Spotify or Apple Music? That's the big old question amongst music aficionados.

Advertisement

Spotify has long been top of its game when it comes to the best music streaming services, since its debut back in 2006. It's become a lot of people's default choice, offering free and premium subscription options, with a vast and eclectic catalogue of music and podcasts. But is it the best?

Step in Apple Music. Apple Music launched later on, in 2015, and has since been Spotify's closest competition. The streaming service shares a lot of similarities with Spotify, from recommending new artists and songs to creating personalised mixes. But the two also have their unique differences, like audio quality, paid services, and sharing to social media. If you like to shout about the hot new track you’ve just discovered, this last feature is a big deal.

A monthly subscription to a music streaming service is the easiest way to consume music. But out of Spotify and Apple Music, which platform should you spend your hard earned cash on? We’ve analysed both.

Start a one month free trial at Apple Music

More like this

Start a one month free trial at Spotify Premium

For more music streaming comparisons, check out Amazon Music vs Spotify, and Apple Music vs Amazon Music. And for the ultimate guide, check out our round up of the best UK music streaming services to try.

Jump to:

What's the difference between Apple Music and Spotify?

Let's have a look into what sets the two streaming services apart, and which is best for you.

Spotify offers a free entry-level subscription. You pay absolutely nothing, however, you’ll be met with adverts every approximately three songs, have six skips per hour, and the audio quality is worse than Spotify Premium.

Individual Spotify Premium will set you back £10.99 per month, and this gets you ad-free music, the ability to listen offline — it lets Premium users download and save up to 10,000 songs at any one time on up to five different devices — and unlimited skips.

The other Spotify Premium options include: Duo, a £14.99 per month service for two people living under the same roof; Family, a £17.99 per month subscription which has six Premium accounts and gives parents the ability to block explicit music; and Student, a discounted £5.99 per month service which still has the same benefits.

And the best thing - you can trial all these premium plans for free for one whole month to test it out before you opt in.

Start a one month free trial at Spotify Premium

Apple Music doesn’t offer a free entry-level subscription. So, if you’d already mentally planned to not spend a single penny, head over to Spotify.

However, we do think Apple Music’s paid packages are brilliant value for money. There’s the £5.99 Student plan; the £10.99 Individual package; and the £16.99 Family plan. Check out our guide on How much does Apple Music cost? for the full scoop.

Apple Music used to have a £4.99 per month option with its Music Voice plan, allowing you to access music only through Siri when connected to Wi-Fi. This plan was discontinued from Wednesday 1st November 2023.

You can also try before you buy with Apple Music's one month free trial.

Start a one month free trial at Apple Music

The Spotify and Apple Music packages essentially offer the same things: ad-free, skippable listening, and for very similar prices. One of the notable differences? The popular Family plan is £1 extra on Spotify. So now for the big question: is it worth the extra quid?

As well as the expected devices like phones, tablets, PCs and Macs, Spotify can be played on games consoles, such as the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. It also works on smartwatches, such as Fitbit, Samsung, Google and Garmin models.

Apple Music, unsurprisingly, can be played on Apple devices like the Apple HomePod and HomePod Mini, Apple TV 4K, and Apple smartwatches. It’s also supported on Sonos, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, PS5 (not PS4), Roku and even Android smartphones.

Apple Music vs Spotify

man listening to music spotify apple music
Getty / Five

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty...

Content Library

How many tracks do the music streaming services have? At the time of writing, Spotify and Apple Music both have over 100 million songs.

Ding ding ding. What about podcasts? Spotify boasts approximately five million podcast titles, whereas Apple Music doesn’t have any. Instead, there is a separate service called Apple Podcasts.

Audio quality

Next round is streaming quality. In 2021, Apple Music updated its entire catalogue to give it high-res audio quality (24-bit/192kHz). Spotify streams songs at three different rates: 96kbps, 160kbps and 320kbps, all in the OGG Vorbis audio format. The highest rate is exclusive to Spotify Premium subscribers.

Apple Music continues to offer lossless streaming and spatial audio support as standard. If crystal-clear audio quality is important to you, opt for Apple Music.

Payment plan options

We've touched on this already, but to recap on the different payment plans for both streaming services:

  • Spotify Premium Individual: £10.99 per month
  • Spotify Premium Duo: £14.99 per month
  • Spotify Premium Family: £17.99 per month
  • Sportify Premium Student: £5.99 per month
  • Apple Music Student: £5.99 per month
  • Apple Music Individual: £10.99 per month
  • Apple Music Family: £16.99 per month

Sign up to Spotify Premium

Sign up to Apple Music

Apple Music vs Spotify verdict: Which music streaming service should you buy?

Like we said earlier, if you’d rather not pay to stream music, Spotify is the way forward. The adverts are tedious but not diabolical, and the lesser audio quality is noticeable but not unenjoyable.

If you’re going to spend money on a music streaming service, we’d recommend subscribing to Apple Music. The audio advantage is worth it for the Individual plan, however, if you opt for the Family or Student package, you’re paying no more money than you would be for Spotify, except the listening experience will be better.

Spotify Wrapped is a huge part of the music experience: it’s an annual round-up of your top artists, songs and genres, as well as how many minutes you’ve spent enjoying listening to music and what new things you’ve discovered. If you’re swapping from Spotify to Apple Music, you’ll be pleased to know Apple Music offers Apple Music Replay which is essentially the same thing as Spotify Wrapped.

Start a one month free trial at Apple Music

Start a one month free trial at Spotify Premium

Spotify vs Apple Music free trials: Can you listen to the music services for free?

Both Apple Music and Spotify currently offer a one month free trial to new subscribers. This one month free trial is available on all Spotify plans; Individual, Duo, and Family.

New subscribes can also get six months free of Apple Music currently, when purchasing an eligible audio device, including AirPods, HomePod or Beats.

Start a one month free trial at Apple Music

Start a one month free trial at Spotify Premium

Get started with six months free at Apple Music with eligible AirPods, HomePod or Beats

Advertisement

If you also enjoy audiobooks, be sure to check out the best Audible deals for this month. Plus, take a look at our deep-dive into 'What is Amazon Music Unlimited?' and see if it's worth your money.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement