Apple Music vs. Spotify: A Head-to-Head Comparison of the Leading Music Streaming Services

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Apple Music vs. Spotify

As music enthusiasts, we’re spoiled for choice as far as music streaming services are concerned. But the two names that instantly come to mind are Apple Music and Spotify. With a global presence, affordable plans, massive song libraries, premium audio quality, and different types of content to consume on the go, what else can one ask for? But which is better – Apple Music vs. Spotify? How do they differ? 

If you’re also finding the answer to these questions, this article is a must-read. Continue reading as I compare these streaming services and help you choose the best one for your music needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Apple Music and Spotify are the leading music streaming platforms, with 108 million and 210 million premium subscribers, respectively. 
  • While Apple Music holds the upper hand in audio quality, library, and offline playback, Spotify wins the battle of pricing, search functionality, music recommendations, UI/UX, and social media features. 
  • Overall, Spotify appears to be a better value-for-money option than Apple Music.

In summary, Apple Music is well-suited for users who prefer a seamless integration with Apple devices, access to exclusive releases, and a visually appealing interface. On the other hand, Spotify excels in personalized recommendations, social features, cross-platform compatibility, and exclusive podcast offerings. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on personal preferences and the specific features that matter most to each user.

Spotify Vs. Apple Music: The Main Differences 

Here’s how Apple Music and Spotify fare against each other in different aspects, including their sound quality, pricing, UI, music library, offline playback, and much more.  

I’ve also mentioned the winner under each differentiator to help you gauge which is better, Spotify or Apple Music.

Related: Best Spotify Equalizer Settings For Your Music & Listening Device

Apple Music Vs. Spotify: Sound Quality

Apple Music delivers a more immersive sound quality, due to its lossless audio compression technology, which it calls Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC). This provides a resolution ranging from 16-bit/44.1 kHz (CD Quality) to 24-bit/192 kHz, but at the cost of more cellular data. 

I recommend switching to Wi-Fi or downloading the songs for offline playback to reduce data usage.

Note: An external DAC is a must to listen to songs at sample rates higher than 48 kHz on your iPad or iPhone. Hence, Apple needs to work here to eliminate the need for additional hardware.

Another plus for Apple Music is its Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos, creating a rich, cinema-like listening experience. 

On the other hand, Spotify streams your favorite songs at three different rates. These are 24 kbit/s (Low), 96 kbit/s (Medium), and 160 kbit/s (High), but in the “lossy” Ogg Vorbis format. You can also play music at 320 kbit/s (Very High) by purchasing Spotify Premium. 

Since announcing it in 2021, the platform is taken strides in launching Spotify HiFi, which will allow its paid users to switch to the CD-quality, lossless audio format.

Until this happens, Apple Music should be your go-to partner for music streaming.  

Winner: Apple Music

Apple Music Vs. Spotify: Type of Content, Library, and Availability 

Besides their unparalleled sound quality, Apple Music and Spotify also lead the streaming industry due to their massive libraries. 

With over 100 million pure music tracks, excluding podcasts for which there’s a dedicated Apple Podcasts app, Apple Music easily beats Spotify’s 82 million songs count. 

Content-wise, both Apple Music and Spotify’s main offerings include exclusive songs, podcasts, live radio, etc.

Spotify also provides audiobooks. Still, this isn’t enough to take it ahead since you get Apple-exclusive videos and live performances by artists that you might not get anywhere else but only on Apple Music!

Coming to the availability of Apple Music and Spotify, the former serves music lovers in 167 countries, widely in the US, Europe, Asia, Oceania, some parts of Africa, and the Middle East. On the other hand, Spotify has a presence in 184 countries, with a majority user base in Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Asia, and Oceania. 

So, it’s difficult to choose between the platforms here. Apple Music and Spotify score a point each.

Winner: Draw

Spotify Vs. Apple Music: Price 

Apple Music and Spotify cost almost the same. Even their plans are based on the same lines, i.e., Individual, Family, and Student. 

But here’s the catch. 

Spotify scores a brownie point due to its Free starting tier, the only drawback of which is annoying ad disruptions. 

Tip: Get 3 months of Spotify Premium for FREE by signing up with PayPal. 

Couples can save $3/mo by opting for Spotify Duo @ $12.99/mo instead of the Family pack @ $15.99/mo. 

This isn’t the case with Apple Music, which offers no couple-based plan. It, however, lets you use Siri to play your tracks, create/edit a playlist, or control the volume with the Voice subscription tier, costing $4.99/mo. 

Like Spotify, you get Apple Music FREE for 6 months on purchasing any eligible Apple device.

Rest, find the complete pricing details of the two platforms below. 

Name of the PlanApple MusicSpotify

Note: Both streaming services offer a free 1-month trial with all their paid plans. 

With every subscription tier on Spotify saving $1/mo for you, do I need to tell you who the winner is? 

Winner: Spotify

Apple Music Vs. Spotify: Interface and User Experience

As with their pricing, Apple Music and Spotify also sport almost identical user interfaces. Nevertheless, I found Spotify’s UI cleaner, more intriguing, and better organized. 

It’s because of the loaded navigation bar in Apple Music that, at times, becomes overwhelming due to so many tabs. Many of you take this as a positive, citing assistance in content access, but it works the opposite way.

Spotify User Interface
Source: Dribble

Spotify’s navigation bar, on the other hand, is simple, with three primary tabs (the fourth one is for subscribing to Premium). So, no such struggles to access the required content.

Apple Music User Interface
Source: 9to5Mac

Aesthetically, Apple Music has an all-white color scheme with light and bright colors. Conversely, Spotify has stuck to its classic dark color scheme with flashes of neon green and white to enhance viewability. 

Winner: Spotify

Apple Music Vs. Spotify: Search Functionality and Recommendations 

Regarding search functionality and song recommendations, Spotify’s algorithm is the best in the music streaming industry. 

Its Search section takes you to a rich collection of categories to choose your tracks. Whether you want to listen to something reflecting your current mood, any specific genre, or an artist, you can quickly access the best song accordingly. 

Spotify also presents 6 Daily Mixes that are automatically updated regularly. Alongside, you get a Discover Weekly list and a Release Radar based on the content you like or follow. All these are curated in the Made for You tab.

Apple Music is also not much behind. Its personalized content in the Listen Now and Browse tabs in the form of mixes, songs, playlists, and albums is worth it.  Two of my favorite lists are Get Up! and Chill Mixes

Winner: Spotify

Spotify Vs. Apple Music: Social Media Features

Spotify has built-in support for a broad range of social media features. 

You can share your personal/algorithmic playlists (or individual songs) as stories on Instagram and Facebook, post a status on WhatsApp, publish album art on Snapchat, etc. 

Tip: Select the Share option on the app to find all other available options. 

Apple Music lets you share playlists with other registered users via AirDrop or as links to those not registered. Overall, Apple Music’s social media integration is very basic. Thus, this is an area where it lacks. 

Winner: Spotify

Apple Music Vs. Spotify: Offline Playback

Apple Music and Spotify allow you to download your favorite content (songs, albums, playlists, or podcasts) for offline playback if you’re a paid user. 

On Spotify, you can download as many as 10,000 tracks on each of up to 5 different devices. And if you’re thinking, “How long can I stay offline on Spotify?”, you must go online once every 30 days to keep your downloaded stuff. Otherwise, the system will remove them. 

Coming to Apple Music, it lets you keep a maximum of 100,000 songs for offline playback on up to 10 different devices. But how long does Apple Music last offline? Anything you’ve downloaded will stay on your device in the offline mode, as long as your subscription is active. 

Winner: Apple Music

Apple Music Vs. Spotify: Specifications at a Glance

FeaturesApple MusicSpotify
Prices$4.99/mo (Voice), $5.99/mo (Student), $10.99/mo (Individual), $16.99/mo (Family)$4.99/mo (Student), $12.99/mo (Duo), $9.99/mo (Individual), $15.99/mo (Family)
Free Trial6-month FREE subscription with the purchase of eligible Apple devices + 1 month FREE with every plan3 months FREE Spotify Premium access by signing up with PayPal + 1 month FREE with every plan
Audio Quality16-bit/44.1 kHz (CD Quality) to 24-bit/192 kHz24 kbit/s (Low), 96 kbit/s (Medium), 160 kbit/s (High), and 320 kbit/s
Music Library Over 100 million songsOver 82 million songs
User InterfaceLightDark
Music DiscoveryMostly human-curatedMostly algorithm-driven
Offline PlaybackYesYes
Social FeaturesLessMore 
Android AppYesYes
Web PlayerYesYes
PodcastsSeparate Apple Podcasts appBuilt-in

Related: How to Fix ‘Spotify Can’t Play This Right Now’ Error

Apple Music Vs. Spotify: FAQs 

Q: Is Apple Music Or Spotify More Popular In The US? 

A: Spotify is more popular in the US, where it has approx. 88 million users. Coming to Apple Music, 33 million Americans use it for audio streaming.

Q: Why Is Some Music On Spotify But Not On Apple Music? 

A: You’ll find some music tracks on Spotify but not on Apple Music because of the following reasons: 

  • The artist has chosen not to make their music stream on Apple Music due to licensing agreements. 
  • There’s an exclusive deal between the artist and Spotify. 
  • Due to regional restrictions, the track isn’t appearing on Apple Music in your region. 

Q: Is It Worth Switching To Apple Music From Spotify? 

A: It’s worth switching to Apple Music from Spotify. This is especially if you want a more immersive audio experience with spatial audio or human-created playlists served on your plate. 

For other reasons, check out the above differences.

Q: Does Spotify Take Up Less Storage Than Apple Music? 

A: Spotify takes up less storage than Apple Music due to its lower default audio quality setting of 96 kbit/s. Thus, compressing a Spotify song results in smaller file sizes.

Q: What Are the Pros and Cons of Spotify and Apple Music? 

A: Here are the pros and cons of Spotify and Apple Music. 



  • A rich collection of playlists 
  • Spotify Connect to control playback from any device 
  • Free 60-days tier 


  • Best audio quality restricted to Premium users 
  • Slightly picky when it comes to integration 

Apple Music 


  • 360° audio experience with spatial audio 
  • Lossless sound quality 
  • 24/7 live radio station to discover new genres


  • Costlier than Spotify 
  • Cluttered UI

Related: MoOde Audio Player: The Complete Beginner’s Guide & Installation Tips


Here you go. Apple Music and Spotify are the industry’s leading streaming services, with millions of active users globally. 

Which is better between the two, frankly speaking, depends on you. If your main concern is pricing, Spotify is your go-to option. However, look no further than Apple Music for immersive audio quality. Similarly, there are tons of other differences you must look into before drawing a conclusion. 

So, which platform will you subscribe to, Apple Music or Spotify? 


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