Staff Picks: Spotify, Apple Music Debate


There are so many other subscription based services out there on the market. The two front runners right now are Spotify and Apple Music. Each has its positives and negatives, however one reigns supreme in my minds eye, Spotify. Now yes, Spotify does not give musicians a large cut of the money. However, there are so many more issues there than a simple short article could delve into, thus I will not talk about that for right now. Instead I will start off by saying I had an Apple Music subscription for seven months and I hated it.

Apple Music seemed great in concept: curated playlists based upon the music you ‘love’ made by actual people specifically for you; recommendations for music based upon your music library and what you ‘love’; integration into an application we all already use (iTunes and the Music Application); and claiming to pay musicians better than any other service. However, all this does not make up for the terrible execution on every single one of those criteria. Apple Music’s curated playlists are generic and full of music for either a specific artist (Green Day’s Greatest hits or Intro to Sufjan Stevens) or rarely filled with new artists. Now, don’t get me wrong, some playlists are nice like their party playlists or top tracks from any given genre. However, if you love finding new music Apple Music’s playlists are not the place for you. Neither is their ‘for you’ page. All the albums suggested are typically very popular artists that most music lovers would know if they enjoy a certain genre, or it simply lacks any non-popular suggestions. Not to mention the user interface is a clunky, poorly executed process that takes far to long and is confusing even for someone who is technologically savvy. In this same respect, interacting with your friends and fellow music lovers to share music is incredibly hard to do with Apple Music. Overall Apple Music is a very good concept on paper, but terrible in execution.

Spotify on the other hand makes things simple. Upon arrival to their application you’re offered various playlists to click on, including a playlist that is curated for you every week based upon what you’ve been listening to the week before. On top of that they offer numerous options to dive into as far as genres and even moods. They even have curated playlists by taste makers in the industry (artists, magazines and celebrities). Which, yes Apple Music does as well have, but not nearly as many as Spotify or as regularly updated as Spotify’s are.

Another great thing that Spotify does is allow record labels to have profiles. If you’ve found a band on a label you like you can search the record label and more often than not they will have a playlist or a way to see all of their artists on their roster, allowing you to find new artists on that label or even just find a cool playlist that they’ve made to listen to. If you fancy finding new music they also offer a discovery tab which offers suggestions based upon music that you’ve been listening to. This could be everything from a specific album to a band or two bands you’ve been listening to. The algorithm that Spotify uses almost flawlessly puts albums in front of you that you haven’t heard of and that you are almost guaranteed to like. This in addition to both the Discover Weekly playlist (which is made specific for you) and the option to explore twenty similar artists just by hitting the similar artists tab for a band allows the music lover to find new music to listen to literally all day. Not to mention Spotify was built around having a music community, so sharing playlists with friends whether they are members or not is as simple as clicking share.

I’m not saying that a music subscription service will replace buying music, however it will greatly increase the number of artists you listen to. For me within one week of using Spotify I found over three hundred new songs to listen to that I both liked and will more than likely find myself purchasing at some point soon.


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