For quite a while I have been thinking about switching from Apple Music to Spotify. I’ve been an Apple Music user since day one and I trust the Apple ecosystem for everything (from AirPods to HomePods to all other Apple devices), so I thought it would be a tough decision.
Back in April, I decided I’d finally give Spotify a shot, and I have some initial thoughts: the good, the bad, and all the surprises along the way. In a couple of weeks, I’ll give my final opinion on whether I stick with Spotify or go back to Apple Music.
Migrate from Apple Music to Spotify
Why did I decide to try Spotify?
Apple Music has had brighter days: incorrect versions, delays in new albums and songs, and a lack of content have been happening a lot recently. Spotify, on the other hand, recently released a new user interface, and I’ve always wanted to try all the social experiences on the music streaming service. This includes connecting with more friends, sharing my playlists, and learning more about Spotify’s “magic” algorithm.
How did I migrate my library?
To start my experience with Spotify, I had to migrate my entire library from one service to another, and I would not be able to do that song at once. That is why I used FreeYourMusic. It is a free download app, but to migrate an entire library, a one-time purchase is required.
After more than a day of migrating my entire library, most of my playlists and songs looked good. Surprisingly, the app was able to match most of my songs, but for whatever reason it had a lot of trouble with the Beatles – music rights? – and now I have many versions of the Beatles instead of the original albums. If you want to know more about how to transfer songs from Apple Music to Spotify (or any other music streaming service, actually), check out our full coverage here.
Don’t forget to subscribe!
Apple Music only offers the service if you subscribe, so I also subscribed to Spotify Premium. I didn’t want the ads to interrupt my listening experience.
Spotify is the same price as Apple Music: $ 9.99 / month on the individual plan, but unlike Apple Music, you only get one month free as a Spotify Premium user and Apple Music gives you three months.
The good thing about Spotify
All my friends are here
Apple Music always felt like an empty party. Sure, I have a lot of friends who use the streaming service, but Apple doesn’t focus as much on friends’ playlists, what they’re listening to, and ways to interact with them, like creating collaborative playlists.
The first thing I noticed was how many of my Facebook friends are on Spotify: over 400. On Apple Music, I have about 20 friends, and that’s only if I consider Eddy Cue a friend.
Of course, I didn’t add the 400. In fact, this also made me think about how personal listening to music is. I added only the people that really matter to me, and I think it’s fun to know what they’re listening to while working on my Mac.
Sound quality, streaming, and lots of playlists
I’ve always heard that Spotify doesn’t have the best sound quality, and that’s true if you’re using the free tier subscription. But if you are paying for Spotify, you can set the streaming quality to “Very High” or 320 kbit / s. You will also be able to stream in HiFi quality with a newer subscription level later this year.
At this point, 320 kbit / s is better than Apple’s AAC in Apple Music, which is only available in songs labeled Apple Digital Masters. You can’t tell if a song has this tag in Apple Music, you have to search the album in iTunes Store and see if the artists master their songs with Apple’s own encoding.
I’m not an audiophile, but I can say that I’ve enjoyed my songs on Spotify a bit more with the AirPods Pro than with Apple Music. The strange thing is, I don’t hear any difference when using the Beats Studio3 Wireless, which means both music streaming services sound good to me.
One thing I loved about Spotify is the seamless integration between devices. I can continue a song on my Mac that is playing on the iPhone. It’s just a tap away using Spotify’s powerful Connect platform.
Apple has this with the HomePod, but I found that Spotify Connect is much more reliable than Handoff and AirPlay.
Last but not least, it’s fun to watch Daily Mix playlists with exactly what I love to hear. That’s different from Apple Music, where I focus more on my library. I’ve been using the “Home” tab a lot more on Spotify. I can easily see what I recently listened to and start playing my favorite songs with just two taps.
The bad thing about Spotify
Integration with HomePod
AirPlaying Spotify on the HomePod is weird. While technically it works fine, the sound quality seems lower than compared to Apple Music. It might just be my impression, but it seems that HomePod doesn’t deliver its full sound potential when using AirPlay with Spotify.
Also, there is no way to interact with Spotify using HomePod. While Apple added this technology, Pandora is the only music player that has incorporated it so far. Whether or not Spotify is working on this feature remains to be seen, but it’s a glaring omission at the moment.
I’ve also tried linking my Spotify account to my 3rd-gen Amazon Echo, and both streaming services sound the same.
There are a lot of playlists and I want to listen to my songs.
You just heard from me that playlists are a huge part of Spotify, but at the same time, it seems like it’s the only one. I have a feeling that the app forces you to discover new songs, and every time you finish an album, it keeps playing something similar.
That’s fine, but sometimes I just want to finish one album and that’s it. Or I just want to hear a specific song. But this has also shown me that I use music streaming services differently than most people.
Most people probably listen to an album or a playlist, right? Well, I like to mix all my downloaded songs from time to time, and finding your entire song library on Spotify is not as easy as it is on Apple Music.
This algorithmic approach to music has its pros and cons. As much as discovering new songs is great, most of the time I just want to skip to Taylor Swift’s Folklore, The Killers’ Battle Born, or Milo Greene’s self-titled album, and that’s it.
There is still some time left until I decide whether to continue using Spotify or go back to Apple Music. In the meantime, I’d like to know what you like best about Spotify and what do you want me to try while I test the service.
Stay tuned for my next article on Spotify vs. Apple Music, where I’ll try to talk more about my overall experience and Spotify features that I haven’t had time to try yet.
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