Apple Music and Spotify - A Wonderful Adventure

By now, I am sure everyone has heard of the worlds most popular music streaming services. If you haven’t, https://www.spotify.com/za/ and https://www.apple.com/za/music/ respectively (ZA links, since this is South Africa after all).

The competition between these two products, has definitely brought a lot of growth and competition to this area of tech, and, in my eyes, these two each have their advantages and disadvantages. I intend to try and give a brief comparison of the two, from an Apple users point of view.

I began my music streaming adventure with Apple Music (henceforwth known as AM), seeing as it was the logical step, being an iPhone user, and additionally, was available in South Africa for a fairly long time before Spotify was made officially available. I’ll therefore start with primarily AM comments and notes.

The AM integration with iPhone (and additionally the Apple Watch) is incredible. Apple Music is always a tap away, from a link to a song on website, or a link to AM after you have Shazam’d (or Siri’d) a song, AM is right there, ready to add that song to your library, and make your streaming life bliss.

This tight integration is the first thing I noticed when using AM, and made it extremely easy to build up a music collection. Building up this music collection, however, brought with it the first, and one of the major, annoyances and displeasures with AM. ANY changes or modifications one makes to their iTunes/iCloud/AM account settings on their iPhone, inevitably will cause the phone to lose all music that has been downloaded to the device. With no warning, or ability to stop this. Some of us have to download our music becuase data is expensive Apple! Give us a warning box, or something at least! This is hands down one of the biggest annoyances of using AM, on the phone it was designed for no less!

Once past the tightness of the AM integration with iPhone, which is obviously not nearly as prevelant on other devices, we come to the other factors surrounding AM, namely, the Music app itself and having to deal with iTunes to stream on a PC/MAC. There will be many differing opinions here, however I feel these operate in the way that Apple has always intended, and thus, we cannot complain too much. The app streams music when you want it to, and iTunes follows suit. Beyond that, don’t expect to have the bells and whistles of other streaming apps, on both Desktop and mobile.

In contrast, Spotify (on the iPhone at least), I believe, is one of the best music apps around. It has all the features I ever expected from a Music playback app, easy queuing functionality, swipe to change songs, lockscreen controls. Some of which AM has, and some of which AM does not. And furthermore, the integration with their Desktop apps is also incredible, allowing one to stream music to any device with the app open/ready, with the touch of a button. Definitely not something that AM has the ability to do without an AppleTV.

Spotify also has a major advantage on AM (in my opinion) in one specific area…Curated playlists. The suggestions and autocreated playlists on Spotify are second to none, suggest relevant and geniunely interesting music, and are constantly changing and improving to suit ones music tastes. This alone puts Spotify at the top of the list for a music lover (in my eyes). It makes music enojoyable, and at least for me personally, makes one enjoy discovering new and alternative music to listen to.

Another thing that I noticed during my time with both these services, is that the random or shuffle functionality on Spotify, appears to be a lot better. Who knew ‘random’ could indeed not be ‘random’ enough, but this geniunely appears to be an issue with AM, it will choose certain tracks repeatedly and sometimes never play a specific song in your library, it’s truely confusing (and rather irritating!)

Nonetheless, despite all of these factors, this article is titled “An Adventure”. Simply, this is because I constantly switch between these two streaming services. The AM integration constantly tugs me back to AM, woo-ing me with it’s little buttons to add the song to my AM library. Spotify constantly tries to drag me back it’s way, with it’s awesome playlists, arguably larger music collection and incredible app and features.

So, what do I suggest for someone who has neither and is looking to get into music streaming? Fairly simple at the end…

Pick the one that gives you the music you want to listen to, and annoys you the least! Maybe the above will help you find out which one that is. For me at the moment, it’s both! (go ahead, tell me I am silly I don’t mind). To me, music is about discovery, what you like, and what makes you happy. The service you use to obtain it should make YOU happy and WANT to listen to the music, not make someone happy because they say X is the best service.

As usual, drop a comment below on which service makes you happy, I’d be interested to know different thoughts or ideas.

–Devin

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