Spotify vs Apple Music—Which One Should You Choose in 2023?

April 23, 2024

Apple Music vs Spotify? The music streaming industry is growing like never before. We have some big players on the market and even if those music streaming giants may seem very similar to each other at first sight, they differ. A lot. To help you decide which service to choose, we have created a comparison of the two biggest music streaming platforms: Apple Music vs Spotify.

In this article:

  1. What was first - Spotify or Apple Music?
  2. How much is Apple Music and Spotify?
  3. How many songs are on Spotify and Apple Music?
  4. Quality of sound
  5. Interface and navigation
  6. Radio and discovering music
  7. Social sharing
  8. Apple Music vs Spotify: Which music streaming service is best?

And if you make a decision to move from Spotify to Apple Music or from Apple Music to Spotify, you can always transfer your playlists with FreeYourMusic!

What was first—Spotify or Apple Music?

Let's start with some numbers and basic info.


Spotify is a company created in 2008 in Sweden. It totally changed the way people listen to music, and today, with 518 million users across 183 counties, Spotify is the most popular music streaming service in the world (but is it the best music streaming service? 🙂) Spotify has over 229 million active subscribers, who have unlimited access to their catalog of over 100 million songs and 5 million playlists.


Apple Music

Apple Music was launched in 2015 by Apple Inc in over 100 countries. Now, it gives access to 100 Million songs and Internet radio station Apple 1, which broadcasts 24 hours a day. One of the creators of Apple Music was the famous frontman of the rock group Nine Inch Nails—Trent Reznor.


How much is Apple Music and Spotify?


Spotify, as well as Apple Music, offers a free one-month trial period, so users can test their premium features on all devices and get access to the whole music catalog before they decide to buy a full subscription. Spotify also grants you a one-month trial period for the Premium Individual plan. This applies only to new users.

It's also worth checking if you're eligible for more extended trial periods - sometimes Apple Music or Spotify will give you 3 months free, but this depends on the current marketing offer of the streaming service.

You leave your email address or log in with Facebook, and boom! You're in.

During the trial period, users can test all the features of both streaming services, such as ad-free streaming songs, downloading tracks, playing them offline listening to their fave hits across all devices.


After the end of the free version, Apple Music's and Spotify's pricing is the same. The cost of individual subscriptions on Spotify Premium and Apple Music is $10.99 per month in the United States. This is a regular price, however, both music streaming services have prepared student and family plans.

If you are a student, Spotify and Apple Music have a pretty sweet offer for you: you can listen to unlimited music for only $5.99 per month both on Spotify and Apple Music. It is also possible to buy a family plan in which up to six users can listen to music for $16.99 per month (Spotify and Apple Music). Therefore, you and your friends or family can enjoy multiple accounts for a really low price. That's great value for money!


As you can see, both Spotify and Apple Music has similar offer…


Both, ‌Apple Music and Spotify subscriptions, automatically renew each month as well.

Spotify Premium members can play songs in any order, download music, listen ad-free and stream at up to 320kbit/s. With Apple Music, you get access to the Apple Music library, can stream music in lossless audio, download songs, and play them offline. One of Apple Music's biggest strengths is its audio quality, as it comes with Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos.

Canceling subscriptions

You can cancel the service at any time. Your access to the full version of Apple Music or Spotify will be restricted at the end of your current billing cycle. Here are the tutorials on canceling your music streaming subscriptions:

How to cancel Apple Music

How to cancel Spotify Premium

One of the main differences between platforms is that a canceled Spotify premium subscription brings your account back to the free plan, which is an ad-supported version. Therefore you're still able to listen to your favorite jazz musicians, pop singers or whatever is your jam. You will have full access to all the music in the Spotify catalog in the free tier, but your listening experience will be frequently interrupted by ads. Also, when you listen to Spotify free on a mobile device, you'll have to do with the shuffle mode.


Bundling subscriptions: Apple One

If you're in the Apple ecosystem, you might consider purchasing an Apple One bundle. Apple One bundles up to six Apple subscriptions for one lower monthly price. It gets you Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and iCloud+ with 50GB of storage for $16.99. So if you plan on using Apple's various subscription services, this deal is a no-brainer.

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As you can see, there is no clear winner in this category, because Apple Music's monthly subscription is at par with Spotify's. However, if you want to listen to music for free, with some limitations like ads or shuffle mode… Spotify wins.

Let's move to the next part of our comparison between Apple Music vs Spotify. Now time for the next category which is…

How many songs are on Spotify and Apple Music?

Spotify gives you access to over 100 million tracks... which is the same amount as the number of tracks in the Apple Music library. The difference is that Apple Music often gives listeners access to exclusive perks and original content such as special video content. However, unlike Apple Music, Spotify also offers podcasts, with over 5 million titles currently on the platform.

You can also connect your Apple Music account with iCloud Music Library. It will give you access to your personal library of tracks across all your devices.

In this way, you can store your own music for up to 100,000 songs and listen to them wherever you want. Spotify also offers you access to your local music files, but they aren't stored in the cloud.

So, if you're an iOS user, you'll appreciate Apple Music for perfectly synchronized music libraries on all of your Apple devices. The integration of Apple Music with iCloud creates a kind of Apple ecosystem which is a big advantage for a premium package.

One cool thing about Apple's music service is that they have exclusivity deals with some music artists. Spotify is lagging behind here.

If you're an iPhone fan, the winner in this category is Apple Music, so it means that we have a draw in this Apple Music vs Spotify comparison.

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Quality of sound


Spotify uses the Ogg Vorbis format with a bit rate that will vary depending on your subscription.

The standard streaming quality of the desktop app is the Ogg Vorbis 160kbps format and premium users can take advantage of 320 kbps. On iOS or Android smartphones and tablets, Spotify offers different levels of audio quality, but note that the higher the quality of streaming music, the more data it will use. That's important if you listen to music on a mobile device.

Whenever possible and depending on your mobile plan, choose the highest configuration to enjoy the best music streaming quality.

Apple Music

Apple Music uses a bit rate of 256kbps, which seems lower than Spotify's 320 kbps but is still pleasant to your ears. On the other side, Apple Music uses AAC files (Advanced Audio Coding). Apple also defaults to the highest sound quality, when the device is connected to Wi-Fi. However, when streaming over iPhone using data transmission, the sound quality is lower. You can change this in the app settings.

Apple Music beats Spotify Premium with its lossless music, which basically means you can listen to tracks in CD quality. Lossless audio, often referred to as CD-quality or high-definition audio, is characterized by its ability to preserve the full range of frequencies and intricacies present in the original studio recording. Audiophiles and music aficionados tend to gravitate towards lossless audio formats because they believe it provides a more authentic representation of the artist's intent and a more immersive listening experience.

Apple Music Spatial Audio & Dolby Atmos vs Spotify HiFi

Apple Music offer also includes Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos. The sound comes from all around you, but there's a trick: you can truly appreciate Apple Music spatial audio only with specific sound equipment such as AirPods. So, you will notice that Apple Music has better streaming quality as long as you have a good pair of headphones or speakers.

Spotify, the world's largest music streaming service, has been teasing its Spotify HiFi plan for several years now, generating both excitement and impatience among its user base. While the platform currently offers various subscription tiers, including the standard Spotify Premium and Premium Family plans, these subscriptions limit users to streaming music at the average audio quality of 320 kbps using the Ogg Vorbis codec.

One crucial aspect is the cost. Spotify's HiFi plan pricing is yet to be officially disclosed, but it will likely come at a premium over its existing subscription tiers. Apple Music, on the other hand, has integrated lossless audio into its existing subscription plans, making it accessible to a broader audience.

As the Spotify HiFi plan remains in the pipeline, it is natural for users to draw comparisons with Apple Music's lossless and spatial audio offering.

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We give a point to Apple Music in this category.

If you're looking for the best sound quality, check our article Best Hi-Res Music Streaming Services.


Interface and navigation

Let's move from technical data to something more pleasant which is listening to the music we love.

To do this, we must first find it… It is time to deal with the music search engine. As I mentioned before, both music streaming services have huge musical libraries. But how easy is it to find a song or music album that interests us? The interface, navigation, the technology behind the search, and overall user experience are key for this case.

There is no chance to mistake Spotify for Apple Music in this category. Spotify's mobile application is maintained in dark colors, while Apple Music presents us with the interface in white.

Navigation on these two applications shouldn't cause problems for anyone—even for those who are using those apps for the first time.

Thanks to good design, using both mobile apps is a breeze and you will easily find every feature you are interested in.

Albums have visible covers, so everything looks very clear in both applications. All the main tabs like home page, library, radio, and so on, are placed at the bottom of the screen and you can go to any feature only with one click.

Spotify has a lot of visual content such as short music videos (canvas) that appear while listening to certain songs. On the other hand, Apple Music has a very helpful function that allows you to find a song, even if you don't know the title. All you need to do is to type a piece of lyrics in the browse tab. Now that's something!

We think that this is a more useful function than displaying fragments of clips, which, in addition to being aesthetic, download more data and unload the battery in the phone much faster.

We are not buying it, so in this category of Spotify vs Apple Music comparison, we give a point to Apple.


Radio and discovering music


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Thanks to music streaming services, you can discover new songs and artists. Both Spotify and Apple Music offer an extensive range of human-curated playlists, content, and recommendations to help you to discover and listen to new music.

Spotify offers personalized playlists created weekly, just like Discover Weekly and Release Radar.

Discover Weekly playlist is filled with music suggestions based on what you were enjoying lately.

Release Radar is a playlist of just-released songs that you might like.

Such lists are automatically curated each week and allow you to discover music without effort. But you don't have to wait a whole week to discover more new songs.

The browse function is also noteworthy. We will find there ready-to-use music lists created based on the state of our well-being, favorite genre, or the best songs. This section also contains new releases and listeners. Spotify users can listen to top hits around the world.

Apple Music has a New Music Mix playlist which is very similar to Spotify's playlists and it's also created weekly. In Apple Music, we have the For You section and, just like Spotify, it shows playlists based on user experience. For Apple Music users, the recommendations include albums and playlists.



Both services give you the possibility to enjoy your time with their radio. In the case of Spotify, you can listen to the radio based on your favorite artists or even single tracks. By selecting the content you really like, you can listen to automatically generated radio stations with similar music.

Apple Music is a bit different at this point. It has a live radio called Apple Music 1 Radio, which you can listen to in real-time and it's hosted by DJs and their guests. You can launch Apple Music 1 Radio in the Apple Music app just by clicking on the radio tab from the menu.

But how do Spotify and Apple Music know what I may like?

Both Spotify and Apple Music use complex algorithms and machine learning techniques to suggest music that aligns with your listening history and music preferences.

In general, the recommendations really match our musical tastes. But if you are looking for traditional live radio stations, Apple Music will be your choice.

In this category, we give points to both Spotify and Apple Music because both methods are good. It's only up to you which one you like more.

Social sharing


Swedish music streaming app allows social media integration: you can connect Spotify accounts with Facebook, so subscribers can follow each other and see what they are listening to.

It also gives the ability to share and recommend songs, music albums, and playlists. Spotify users can publish their music library to Facebook, where other people have an opportunity to Comment or Like on the activity. Subscribers can also share their new music discoveries with their followers on Instagram's Insta Story.

Another smart feature Spotify has is a special code for each song. By scanning such code using a smartphone camera (switch from the search bar in the Spotify app) it allows you to immediately play the song. Spotify codes can help music lovers to share music and their favorite artists with others.

Since Spotify is a very social app, there are features like Collaborative Playlists. You and your friends can all add songs to the same playlist, so everyone contributes their favorite tracks, making it a shared mixtape that everyone can enjoy and build together.


Apple Music

By subscribing to Apple Music, you can also share your music library with friends and see what they are listening to. To do it, go to the For You section in the app, then scroll down to Friends Are Listening To.

If you want to share the playlist with your friends or family, turn on a feature called Connect in your profile. When you make a playlist public, other people can find it using the Search tab. You can also send your music lists to friends using Messages, Mail, Twitter, Facebook app, or AirDrop. We can say that Apple Music doesn't offer many social sharing options.

Most of the main features are within the application, thus creating a kind of ecosystem. Spotify offers a very advanced integration of many social services, as well as the ability to see what people you follow are listening to in real-time.

To sum up—Spotify is the undeniable winner in the category of social media integration.

This way we have come to the end of our comparison of Apple Music vs Spotify. The table below will help us take a look at the features of Apple Music and Spotify once again.

Spotify Apple Music
Regular price $10.99 a month $10.99 a month
Student plan $5.99 a month $5.99 a month
Price of family plan $16.99 a month (up to 6 people) $16.99 a month (up to 6 people)
Trial version Yes, 3 months Yes, 1 month
Audio quality Up to 320kbps Ogg Vorbis 256kbps AAC
Offline downloads Yes Yes
Download limit 10 000 songs per device Up to 100 000 while using iCloud music library
Radio function Yes Yes, Apple Music 1 Radio
Podcasts Yes Yes, Apple Podcasts
Mobile app Yes, Spotify app for iOS and Android Yes, only for Apple devices
Desktop app (PC) Yes, for Windows and Mac Yes, for Windows and Mac

Apple Music vs Spotify: Which music streaming service is best?

Both services introduced many new features to their music services which have the task of improving our listening habits, but the winner is only one.

And it’s Spotify.

Spotify’s victory consists primarily of the interface which is clear and accessible for everyone. Features such as playlists generated automatically, allow users to make each week a new music discovery and listen to uncountable radio stations depending on the listener’s taste and mood. But Apple Music features and continuous improvements make it a worthy opponent for Spotify in 2023. They are still a great alternative for iPhone and Mac users. It's up to you to decide which service you like best. If you make the call to move from Apple Music to Spotify, here's how to transfer your playlists.

So what is your choice? Leave your comments and questions below!

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