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5 reasons I prefer Apple Music over Spotify

Published Apr 29th, 2024 2:15PM EDT
Apple Music Collaborative Playlists, react to a song feature
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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I remember back in the days when I was still buying single songs on iTunes to listen to them on my iPod. It was fine, but then Spotify came along and, for $10 per month, gave me access to every song basically in existence.

I loved Spotify for years and refused to even give Apple Music the time of day when it originally launched (good lord, that announcement event was a disaster). However, after almost a decade with Spotify, I switched to Apple Music and have stuck with Apple’s music streaming service for at least a couple of years now.

After using both quite extensively, I’ve realized five key reasons I prefer Apple Music over Spotify. Let’s get into it.

Sometimes, more apps are better

While it might seem counterintuitive sense since one app for everything can be seen as more convenient, I actually prefer that Apple Music exists separately from the company’s other audio-based services like Apple Podcasts and the Apple Books app for audiobooks.

Spotify tries to jam all of this together into one app. And, over the years, that experience has gotten really clunky and tougher to navigate. Now, the company did release a pretty substantial update to attempt to make that navigation easier, but I can’t help but feel that Apple takes a better approach in recognizing that each one of these different areas like music, podcasts, and audiobooks deserves their own unique experience and interface for us to enjoy.

Spotify redesign in March 2023
Spotify’s app tries to pack a ton of different audio experiences into one, and it’s gotten quite stuffed. Image source: Spotify

So while I understand it can be more convenient to have everything in one, I think keeping my apps separate and having a dedicated music app is a better experience for me.

I swear I can hear the difference in audio quality

This one truly depends on how much of an audiophile you are, and I totally understand anyone who listens to Apple Music and Spotify and can’t tell the difference between audio quality at all, but I’m one of those people.

I have listened to Spotify for years and have listened to Apple Music for years. And, at least when I listened to both services through my AirPods Pro and my AirPods Max headphones, I can absolutely tell a measurable difference in audio quality between the two services.

I think that boils down to a few things. One, Apple Music already supports higher versions of audio quality than Spotify does and even offers lossless audio on the platform(with the caveat that a lot of those lossless versions aren’t supported wirelessly through the company’s headphones just yet).

Oakywood 2-in-1 headphones stand with AirPods Max and AirPods Pro 2
AirPods Pro and AirPods Max are a fantastic duo for Apple Music. Image source: José Adorno for BGR

Two, Apple Music supports Spatial Audio via Dolby Atmos, so as artists have figured out how to use that technology in an effective way, they’ve been able to create much fuller-sounding sound stages for all of us who are trying to listen to their music.

Spotify has the opportunity to catch up on a lot of this with its long-rumored Hi-Fi plan. However, that’s still not here even after years of rumors. So, until that makes its debut, Apple Music not only offers better audio quality from a specification standpoint but, at least for people like me, the difference is very much measurable in the experience that I have when I listen to a song on Apple Music versus Spotify.

Apple Music got more beautiful and Spotify got uglier

So this one is also completely subjective, but I actually prefer the design of Apple Music over Spotify now. Don’t get me wrong — I used to love the design of Spotify over Apple Music for a long time. The app was cooler looking with its always-dark design, the pops of green, and how easy it was to navigate and find all your albums and songs as well as get notifications for new music that you wanted to listen to.

However, over the years, Apple has actually done a really good job of updating the Apple Music app to perform better not only on the iPhone, but across all of its devices like the iPad, the Mac, and the Apple TV (although I would argue that the Mac app is still due for a major refresh).

Not only has the Apple Music app gotten much faster (thank god), but it’s also gotten a lot more beautiful. I especially can’t help but really appreciate the animated art that the Apple Music app features and, with the latest update, the Now Playing screen on Apple Music is far more beautiful than the one that exists on Spotify.

Apple Music on Android new features
Apple Music even looks good on Android phones now! Image source: José Adorno for BGR

The other side of this coin has to do more with Spotify than it does with Apple Music. While Apple has made some advancements in improving the design of the Apple Music app, I think Spotify has actually worsened the design of its own app. That’s largely due to what I talked about above in that Spotify is cramming music, podcasts, and audiobooks into one app. This has created a more difficult-to-use and clunky-to-navigate experience for anyone using the service.

While Spotify has certainly done its best to make navigating its app through all of these different types of experiences as smooth as possible, I can’t help but feel that the Spotify app of today is a noticeably worse experience than the Spotify app of yesterday.

Apple’s walled garden and its ecosystem win again

The other area that I’ve found to appreciate Apple Music over Spotify more has to do with the ecosystem that Apple has built around its music streaming service. While Spotify undeniably supports even more integrations than Apple Music does with a range of other products and services, as someone who is fully in the Apple ecosystem, Apple Music is a more tightly integrated experience across all of the devices I have, including the iPhone, the Apple Watch, the iPad, the Mac, the Apple TV, and my HomePod minis.

While Spotify supports all of these devices to a point, there are limitations that the company hasn’t resolved yet that make Apple Music superior. For example, it’s incredibly easy for me to automatically store or stream music on my Apple Watch from Apple Music while I’m on a walk, run, or hike.

While Spotify also supports these kinds of features, they aren’t as tightly integrated or automated as Apple Music is. It’s also much easier for me to ask for music to be played on my HomePod mini speakers at home. While Spotify technically supports that home pod through AirPlay, it still hasn’t built the ability to ask Siri to play music from Spotify without implementing some interesting Shortcuts to do so.

watchOS 10.2 beta / Apple Watch Ultra 2 Now Playing section appears close to pair of HomePod mini // watchOS 10.3 beta
Playing music across devices like the Apple Watch and HomePod are so much easier with Apple Music. Image source: José Adorno for BGR

So, while Spotify may support more products and services with its streaming service, the devices that I use end up being a better fit for Apple Music than they do Spotify. I know that some of this is due to Apple not yet providing access to some of the APIs that Spotify needs to have an equal footing on the company’s devices, so this isn’t all in Spotify’s court to fix.

However, Apple has offered a Siri API on the HomePod to Spotify for years, and the company still doesn’t support it. The company also took years to support music streaming on the Apple Watch. So, while I give Spotify a pass on some of these things, I know there are other areas where they have historically been slow as molasses to adopt features for Apple users, even when they were made available by Apple.

As the old Apple saying goes, with Apple Music, it just works.

The Apple One subscription bundle is too good a value

The last reason I prefer Apple Music over Spotify doesn’t have anything to do with design, audio quality, or user experience and everything to do with the price.

Spotify and Apple Music were historically very competitive in pricing with both costing around $10 a month for years. However, when Apple launched its Apple One subscription bundle that included Apple Music, Apple TV+, and a range of the company’s other services, it became harder to justify keeping Spotify.

Apple One subscription
Apple One is such an enormous value. Image source: Apple Inc.

Of course, Spotify can’t compete on this since it doesn’t offer other services like video streaming service or fitness subscription service, which in some way makes it unfair to compare the two, but there’s no denying that Apple Music becomes an even better value when you’re paying for the company’s other services and bundle them together.

So, since I was already starting to move towards Apple Music or Spotify due to the other things I’ve already talked about, the launch of the Apple One subscription bundle really sealed the deal for me. While there are some things I’ll spend extra on. I don’t feel like I’m getting enough value out of Spotify in comparison to Apple Music to justify the higher price.

Where do you land?

While I have come to prefer Apple Music over Spotify, I understand that basically all of the reasons above are personal and can change from person to person. You might want an all-in-one app over separate apps or need to use a music streaming service on a device Apple Music doesn’t even support yet.

You also might be a diehard Spotify fan and refuse to give an inch to Apple Music due to the superior music discovery and being too deep to move your library at this point. I totally get any of these reasons as I shared some of them for a while before I made the jump.

However, after a couple of years in the walled garden with yet another service, I can say I’m happy here.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.