Apple Music and Spotify are two of the main music streaming services available. With a variety of content able to cater to all kinds of audiences, the two platforms are consolidated as two of the largest services in the global music streaming market, and their differences can be decisive when it comes to choosing the most appropriate app for different needs.
Spotify, for example, has a free plan that gives access to all your music with the display of ads and limitations in some controls, while Apple Music requires a subscription for playback, with a price a little lower than its rival. See below the main features of the services.
Spotify and Apple Music Comparison
|Monthly price||Individual: $9.99|
|Free version||Yes, only Apple Music Radio 1 and 90 days of free Premium version||Yes, free version with ads and 30 days of free Premium version|
|Audio quality||256kbps AAC and Dolby Atmos and lossless audio from June||320 kbps (Premium) and 128 Kbps (Free); HiFi audio coming soon|
|Collection||75 million tracks||Over 70 million tracks|
|Supported platforms||Web, Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android||Web, Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android|
|Interactions with friends||Yes, playlist sharing and following friends||Yes, playlist sharing, following friends, creating simultaneous play groups|
|Exclusive content||Yes, Apple Music Radio 1, exclusive artists, original shows and shows||Yes, original podcasts|
Pricing and plans
The platforms offer similar plans, except for Duo, a subscription option for couples or two friends living at the same address, which is only available on Spotify.
Apple Music offers individual plans for $9.99, Family Plan, with sharing of up to six participants of the same family unit for $14.99, and a cheaper option for college students for $4.99.
Spotify’s services have recently become more expensive. The platform’s prices are as follows: individual plan for $9.99; Family Plan for up to six members residing at the same address for $15.99; Student Plan for $4.99; and Duo Plan for $12.99 per month.
Both platforms have a trial period for new users, allowing free use of the service for 90 days for Apple Music, and 30 days for Spotify. In addition to the trial period, Spotify has the advantage of a free account, which allows you to listen to music with ads and the limitation to skip tracks. Apple Music offers free access only to the programming of the online radio station Radio Apple Music 1.
Both services have a vast collection and variety of music styles. While Spotify has a solid library of more than 70 million songs, besides exclusive content and artists, Apple’s platform reports having more than 75 million titles in its collection, besides the variety of podcasts, many of them exclusive and in Portuguese.
The sound quality in the applications varies mainly because of the audio formats used. While Apple Music supports only the AAC format and delivers an invariable audio quality of 256 Kbps, Spotify suffers variations depending on the playback platform and user plan.
In the mobile apps and desktop version, the format used by Spotify is called HE-AACv2 and Ogg Vorbis, which can play sounds in 24, 96, and 160 Kbps in the free version and 320 Kbps in the premium version. When used in the browser, just like Apple Music, the format adopted is AAC with 128 Kbps quality on the free plan, and 256 Kbps on the premium version.
Although Spotify is capable of playing sounds with slight technical superiority, Apple recently announced that the entire streaming catalog will be available in lossless audio starting in June at no additional cost to subscribers. In addition, the company also promises to deliver sounds with Dolby Atmos technology and Space Audio for a multi-dimensional immersive audio experience.
On Spotify, lossless technology should arrive by the end of the year for Premium plan subscribers, but for an additional fee to access the feature. The plan will be called Spotify HiFi.
Both services are available on the web and have apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux, as well as Android and iPhone (iOS). Apple Music, it is worth remembering, uses the same application as iTunes on the computer.
Interface and features
Both services have features that allow interaction between users, besides offering content suggestions such as songs and playlists according to the listener’s history. Both Apple Music and Spotify also offer automatic playback, allow you to choose the media playback order randomly, listen to songs and content offline, track lyrics and share via social networks. On Spotify, the difference is the possibility of playing playlists in groups simultaneously.
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