Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which Streaming Service Should You Pick?

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-07-20
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which Streaming Service Should You Pick?
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    Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which Streaming Service Should You Pick?

    By Don Reisinger
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    Apple Music Provides Access to the Entire iTunes Library
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    Apple Music Provides Access to the Entire iTunes Library

    Arguably the most attractive feature in Apple Music is that it provides access to the entire iTunes library. So, as users are playing songs and happen to like what they hear, they can automatically add it to their "My Music" section and listen to it even when they're offline. Apple Music just about kills the need to pay for individual songs.
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    Spotify, Apple Music Let Subscribers Store Tunes for Offline Listening
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    Spotify, Apple Music Let Subscribers Store Tunes for Offline Listening

    Spotify is quick to point out that its paid service comes with full offline support. But so does Apples Music. This is an important feature of both services. While they are both at heart online streaming services, they allow subscribers to store the music they stream on their devices so they can listen to tunes offline.
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    Humans Curate Apple Music Playlists
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    Humans Curate Apple Music Playlists

    Apple has criticized competing services, like Pandora, for using algorithms to feed users music. The company says that to provide the most relevant music to users, having humans behind the scenes is paramount. Apple Music, therefore, comes with full, human-curated music playlists around genre. As users share in more detail what songs they like, playlists geared for them will be surfaced. It's an interesting take on a rather old convention in streaming music.
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    Spotify Runs on Multiple Operating Systems
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    Spotify Runs on Multiple Operating Systems

    One of the benefits of Spotify is that it's running on nearly every major product a person may find. The service is on the Web, of course, but it can also run on Windows and Macs, as well as iOS devices, Android, Windows Phone and other products. Spotify is even available on set-top boxes and smart TVs. Those who use Spotify have no trouble finding it.
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    But Apple Music Is Cross-Platform Too
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    But Apple Music Is Cross-Platform Too

    As noted, Spotify has done a fine job of bringing its service to nearly all devices. To its credit, however, Apple is trying to follow in Spotify's path, though the breadth of support won't be as broad. For now, Apple Music is available on iOS, Macs and PCs, and Apple says that an Android version will be coming. Beyond that, it's unclear when (or if) Apple Music will come to other products, like Microsoft's Xbox One, Sony's PlayStation 4 or even Roku boxes.
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    Beats One Radio Is a Part of Apple Music
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    Beats One Radio Is a Part of Apple Music

    Beats One Radio is designed to bring back the old days when DJs really mattered on the radio. The service provides a 24/7 radiolike listening experience that surfaces the latest tracks the DJs around the world are interested in and want to share with the community. Beats One Radio has proved to be a great way to learn about new songs a person may otherwise never hear.
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    Spotify Offers a Free, Ad-Supported Model
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    Spotify Offers a Free, Ad-Supported Model

    Here's something to keep in mind about Spotify: It's not just a paid service. In fact, Spotify offers a free offering that's supported by ads. That said, Spotify's free plan does not allow for unlimited skips of boring songs and does not include high-definition audio. Playing any track at any time is also limited. Still, it's nice to have the option of a freebie.
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    Spotify Music Library Holds Millions of Songs
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    Spotify Music Library Holds Millions of Songs

    While Apple likes to tout that it has millions of songs, it's not alone. Spotify has a massive library of songs that users can access from some of the most popular artists on down to those who most have never heard of. Spotify is a major company with the support from record companies it needs to compete with Apple Music over the long term.
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    Apple Music's Perks and Pricing
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    Apple Music's Perks and Pricing

    To kick things off with Apple Music, the iPhone maker is offering the service for free for three months. Customers who end up liking what they hear can sign up for an individual account at $10 per month or go with a family account for $15 per month. While Apple's service comes with recurring billing, it can be canceled at any time.
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    Spotify's Perks and Pricing
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    Spotify's Perks and Pricing

    In response to Apple Music going free for the first three months, Spotify has made the surprising move to reduce the cost on its own Premium service to 99 cents for the first three months. After that, Spotify customers will need to pay $10 per month. One other interesting move: Spotify Premium is available to students for 50 percent off its regular price, or $5 per month.
 

Apple has decided it's time to take the fight to Spotify with the launch of its new streaming service, Apple Music. The platform, which includes curated playlists as well as a live radio station, is the company's answer to the explosive growth of streaming alternatives. Apple Music is also illustrative of just how far the music industry has come in the last 15 years. From Napster to iTunes, music file downloads and their sales were once all that mattered, but things are slowly changing. Consumers would now rather pay a monthly fee for access to millions of songs they can stream on devices of all types. Simply put, the music industry has gone through a series of major changes. And Apple's decision to take on Spotify and launch a streaming service suggests it's ready to fight for the industry's latest phase. But now customers must decide who should win. Should they choose Apple Music or stick with Spotify, which has been in the music streaming and podcast business since 2006? In the following slides, we'll highlight some key features in each and help folks determine which service may be best.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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