For quite a while I’ve been thinking about switching from Apple Music to Spotify. I’ve been an Apple Music user since day one and rely on the Apple ecosystem for everything (from AirPods to HomePod and all other Apple devices), so I thought this would be a tough decision.
In April, I decided that I’d finally give Spotify a chance, and I’ve got some initial thoughts: the good, the bad, and all the surprises along the way. A couple of weeks from now, I’ll give my final opinion on whether I stick with Spotify or whether I return to Apple Music.
Migrating from Apple Music to Spotify
Why did I decide to try Spotify?
Apple Music has seen brighter days: wrong covers, delays to new albums and songs, and content missing have been occurring a lot recently. Spotify, on the other hand, recently rolled out a new user interface, and I’ve always wanted to try all of the social experiences on the music streaming service. This includes connecting to more friends, sharing my playlists, and getting to know more about Spotify’s “magical” algorithm.
How did I migrate my library?
To start my experience with Spotify, I had to migrate all my library from one service to another, and I wouldn’t be able to do that one song per time. That’s why I used FreeYourMusic. It’s a free-to-download app, but to migrate an entire library, a onetime purchase is required.
After more than a day of migrating my whole library, most of my playlists and songs looked alright. Surprisingly, the app was able to match most of my songs, but, for some reason, it had a lot of trouble with the Beatles – music rights? – and I’ve now got a lot of Beatles covers instead of the original albums. If you want to know more about how to transfer Apple Music songs 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 to it, so I also subscribed to Spotify Premium. I didn’t want 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 have one month for free as a Spotify Premium user, and Apple Music gives you three months.
The good about Spotify
All my friends are here
Apple Music always felt like an empty party. Sure, I have many friends that use the streaming service, but Apple doesn’t focus that much on friends’ playlists, what they’re listening to, and ways to engage with them, such as creating collaborative playlists.
The first thing I noticed was how many of my Facebook friends are on Spotify: more than 400. On Apple Music, I have around 20 friends, and that’s only if I consider Eddy Cue a friend.
I of course didn’t add all 400 of them. In fact, this also got me thinking about how personal listening to music is. I added only people I really care about, and I think it’s fun to know what they’re listening to while I’m working on my Mac.
Sound quality, handoff, and lots of playlists
I 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’re paying for Spotify, you can set the streaming quality to “Very High” or 320 kbit/s. You’ll also be able to stream in a HiFi quality with a newer subscription tier later this year.
At this point, 320 kbit/s is better than Apple’s AAC on Apple Music, which is available only in songs labeled as Apple Digital Masters. You can’t know if a song has this label on Apple Music, you have to search for the album on the iTunes Store and see if the artists master their songs with Apple’s own coding.
I’m not an audiophile, but I can say I have been enjoying my songs a bit more on Spotify with the AirPods Pro than I did with Apple Music. What’s weird is that I don’t hear any difference when using the Beats Studio3 Wireless, which means both music streaming services sound good for 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 kind of has this with the HomePod, but I’ve found Spotify Connect to be far more reliable than Handoff and AirPlay.
Last but not least, it’s fun to see the Daily Mix playlists with exactly what I love to listen to. That’s different from Apple Music, in which I focus the most on my Library. I’ve been using the “Home” tab on Spotify a lot more. I can easily see what I have recently listened to and start playing my favorite songs with just two taps.
The bad about Spotify
AirPlaying Spotify to the HomePod is weird. While it technically works OK, the sound quality seems lower than when compared to Apple Music. It could be my impression only, but it feels like HomePod doesn’t give its full sound potential when I use AirPlay with Spotify.
Additionally, there is no way to interact with Spotify using HomePod. While Apple added this technology, Pandora is the only music player to incorporate it so far. Whether or not Spotify is working on this feature remains to be seen, but it’s a glaring omission right now.
I also tried linking my Spotify account to my third-generation Amazon Echo, and both streaming services sound the same.
There’s a lot of playlists and I want to listen to my songs
You just heard from me that playlists are a great part of Spotify, but at the same time, it feels like it’s the only one. I have this feeling that the app forces you to discover new songs, and every time you finish an album, it just keeps playing a similar thing.
That’s nice, but sometimes I just want to finish an album and that’s it. Or I just want to listen to one 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 playlist, right? Well, I like to shuffle all my downloaded songs every now and then, and finding your entire library of songs in Spotify isn’t as easy as in Apple Music.
This algorithmic approach to music has its pros and its cons. As much as discovering new songs is great, most of the time I just want to jump to Folklore by Taylor Swift, Battle Born by The Killers, or Milo Greene’s self-titled album, and that’s it.
There’s still some time until I decide whether I’m going to keep on using Spotify or to go back to Apple Music. In the meantime, I’d like to hear what you like the most about Spotify, and what you want me to try while I’m testing 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’s features that I haven’t yet had time to test.