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Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which Is Best?

MP3 Players

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which Is Best?

Today, Apple takes on the biggest name in music streaming, Spotify. How do they measure up to each other?

Apple tends to create new product categories a lot—smartphones and tablets, for example, arguably didn't exist until Apple made them worthwhile.

So when Apple is an also-ran, it bides its time, and comes out swinging. There are few fights like an Apple fight. When it enters a new market, the gloves come off, and the services one thought unbeatable are frequently bloodied. Remember the Rio MP3 player? Neither did anyone else once the iPod came to town.

That's what we all expected with the debut of Apple Music. Here, we try to quantify it alongside the competition. In this case, the current champion in most people's eyes remains Spotify (though there are other alternatives). Below is the quick guide to the differences and similarities.

Apple Music LogoSpotify Logo


Jan. 2014 as Beats Music; acquired by Apple in May 2014 for $3B; relaunched June 2015.

October 2008, Stolkholm


Free radio (Beats 1 and other stations) or $9.99 per month

Free ad-supported streaming and radio or $9.99 per month ($4.99 for students)

Family plan

$14.99 per month for six family members (shared via iCloud Family Sharing)

Through Dec. 31: $9.99 for 3 months for up to 4 family members

Trial with full functionality

3 months free

3 months for $0.99

Requires mobile app

It's in the Music app when you update to iOS 8.4 or higher


How many countries


58 + many territories

iTunes integration

Full integration of iTunes songs and playlists, including songs on iTunes Match ($24.99 per year) and songs in iCloud

Use third-party tools to convert iTunes playlists to Spotify; desktop Spotify can pull in local files

Number of users

15 million, but only 6.5 million paying as of October 2015

75 million+ users, 20 million+ paying subscribers (June 2015)

Number of music tracks

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

30 million+

30 million+

Internet radio playlist curation

Humans (plus live Beats 1 Internet radio)


Number of skips for free

Six per hour

Five per hour

Sound Quality (free)



Sound Quality (Premium)


160Kbps or 320Kbps


Mac, iOS, Windows (via iTunes), Apple TV, Android

Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Roku, TiVo, Samsung Smart TVs, Linux, PlayStation, the Web, and more


No (Apple has a separate app for that)



Music videos, clips uploaded by artists


Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift vs. Spotify



Also check out 19 Spotify Tricks for Streaming Samurai.

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