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Apple Music vs Spotify: which comes up number one?

In an industry so often focused around creative rivalry, it’s no wonder these two streaming sites so often go head to head. Since its birth in 2015, Apple Music has always been placed against its largest competitor and for good reason. With over 406 million active users at the end of 2021, Spotify dominates the headphones of the world. But does Spotify still deserve its crown? When placed head-to-head, who comes out number one?


This is a no brainer; Apple Music’s playlist selection is a mere reflection of Spotify’s bank of moods and genres. This variety of selection is one of Spotify’s defining features. Simply type in your mood or your activity and there is no doubt a playlist for you. However, Spotify’s own playlists are not the only impressive element. Musicians such as Tom Misch create public playlists on Spotify, giving you a direct insight into the inspiration of musicians which you enjoy listening to yourself. This is an element Apple Music is yet to fine tune. Whilst there is no doubt that their playlist selection remains impressive, particularly the genre based selections, there isn’t the same mood-based selection and the selection cannot compete on the same scale. This even extends to your own playlist creation, with Spotify suggesting songs with a scary accuracy. With the click of a button, these songs can be added to your curation of sounds in a way that Apple Music is yet to replicate.

social aspect

Apple music must definitely loses out here, lacking the sense of community found in its competitor. When using Apple Music, I long to be able to see who is listening to their guilty pleasure artist or get new song suggestions. Part of what makes music special is sharing it and Spotify gets this element right, whether that be through making and sharing playlists or the eponymous Spotify wrapped. Despite creating an instagram monopoly of music taste, there is something so fun at looking back at what you have listened to and easily sharing it with those around you. What you listen to is a marker for periods of time and to be able to see that in other people is not to be over rated. Apple Music Replay just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.


Price wise, both apps are very similar. With both standard, individual plans costing £9.99 a month, it is clear that both apps are more than aware of their competitor. Both also charge £4.99 a month for a student plan and offer free trials. However, Spotify does have the option of using the app without a subscription, if you can bear the interruption of the occasional advert. Yet, price wise, both options are level competitors.


Also known as Apple Music’s saving grace. Need I say more?

The verdict?

So can Spotify really be toppled? For me, the answer is a clear no, with the market leader winning this battle time and time again; the sense of community and layout make it easier and more fun to use than its rival. Of course, this isn’t to say that Apple music doesn’t work perfectly well: the selection of music is still unbelievable. Yet, for me the crown remains with the veteran competitor, even without Joni Mithcell’s dulcet tones.

Olivia is a second year BA English and French student at the University of Bristol with a keen interest in culture, politics and entertainment.
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