Apple Music vs Spotify | 9Lives
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What’s better, Apple Music or Spotify?

I’m just going to come right out with it, I’m an Apple guy, okay. Can we just leave our device-ive quarrels behind and talk about the thing we all love: listening to music?

Now and then I come across someone who subscribes to Google Play or Deezer, but on the whole, Spotify and Apple Music seem to be where the real music streaming service showdown is at.

So I’ve tried out both Spotify and Apple Music and these are my ex-stream-ly (un)biased findings.

Signing up

I’ll be honest – Spotify impressed me immediately. The service is surprisingly easy to sign up to, offering a free lifetime account and an online player. Apple Music offers neither. Spotify’s free account also lets you download the desktop and mobile app, so you can stream music everywhere you go.

They say nothing in life is free – but this is as close as it gets.

It’s not long, however, before the ads start irritating you. And then the fact that you have limited skips gets annoying. And then not being able to rewind a song when you missed a lyric or wanted to listen to that bass drop again grinds your gears.

I also thought the fact that the mobile app only allows low-quality streaming wouldn’t bother me. It did.

So sooner or later you’re going to want to upgrade to Premium so that you can leave all these annoyances behind – and now you’re almost going to need to put your commitment issues aside.


Both Apple music and Spotify offer free trials – Apple gives you three months and Spotify only one. After your trial ends, the time comes to commit.


Spotify’s Premium account comes in at R59,99 per month.

Spotify's home page provides information on pricing

Apple offers three accounts: Student, at R29,99, Individual at R59,99 and Family at R89,99, which provides a personal account for each of six family members.


Apple Music is for Apple users. There’s no doubt about that. Creating an iCloud account and getting your Apple devices in order can take some effort, but if you’re already sorted with all that, getting into Apple Music is really simple. It integrates seamlessly with iTunes and the music app on your iPhone, and the interface is intuitive for any Apple user.

But… speak to anyone who uses it, the search function on Apple Music is horrendous. It simply lacks imagination. So if you don’t spell out the song or artist you are looking for perfectly, Apple won’t help you find it. Spotify is a bit more imaginative when it comes to searching out songs.

Which brings me to another area where Spotify trumps Apple Music.

Discovering New Music

Although the internet provides access to an endless amount of music, many people still feel like it is hard to discover new music. The way music discovery is facilitated by streaming services is an important aspect to consider before choosing one – and in this aspect, my vote is with Spotify.

I like to think that we discover music in the same way we make friends – on a path that borders both the providential and the coincidental. You need to follow the organic trails that lead you to unexpected discoveries.

I don’t believe in the best music the same way I don’t believe in the best people. Just as there are people we resonate with, there are songs we’ll resonate with. There are songs that are meaningful and there are relationships that are meaningful. You can’t listen to all the music in the world and you can’t be friends with everyone.

Having said that, you’re not going to meet anyone if you just stay at home all your life.

Apple creates a sort of home for the music you know you like, but it’s hard to open the door for new music to enter.

That’s where Spotify playlists are a major draw-card. It offers one of the most exciting ways to discover new music that you are likely to resonate with. This is because, through its playlists, the service has managed to create a true music community. Some authors, for example, upload playlists containing songs they listened to while writing certain books. And artists often create playlists with the music that inspires them. I have found this to be one of the best ways to find new music that is likely to enrich your life.

Spotify allows you to listen to playlists compiled by your favourite artists

Apple Music also features playlists, but finding them is tedious and browsing on the app has a very slow load time.

Which to choose

So after these deliberations what is my conclusion?

My approach is to subscribe to Apple Music so that I can maintain the convenience and neatness of an Apple app on an Apple device, while using Spotify’s free account as a means of discovering new music.

If I were an Android user, I’d probably be a Spotify subscriber.


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