Spotify vs. Apple Music: Which is right for you?

Bethany Berg, Photo Editor

Music is a very personal topic. It’s selective, which is why someone can love a song or an album and play it repeatedly for three weeks straight, and then suddenly never want to hear it again for months. In the meantime, there’s the process of finding new music to listen to – and on what platform.

There are many music-listening services available, from Rdio to Pandora and Rhapsody, but by far the most popular are Spotify and the semi-new Apple Music. When confronted with the amount of people around me using Spotify and liking it, I found myself almost wary to stray from my iTunes roots, afraid of the commitment of moving my artists and songs into a whole other “universe” that could potentially become a flop. But I wanted to answer the real question: which was right for me, and why?

After three months of researching and using each, I’ve put together the major differences of both services.



Apple Music and Spotify are both available for $10 a month, their free trials lasting three months for Apple, and one month for Spotify. Family sharing per month, on the other hand – Apple is $14.99 for up to six family members, while Spotify is $5 for every member added.


Winner: Apple Music



Both services offer over 30 million songs.

When you first open Apple Music, it will ask you for your music “tastes” based on your already made library, plus a few others. From there, it will provide you with specialized playlists and albums. There are some artists, such as the popular albums of Taylor Swift and Adele, that are only available on Apple Music.

On the other hand, Spotify will learn what you enjoy over time from your listening habits, but does include smaller, lesser-known artists that Apple Music does not support.


Winner: Spotify



Apple Music has a “For You” main tab, which includes a variety of playlists that are tailored to the artists and the genres you selected beforehand. The majority of them are tailored to a specific artist or genre, usually with less than 20 tracks in each. Apple Music also includes playlists that are not directly specific to your tastes, but instead are found in another tab, and can be divided into three categories – Apple Editors Playlists, Activity Playlists, and Curator Playlists. Apple Editors Playlists include 30 genres to pick from, each containing different collections of playlists, from “On Repeat” to “Music You Need to Hear” and “Recommended Playlists”.


If Spotify is known for anything, it’s the variety of playlists. From the “Browse” section, Spotify has 33 subjects to pick – from Mood, Travel, all the way to Spoken Word. There are 149 playlists to choose from, right now, in the Mood category, each varying from 37 to over 200 songs. These are just the ones made by Spotify, or Spotify-approved companies.


Winner: Spotify



I rarely, if at all, use the radio option on either service. Apple Music has made a big show of their worldwide, 24-hour live “Beats 1” radio, which plays a large variety of different music. They have smaller, not-live stations, that center around different genres. If there is a specific song or artist that you enjoy, which is cataloged to determine what music you enjoy, and branch off of that.

Spotify has pretty much the same system, just all in one area. Genre-specific, artist-specific and recommended stations are available. Like Apple Music, you can thumbs-up or thumbs-down the songs played, so that they can get a better feel to what you enjoy.


Winner: Apple Music



Both music services have an easygoing experience to them, but for me, it comes down to a simple difference: if you like listening to the same music you’ve collected – granted that they’re already on iTunes – and like branching out every once in awhile to new music, Apple Music is for you. Even after supporting Apple and their products for most of my life, I found that I really do enjoy the aspects of Spotify more. Discovering new branches of music based on the ones I already love, and the variety of playlists within genres, make it the best for me.
Winner: Spotify