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LET'S DEBATE:

Spotify Versus Apple Music

 
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SPOTIFY

Spotify is a Swedish advertisement streaming and media services provider founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. Spotify did not reach the United States until 2011 however, as of September 2021, it is the largest music streaming service provider, with more than 381 million monthly users, 172 million of which are paying subscribers. Spotify is available in most of Europe and the Americas, Oceania, and over 40 countries in Africa and provides recorded music and podcasts to its users. Spotify is available on most devices such as phones, tablets, PCs, and Macs and can even be played via game consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X and S.

Spotify has different price tiers for users to choose from starting with the free option that interrupts listening between songs with advertisements as well as advertisements in the app, then a premium student option for $4.99 a month which has no ads, same with all of their premium options, then premium individual for $9.99 a month, premium duo for $12.99 which allows two people to share a plan, and premium family for $15.99 a month which allows up to six people. Spotify also has an option to pay for an entire year of the premium individual plan for $99. With any of these options users can listen to over 70 million songs and 2.6 million podcasts or listen to one of the 4.4 billion created playlists (As someone who has a playlist for every mood, I have contributed to at least 20 of those). 

Spotify has features such as the ability to stream songs at three different rates in the Ogg Vorbis format: 96 kilobits per second or kbps, 160 kbps, and 320 kbps, though the highest caliber is exclusively for premium users. Earlier this year Spotify announced that it has plans to release Spotify HiFi in 2021 which will offer lossless sound quality, though with it already being December and Spotify not having given a release date it may be delayed until 2022. Another feature Spotify offers is browser playback, meaning you can listen on a computer in a browser in addition to being able to listen through the app. One of Spotify’s most popular features is their curated content in which Spotify will present the user with personalized playlists like their “Daily Mix” and recommend new artists or songs that the user might like based on what they listen to. At the end of every year Spotify also releases a “Spotify Wrapped” in which the user can view how many minutes they listened to music, their top five listened to songs, artists, and genres, as well as how many genres and artists they explored. Spotify Wrapped also tells the user what percentage of listener, compared to others, they were for their top artist (admittedly, I am in the top 0.5% of listeners for Kodak Black) and this year even included an audio aura generated by using the moods that best showcase the user’s listening habits. Another feature that Spotify does well is their social sharing feature which allows users to easily share their Spotify content on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat as well as create links and scannable codes that can be sent on any messaging platform to share songs, playlists, or podcasts.

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Apple Music

Apple Music is a music and video streaming service developed by Apple Inc. When they first began Apple Music in 2015 it was solely a music streaming service but in 2016 they began expanding into videos as well. The original iOS version of Apple Music received mixed reviews because their user interface was deemed not intuitive. However, now Apple Music is the second largest music streaming service with over 70 million users and is available in 167 countries throughout most of the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceania, as well as parts of Africa and the Middle East. Apple Music provides music, video, and Apple radio streaming to its user and can be used on all Apple devices, PCs with the PC version of iTunes, Androids with the Apple Music App, and Amazon Echo devices.

Apple Music has a few different subscription plans the user can pick from to best suit their needs. Their cheapest plan is the student plan for $4.99 a month, then the individual plan for $9.99 a month which allows up to one user, and lastly the family plan which allows up to six users on the same subscription for $14.99 a month. Apple also soon will be releasing an additional subscription option which is the voice plan. The voice plan is designed exclusively for Siri which will let you play any song by voice command on all Apple devices and will be $4.99. Through any of these options, users will be able to explore over 90 million songs, 30,000 playlists, and three Apple Music live radio stations.

Apple Music has features such as a streaming quality of 256 kbps AAC files for their standard-quality, which is the same format as the tracks from iTunes. Apple Music also has a lossless sound quality feature, however the headphones or speakers being used will also make a difference considering Apple Music’s lossless option is not supported by wireless headphones, even AirPods. One of their more special features is their iCloud Music Library, which allows users to access their libraries of collected MP3 tracks. Another feature Apple Music has added is that it no longer requires users to install iTunes and can now let you listen in a browser. Apple Music also has Apple CarPlay which connects Apple Music to the user’s car, the only downside to this is that Apple CarPlay has to be built into the car itself and cannot just be added to any car. Another feature they have is curated content where they create personalized playlists such as their Get Up! And Chill mixes that are based on your listening history. Apple Music will also recommend songs and artists to their users for them to explore. They also have an Apple Music Replay in which the subscriber can see how many hours of music they have listened to, their top artists, and how many artists they have listened to. In terms of social sharing features, Apple Music is pretty limited with only the ability to share playlists with other subscribers through AirDrop and create links to the content the user wants to share. The last feature of Apple Music is their video streaming where they have released exclusive music videos and documentaries from artists for their users to view.

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Comparison

Spotify versus Apple Music has been a widely debated and talked about topic for the past few years. Though they are quite similar, most people have a preferred streaming platform and it is common, especially in the younger generation, to hate on or poke fun at the other streaming platform through the form of memes and other social media posts and videos.

In comparison, both of these services have similar pricing and plans, with the exception of Spotify’s free and duo plans which Apple Music does not have. Apple however does have more songs for users to enjoy than Spotify but not podcasts which Spotify has more of considering Apple has an entirely different podcast service. Apple also has better music quality but there are limitations to their lossless sound quality and upon listening to a few of the same songs on both services the quality difference is negligible. They both have the same same browser playback ability and both create curated content that is tailored to the individual. In device availability Spotify is able to be played on game consoles as well as all the expected devices such as phones and computers unlike Apple Music. Spotify also has better social sharing features and has made it easier for users to share what they are listening to. Lastly, when it comes to their layout, Apple Music’s redesign for iOS 10 is quite similar to Spotify in a lot of ways such as The tile like shape and big images of the albums or playlists, the navigation bar for both of them is at the bottom. The biggest difference in their layout is their theme, Spotify has always gone with a dark themed app with the main color being the bright green of their logo whereas Apple Music allows users to choose between light and dark mode. Overall, due to their high similarities, they are both great options but it comes down to what the individual specifically is looking for. For example if someone does not want to spend money and they do not mind advertisements then Spotify would be the better choice. But if someone is looking for a service with more music to enjoy from then Apple Music would be the better choice.

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