With the likes of Jay-Z owned Tidal, Soundcloud, Amazon Music Unlimited, Deezer, and more, there are a plethora of streaming services on the web to choose from. But so far, the two most popular services remain Spotify and Apple Music. Swedish behemoth Spotify has set the benchmark for rivals since it entered the scene way back in 2008. Its closest rival is the new kid on the block Apple Music.

Apple’s relatively new music service has what it takes to compete against Spotify. Thanks to its huge collection of tracks, exclusive tie-ups with top-flight artists, and the ever-rising subscriber base. In just a span of two years, Apple Music has bagged more than 27 million subscribers. In contrast, the nine-year-old Spotify boasts off 50 million paid subscribers. Given the ever-growing popularity of Apple Music, we try to find out how Apple’s relatively new music offering stacks up against the granddaddy of all – Spotify. More importantly, which one should be your go-to service. Let’s Play!

Music Library

Spotify boasts a catalog of over 30 million songs with around 20,000 new songs added every day. No wonder, Spotify currently has bragging rights in the streaming services space. In our experience, it gets all the latest albums probably before any of its competitors. Also, you can discover new music from a large number of playlists, sometimes uploaded by your favorite artists themselves. And thanks to tie-ups with digital distributor Dubset, you can also find user-uploaded mixes. Spotify has a lot on offer for any avid music listener. That too, for free!

Even Apple Music packs a solid collection of over 30 million songs. Besides, you also get the added advantage of iTunes integration. Any track from your iTunes library will also be available on Apple Music, giving users the option to play their own music alongside its own catalog of tracks. Not to forget, Apple has also managed to acquire exclusive deals for its streaming service, Taylor Swift and Drake being prime examples.

All in all, both Spotify and Apple Music are pretty even in terms of catalog size, offering over 30 million songs. That said, a few exclusive deals with artists and iTunes integration might turn the tide in Apple’s favor in the long run.

User Experience

The release of iOS 10 injected a breath of fresh air into Apple Music’s layout.  As earlier, it was cluttered, lacked intuitiveness, and was far from what you’d call minimalist. Thanks to iOS 10, everything is now neatly organized making much it easier to navigate. All your music is housed in the Library section, where you can select playlists, artists, albums, tracks, or any other music you’ve downloaded. To give it more personalized touch, there’s a ‘For You’ tab which shows up different options as per your taste in music. And with iCloud and iTunes integration, you can also play tracks stored on your iTunes account. Apple Music is tailor-made for those who like all their music in one place.

Even Spotify has a clean, simple, and intuitive layout that offers a streamlined experience which music lovers across the globe have come to love. The user interface delivers an easy way to find songs, listen to radio, access playlists, and disover new music. The classic sidebar menu layout is divided into three sections, making it rather easy to access any of its features. The ‘Home’ page is constantly updated with top hits in the US, along with new releases, music segregated by genres, and songs based on your streaming history.

And just like Apple Music, Spotify also lets you access all your music through its interface. But Apple Music does a much better job at that. That said, Spotify supports devices like Amazon’s Echo system which allows users to play their favorite tracks by using simple voice commands. Besides, Spotify also supports Google Cast integration giving users a hassle-free way to stream music on their high-end home theater systems.

Music Discovery

For someone looking to find more bands and explore more music, both Spotify and Apple Music help you discover more songs, albums, and artists based what kind of music you like. That said, Spotify does much better thanks to a standalone ‘Discovery’ section that help you find more playlists depending on your musical tastes. Discover Weekly, one its most popular feature uses a deep learning system that gives you a playlist of 30 new songs every week based on your listening habits.

Even Apple Music keeps track of your listening habits. Users are asked to input their favorite genres and artists when they register for Apple Music. Tapping on ‘Love’ or ‘Dislike’ on tracks keeps a track of your preferences and offers curated playlists based on it.

Pricing and Subscription plans

Spotify happens to be one of the few to offer free music streaming alongside its subscribed service. Despite the fact that it throws adverts and data is capped at 160kbps, Spotify’s commands a larger user base thanks to its free tier. Out of its 140 million user base, 90 million still prefer to listen without having to pay anything. For the remaining 50 million, it costs the industry standard of $10 a month which gives them added benefits of 320kbps streams, no adverts, along with the option for offline listening.

On the contrary, Apple Music does not have a free tier. However, you do get the option of a three-month free trial but isn’t as good as Spotify’s free tier. Once the three-month trial period is over, the monthly fee for online and offline music streaming, along with access to radio stations is also $10 on Apple Music.

That said, Apple’s Music ever growing subscriber user base is quite staggering. In just a span of two years, it has reportedly acquired 27 million subscribers- quite a mind-boggling figure for a service that’s relatively new in the market. On the contrary, Spotify, which has been around for nine years – has a paid subscriber base of around 50 million users.

Wrap Up

Despite being a relatively new service, Apple Music happens to be Spotify’s closest rival. With 27 million active users in just a span of two years, it certainly has the potential to claw its way past Spotify.  And why not? It’s a great option for Apple users with seamless iTunes and iCloud integration. Users can access all their music they’ve purchased or downloaded along with its catalog of 30 million songs.  Not to forget, it also offers exclusive content from top-notch artists alongside high-quality 256kbps AAC streams.

But if you like exploring and finding music, Spotify is definitely the way to go. Their AI based recommendations and curated playlists are right on spot. It offers better playlists and their weekly discovery playlist is way ahead of Apple’s. One does miss the integration of the music app, but I would still recommend Spotify. Besides, its sticks to its gene, and lives up to its ‘music for everyone’ tagline. With its loyal user base who get access to over 30 million tracks, along with the ability to explore and find more music without having to spend a dime – Spotify is currently at the helm of things.