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(Pocket-lint) - Apple Music is a single app that combines your music, a streaming service and a worldwide live radio station. Everything lives in one place, so you can stream anything choose or you can let Apple Music choose for you.

Spotify meanwhile, has long been the king of music streaming, with over 180 million paying subscribers and a great feature set. It is the most widely available music streaming platform that offers a huge range of songs at a reasonable price.

We've taken a deep dive and compared Apple Music and Spotify by price, availability, features, and more. Here's everything you need to know about Apple Music vs Spotify.

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Apple Music

Apple Music offers access to over 90 million songs. It's designed to combine music you have bought - such as from iTunes in the past - with music you've saved from Apple's cloud services in the Apple Music library and with ad-free streaming.

The catalogue is extensive, it gives you access to music videos, along with some exclusive content from select artists. Apple Music also offers higher quality streaming with Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless, the former widely supported on devices, the latter needing more advanced equipment such as an external DAC. Apple Music also supports spatial audio, with access to Dolby Atmos mixed tracks.

It also has the Apple Music 1 radio station, which is a great place to discover new music.

As you would expect, Siri works with Apple Music so you can ask her to play today's hits and she will do just that, and with AirPlay 2, you can send music directly from Apple Music to a compatible AirPlay 2 speaker. Once you've started playing a song, lyrics to the song that is currently playing will appear if you swipe up in the Apple Music app. If you're using Apple Music on Android you can play music over Chromecast too. 

If the song you're listening to isn't in your library, you can add it, add it to a playlist, create a station of songs based around the one playing or share it with friends by tapping the three dots in the top right corner.

What devices can you use it on? 

While it was an Apple-only deal when it first launched, Apple Music has since been rolled out to other platforms. 

  • Android (mobile app)
  • iPhone (mobile app)
  • Apple Watch 
  • Mac (desktop app)
  • Windows PC (through the iTunes app)
  • Nest Audio/Google Home
  • Amazon Echo
  • Sonos
  • Smart TV platforms

How much does Apple Music cost?

It's free to listen to radio without a subscription, but if you want to use any of Apple Music's other services, this is a breakdown of how much the subscription options cost:

  • £9.99/month or $9.99/month, per user
  • £14.99/month or $14.99/month for a family of six
  • £99.99/year or $99.99/year
  • £4.99/month or $4.99/month for students
  • £4.99/month or $4.99/month for Voice Plan

Of course, if you're an Apple One subcriber there are bundles that include Apple Music as well. If you use some of Apple's other subscription services, that could be a good way to save money. Read more about Apple One here

You can read more about the Apple Music Family plan in our separate feature. We also have a separate feature for the Apple Music Voice Plan, which gives you access to Apple Music but only using your voice and Siri.

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Spotify

Spotify boasts over 400 million users, 180 million of which pay for the service. The rest subscribe to Spotify's free tier, which limits music quality and plays adverts every few songs. The free tier also excludes users from using other features such as being able to use it with Spotify Connect or downloading music.

You can add your purchased music into Spotify using your computer, but you'll have to add them manually. You will be able to listen to tracks offline if you pay for the Premium version. More recently, Spotify has shifted over to offering more podcast content, as well as music.

Spotify offers Chromecast support, as well as Spotify Connect which allows you to play the service through compatible speakers. Siri also supports Spotify and it integrated with Amazon Echo, Garmin devices and more - if you're on the Premium tier.

What devices can you use it on?

Spotify's strength is that it's available on practically any device you could think of, regardless of whether they have a screen or they're a smart speaker like Nest Audio or Amazon Echo. 

  • Android (mobile app)
  • iPhone (mobile app)
  • Windows and Mac (desktop app)
  • Web browser (yep - just head to open.spotify.com)
  • Google Home/Nest Audio devices
  • Amazon Echo speakers and smart screens
  • Sonos
  • Amazon Fire tablets (available in the Amazon Appstore)
  • Many smart TV platforms - LG, Samsung, Roku, Apple TV and Android TV (among others)
  • Garmin watches - some models offer offline Spotify music playback
  • Apple Watch - streaming only, no offline playback

If your TV supports casting/chromecast you'll often find you can also play music through it using Spotify Connect, which allows you to control other devices playing your Spotify account from any Spotify app logged into the same account. It's pretty clever. 

How much does Spotify cost?

There is a free tier of Spotify that features adverts, though not all features are available. For all the Spotify features on offer, here is a breakdown of the subscription costs:

  • £9.99/month or $9.99/month per user for Premium tier
  • £14.99/month or $14.99 for a family of six (have to live at same address)
  • £4.99/month or $4.99/month for students
  • £12.99/month or $12.99/month for 'Duo' (2 premium accounts at the same address)

You can read more about Spotify Premium for Family plan in our separate feature.

Apple Music vs Spotify: Which should you try?

Both Apple Music and Spotify are relatively easy to use, priced similarly, and widely available - and they come with basic controls and plenty of options for finding songs and creating playlists. They even both offer the ability to play music when there's no service or Wi-Fi around.

Spotify comes with a free, ad-supported tier, which Apple Music does not, and that makes it attractive to a lot of people. It's also universally supported and often the first service to get integration into streaming devices, so it's incredibly easy to access.

Apple Music on the other hand offers access to higher quailty music and is easier to add your own music to.

There are pros and cons to both services but ultimately, we use both and we enjoy the experience on both - but if you're going to be paying for it, the question is what quality of music you care about and what devices you want to access it on.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Chris Hall.