I’ve been a religious Spotify listener for years. All of the music and podcasts I want are there, it’s what my pals use, and I couldn’t presumably take care of the FOMO of not having a elaborate Spotify Wrapped with my prime artists to submit on my social feeds on the finish of yearly. However then I listened to one in every of my favourite albums in Apple Music’s Spatial Audio, and for a brief jiffy, my world modified. Had I been lacking out this entire time?
To reply that query, I made Apple Music my main music streaming app for the higher half of some weeks. However whereas Apple’s audio service has a number of large benefits over Spotify and different widespread opponents, they merely weren’t sufficient for me to make the change completely. Right here’s why.
A number of weeks again when testing out the AirPods Max, I made a decision to fireside up Apple Music to see how the corporate’s immersive 360-degree Spatial Audio tech held up on the high-end headphones. I used to be calmly bobbing my head to Turnstile’s “Glow On” — an album I’ve listened to dozens of instances — when the hovering anthemic refrain of the blistering punk music “Limitless” all of a sudden hit me like a truck.
Not solely did Spatial Audio observe my head actions — maintaining every instrument in a set place as if I used to be at a dwell live performance — it additionally highlighted vocal harmonies and small background instrumentation I by no means observed when listening on Spotify. I shortly turned obsessive about discovering out which of my favourite albums had been blended in Dolby Atmos for immersive spatial listening, and had a blast listening to every thing from chill indie to explosive arduous rock from a brand new perspective.
After all, you have to a supported pair of Apple headphones (such because the AirPods Professional, AirPods Max, AirPods 3 or Beats Match Professional) to benefit from this perk. I discovered Spatial Audio to make a a lot greater distinction on the over-ear AirPods Max than on earbuds just like the Beats Match Professional, however the impact remains to be spectacular no matter what you’re sporting. The audio system on newer Mac fashions just like the 24-inch iMac and 14-inch MacBook Professional additionally assist Spatial Audio, however you gained’t get fairly the identical immersive head-tracked expertise.
Even in case you’re not a part of the AirPods military, Apple Music has one other large benefit over Spotify: lossless and high-resolution audio. Lossless audio primarily avoids a number of the info loss that occurs when songs are compressed from their authentic supply, supplying you with CD-quality sound from a digital file. Sure Apple Music albums even provide Hello-Res Lossless, which is an excellent richer audio decision that will get you that a lot nearer to studio high quality. On prime of all this, choose data can be found as Apple Digital Masters, which Apple says ship the “highest potential high quality audio.”
This all signifies that Apple Music ought to sound higher than Spotify for a lot of listeners, although your mileage could fluctuate. You’ll must put on wired headphones to reap the advantages of lossless audio, and even then, you’ll want a reasonably discerning ear to note the variations. That stated, even when listening totally on wi-fi earbuds whereas utilizing an iPhone, I discovered that almost all songs sounded louder and brighter on Apple Music in comparison with Spotify.
Lossless audio is ultimately coming to Spotify by way of Spotify HiFi, however there nonetheless isn’t a transparent phrase on when. Rival app Tidal is famously identified for its Hello-Fi listening assist that begins in its $10 monthly plan, although you’ll must pay a dear $20 monthly for entry to codecs like Dolby Atmos and Grasp High quality audio — two issues accessible on Apple Music from the beginning. Tidal’s $20 HiFi Plus plan gives a wider total vary of audio codecs (together with Sony 360 Actuality Audio for these on Sony headphones and mega-high-quality 9216 kpbs tracks), however for people who’ve a barely discerning ear, Apple Music gives lots for the cash.
Whereas I discover Spotify a lot simpler to navigate than Apple Music (extra on why later), the Apple Music app has a number of small touches that make my inside music nerd pleased. Sure album pages characteristic animated art work, and a few are even accompanied by a full article that gives a deeper dive on the music straight from the artist. When searching an artist’s catalog, you’ll additionally see hyperlinks to any Apple Music Radio reveals they’ve been featured on. As somebody who likes to geek out over their favourite bands, I used to be delighted to discover a full track-by-track breakdown on the album web page for Julien Baker’s “Little Oblivions,” or uncover a latest Radio interview that featured Turnstile diving into their new report.
Talking of which, Apple Music Radio is among the service’s greatest options. You’ll get dwell radio reveals from prime business personalities like Zane Lowe and Ebro, in addition to no scarcity of on-demand interviews to find from artists large and small. I haven’t dug too deep into the app’s Radio choices, however reveals like After College Radio (that includes Blink 182’s personal Mark Hoppus) are sufficient to make me at the very least examine in once in a while. Spotify gives auto-generated radio stations based mostly on particular artists and genres in addition to pre-recorded podcasts with songs blended in, nevertheless it doesn’t fairly have the identical kind of dwell content material — or the identical large names.
Apple Music begins at $9.99 monthly, which is fairly customary for a music streaming service. Nevertheless it’s an particularly nice worth in case you get an Apple One bundle, which will get you Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and iCloud+ with 50GB of storage for $14.99. For those who personal an Apple system and plan on utilizing the corporate’s numerous subscription providers, it’s a no brainer.
Apple Music and Spotify’s household plans are typically comparable, letting as much as six customers share an account for $15 to $16 a month. However if you would like extra than simply music on your cash, Apple’s obtained one of the best deal out proper now.
Right here’s the largest cause I couldn’t wait to get again to Spotify after a number of weeks of Apple Music: The latter simply doesn’t really feel as good to navigate. Whereas Apple Music has all of the music I want, full with some good suggestions and curated playlists based mostly on my listening historical past, it makes it more durable for me to really discover all that stuff. Whereas Spotify’s homepage reveals me my six most up-to-date albums/playlists whereas nonetheless leaving room for suggestions and new releases, Apple Music options a number of wasted house, with big blocks of art work that require me to do a number of scrolling earlier than I get to what I’m searching for. Doing every thing from discovering a brand new launch playlist to easily hitting the “like” button on a music simply feels extra cumbersome in Apple’s app.
Music and podcasts in a single place
I take heed to music and podcasts in fairly equal measure, and Spotify’s the one app of the 2 to supply each in a single place. I do know some people prefer to preserve the 2 separate — and produce other podcast apps they swear by — however I a lot want having a one-stop store for all my listening wants. Spotify does a fantastic job surfacing new releases for each music and podcasts whereas making it simple to leap again into reveals I’m in the course of listening to, whereas Apple Music listeners must look elsewhere. Contemplating that the Apple Music and Apple Podcast apps feel and look nearly similar, I can’t assist however marvel why they’re not rolled into one.
Maybe the largest factor maintaining me on Spotify is the truth that almost all of my pals use it. I like with the ability to see what my friends are listening to whereas on the desktop app, and nearly anytime anybody sends me a music, it’s a Spotify hyperlink. Extra crucially, I’ve a lot of collaborative playlists with pals that we’re all repeatedly including songs to to be able to present one another new stuff. That’s one thing you merely can’t do on Apple Music.
Spotify additionally has a lot of cool algorithmic options reminiscent of Mix, which robotically creates a shared playlist between you and one other particular person based mostly in your particular person listening habits. I discover its advice engine to be one of the best on the market, and have discovered a few of my favourite artists by way of each my Uncover Weekly playlist and the artist radio that auto-plays each time you end an album.
Lastly, I’m merely means too connected to my Spotify Wrapped, which is a year-end abstract of a consumer’s prime artists, songs and genres that you just’ve most likely seen plastered throughout your Instagram Tales on the finish of every 12 months. Apple gives an analogous year-in-review within the type of Apple Music Relay, nevertheless it’s not as widespread — and do you actually need to be the one particular person in your social feed utilizing the off-brand model? It is likely to be a small vainness factor, however as somebody who’s a geek for his or her music listening stats, Wrapped is one in every of a number of cool social instruments that retains me jamming out on Spotify.
I loved my time with Apple Music, and for lots of people — significantly these with Apple headphones or people with a discerning ear — it simply is likely to be one of the best music service on the market. It gives higher audio high quality for a similar value, and extras like Spatial Audio and its numerous dwell radio stations are fairly nice. It’s additionally an excellent worth, particularly in case you get it bundled with an Apple One subscription.
However after weeks of testing, the novelty of listening to an album in Dolby Atmos or studying a number of further liner notes has worn off. I simply need an app that has all of the music and podcasts I want in a single place, and Spotify continues to offer me precisely that, on prime of some nice suggestions and social options.
I can personally dwell with barely decrease audio high quality in change for a helpful, clear interface and an ecosystem I’m already deeply invested in. Plus, it’s solely a matter of time earlier than Spotify HiFi will get right here. I’ll doubtless nonetheless pop into Apple Music once in a while to take a look at a brand new album in Spatial Audio or catch a radio interview with an artist I like, however in the case of day-to-day listening, Spotify is formally again in rotation. In spite of everything, I couldn’t presumably smash my listening stats earlier than Wrapped season.
|Music library||Greater than 90 million songs||Greater than 82 million songs|
|Hello-Res/Lossless audio||Sure||Not but|
|Key supported units||iOS, Android, Mac, Home windows, HomePod, CarPlay||iOS, Android, Mac, Home windows, PlayStation, Xbox|
|Household plans||6 customers for $14.99 monthly||6 customers for $15.99 monthly; 2 customers for $12.99 monthly|