-known for exclusive deals with new and old artists. It offers over 90 million+ songs from various genres and provides exclusive content services to paid users. It works as the only platform for many early content releases by famous singers like Drake, Taylor, etc.

In contrast, Spotify has an extensive music catalog with over 82 million+ songs and 60,000+ added to the list daily. It strives to become the ultimate audio streaming application with content diversification to add famous podcasters to the mix. Moreover, it is an excellent application for small artists looking for a breakthrough.

Spotify provides the newest mainstream hits owing to its partnership with Billboard. It curates charts like Billboard 100, Billboard 20, etc. The Charts section signifies the current trending artists in different world territories. Along with traditional music genres like Pop, Hip-Hop, Chill, Rock, etc., it covers unique genres like Anime, Karaoke, Songwriters, etc. It also hosts extensive Indie releases and supports independent artists and music publications.

Apple Music’s Library divides songs into hundreds of genres and moods. It also features the latest releases and top hits through curated playlists. The app supports Indie artists worldwide with skilfully curated playlists.

Apple Music specifies its categories with interesting titles like- Indigenous Australia, Schlager, Behind the songs, etc. It provides more fleshed-out song classes. 


Comparing music libraries, Apple Music wins because of its thoughtful curation and attention to detail. However, both Spotify and Apple Music offer extensive music content and libraries, the latter benefit from the additional variety provided to users.

For example, both Spotify and Apple Music have a dedicated Songwriters category, but Apple Music goes one step ahead to include songwriters, singer-songwriters, producers, and musicians all in one. This attention to detail gives it an insightful edge over Spotify.

4. User interface and features

ui and features

Spotify has a cleaner and better-organized user interface, design, and layout. It keeps personalization at the top and shows recently played songs, artists, and related numbers a user may like.

Apple Music also has a well-designed UI, but it can get overwhelming with the numerous tabs on the screen. Although these buttons are present to enable ease in content access, it works the opposite. Unlike Spotify, Apple Music divides different features into sections with eye-pleasing aesthetics at play. 

Both Apple Music and Spotify provide Search by Lyric functionality. Also, both apps have added karaoke-style lyrics on-screen. Here, the difference lies in the presentation. Apple Music provides a full-screen lyrics presentation that pleases the eye with bold fonts and glassmorphism. It seems classy and enables scrolling to jump to another line.

Spotify includes a graphical equalizer helping in tailoring the sound to match users’ tastes. Apple Music does not have an extensive equalizer functionality.

Spotify pairs well with many voice assistants, including Amazon Alexa, Google voice assistant, and Siri. However, this integration is only available to premium users. Apple Music only supports Siri. 


Although both applications have extensive functionalities and beautiful designs, Spotify gets the edge because of more intuitive user controls.

5. Sharing is caring

sharing is caring

Both Apple Music and Spotify include social-sharing features, meaning sharing songs, artists, albums with friends and family. Users can share songs on an Instagram story or share direct links on other social media applications. Spotify goes another mile with a few tricks up its sleeve.

Spotify allows making collaborative playlists with friends and family for a perfect Friday or Saturday night. It also facilitates sharing songs via scan codes. Apple Music enables sharing playlists via Airdrop. However, its social sharing features are basic and do not add much value compared to Spotify.


Spotify wins the game because of its enriching social media integrations and sharing features.

6. Offline downloads

offline downloads

Both Spotify and Apple Music offer offline song downloads in paid versions of the application. However, there are limits to offline streaming. With Apple Music, users can download up to 100,000 songs in the library. Moreover, with the iCloud Music Library feature, these songs get synced across devices with the same Apple ID. 

The members of Spotify premium can download up to 10,000 songs each on five different devices. However, this number does not entail saved playlists. 

Available offline content in Apple Music are songs, video content, artists, concerts, and exclusives. Spotify goes a step further to provide access to audiobooks and podcasts offline.


There is not much difference in the offline downloads category. However, Apple Music wins this round due to the maximum number of downloads and syncing features.

7. Subscription fees

subscription fees

Spotify and Apple Music have comparable pricing and plans. 

ApplicationFreeIndividual/ PremiumFamily planStudent planOthers
SpotifyAvailable$9.99 per month$15.99 a month$4.99 per monthPremium Duo at $12.99 per month
Apple MusicNot available$9.99 monthly or $99 annually$14.99 a month$4.99 per monthNot applicable

This is the subscription plan for the US region.

The features in Premium plans of both the applications are similar: 

  • Complete content library access
  • Offline songs download
  • Ad-free and on-demand play
  • Accessible on multiple devices
  • Extensive music and non-music content

The differences that set them apart are as follows:

  • Spotify offers a free, ad-supported plan. Apple Music gives a three-month free trial to verify its worth. 
  • Spotify allows users to like an unlimited amount of songs. Apple Music restricts songs up to 100,000 in the library. 
  • The Family plan eligibility differs in both applications. While Spotify allows members residing at the same address to subscribe for a family plan, Apple Music wants them to share the same iTunes store region. 
  • An additional subscription plan by Spotify enables two users residing at the same address to purchase premium at discounted rates. Apple Music does not cater to such plans.
  • Spotify offers some additional perks in its plans like Spotify Kids, Hulu, and Showtime. Apple Music does not have such services.


Based on the above pricing and subscription fees, it is clear that both applications provide value to money. However, the additional perks, free plans, and diversified services set Spotify apart and make it a winner.

8. Try before you buy

try before you buy

Users should take advantage of the free trial periods available on both applications to verify their worth. Apple Music provides a generous three-month free trial period, limited to an Individual account.

On the other hand, Spotify only provides a one-month free trial, after which it will either revert to the free, ad-supported plan or premium. Although the trial period is less, Spotify does not restrict it to the Premium Plan. Even Family and duo plans get a free month, meaning multiple users under the same subscription can utilize the services. 


It is a draw because the free trial periods are available in both, and although Spotify gives less time, it has a free plan.

Also Read: How To Make A Music Streaming App Like Tidal

Conclusion – Which is better? 

After an in-depth comparison of Apple Music vs. Spotify, it is apparent that both applications offer some enriching features. While Apple Music has an aesthetic UI, high-resolution streaming quality, exclusive content, live radio programming, and more, Spotify offers flexibility, perks, content diversity, intuitive user controls, and highly personalized music recommendations. 

Since the technical aspects of both applications match, the differences come in the type and presentation of content. However, here lies subjectivity. Different users have varying needs that an application satisfies. Therefore, comparing which is best seems futile.

Hopefully, this in-depth comparison offered you the needed insights. Feel free to reach out to the experts of Idea Usher to help you in the process of designing a music streaming app that is worth it for you.

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Here are some interesting FAQs on Apple vs. Spotify

1. Can I download music to my iPod with Apple Music?

No, Apple Music is a subscription-based service. It contains a download feature that lets users listen to songs when not connected to the internet. You can only play songs on the Apple Music account. 

2. Can I add my songs to Apple Music?

Yes, it is possible. You have to open Audio files using the Music app and synchronize the library to add songs from the laptop/ desktop. The files will become available on devices with Apple Music after synchronization is complete. 

3. Can I add my songs to Spotify?

Although adding own songs to Spotify is possible, it is a complex task. You must go to the App settings> Local files> Enable “show local files” to add music from the Desktop app. Then, specify paths from which Spotify can find the music and add it to its list.

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