Is Apple Music or Spotify the Best Music Streaming Service?

In the 70th episode of the iPhone Life Podcast, tune in as David takes on Conner in a debate over whether Spotify or Apple Music is the superior music streaming service. 

Click here to listen and subscribe. If you like what you hear, be sure to leave a review. And remember to tune in every other week to hear our editors share with you the latest Apple news, best apps, iPhone tricks, and coolest accessories.

This episode is brought to you by Matias and Scosche. Why spend an extra $30 on a keyboard from Apple when Matias has one that’s just as magical for $99? Matias creates aluminium keyboards with the look, feel, and precision that makes the Magic keyboard what it is. Scosche offers Qi wireless charging products for your vehicle like the StuckUp Qi or VentMount Qi. There is also the groundbreaking, coming very soon, MagicMount Charge Qi Wireless Charging Magnetic Mounts for the home, office, or vehicle.

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Question of the week:

After listening to the episode, do you think Apple Music or Spotify is better? Why? Email to let us know.

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Transcript of episode 70:

Donna:                   Hi and welcome Episode 70 of the iPhone Life podcast. I'm Donna Cleveland, editor in chief at iPhone Life.


David:                     I'm David [Auberbach 00:00:08], CEO and publisher at iPhone Life.

Connor:                  And I'm [Connor Carey 00:00:10], feature web writer at iPhone Life.

Donna:                   Each week we bring to you the best apps, top tips, and great gear in the iOS world. And today we have a special theme. Connor and David are going to be [duking 00:00:24] it out over-

David:                     Battling it out.

Donna:                   Yes. Over whether Apple Music or Spotify is the superior music streaming service. You'll have to find out later in this episode who wins. You guys will be weighing in and helping us decide, maybe.

                                    First, before we jump into the episode, we want to tell you about our first sponsor. David will be taking it away, and that's [Matias 00:00:49].

David:                     Yeah. Matias makes keyboards, and they make amazing keyboards. One of the things I love about our sponsorship program is we bring in people who are really passionate about their products, and really focused on really specific products.

                                    What makes Matias' keyboards great is a number of things. Number one, it's cheaper than Apple's Bluetooth keyboard. Number two, they have a [backlit 00:01:14] version of it. The batter lasts longer than Apple's wireless keyboard.

Connor:                  Way longer.

David:                     Way longer. So Apple's wireless keyboard, I think it lasts you [inaudible 00:01:23] three or four months. Matias' lasts up to a year.

Donna:                   Yeah. It's pretty awesome.

David:                     What they did, which was really clever ... let me pull it out actually. I have it right here. I'll hold it up for you guys. Is they had separate batteries. They have a battery for the backlighting and a battery for the keyboard. And what that does is because backlighting tends to use a lot of battery, the backlighting battery lasts about 24 hours. If you're going on a trip, you know you're going to use it in the dark, you charge it. But if the backlighting battery runs out, you can still continue to use your keyboard for the whole year.

Connor:                  I love that.

David:                     It comes in several different colors. They match the Mac line. It also syncs with up to four devices, which-

Connor:                  And you can switch with just a button.

David:                     Yeah. So you can sync it with your iPhone, your iPad, and your computer, switch back and forth, which is something that Apple's keyboard doesn't do. So really great. I recommend this to everyone. My parents asked me for a keyboard. It was funny, because I told them about it. He misheard me and ended up getting a different keyboard. And it was this plastic piece of junk. It was terrible. So it really matters. Quality really matters. It's still affordable, so make sure you check it out.

Donna:                   Connor actually uses this as her daily keyboard.

Connor:                  I do. Yeah.

Donna:                   If you want to tell us a little bit about your experience with it.

Connor:                  I really love it. I don't see, as far as typing on it, I don't feel a big difference between Apple's and the Matias keyboard. I just generally like that it has the number pad. Not that I personally use it a lot, but I just like having access to every single key. And it has all of my Mac-friendly function keys.

David:                     I use the numeric keypad constantly.

Connor:                  Yeah.

Donna:                   Oh yeah. David does lots of spreadsheets, so he would. But also being able to switch ...

Connor:                  But I love it.

Donna:                   ... just pressing one of these buttons to switch straight to your ...

Connor:                  It's huge.

Donna:                   ... iPhone is really nice. Instead of having to-

Connor:                  Everything else is cross-connected, why wouldn't your keyboard be able to do that?

David:                     Absolutely.

Donna:                   Yeah. So it's great. So, Matias. Check it out. We can put away the keyboard now.

                                    Alright, one thing we wanted to tell you, and we mentioned this last episode, is now you can find the video version of our podcast through the podcast app on your iPhone. Before we just had it in our blog post, and so now you can either listen to the audio version of our podcast through the podcast app when you search for iPhone Life podcast, or if you want the video version type in iPhone Life video podcast and you'll find the video version. Check that out.

David:                     As always, you can still watch it online at If you're on a computer, it is the best way to view it, because we do have a transcript there, and we also link to a lot of the products that we discuss, and articles for tips, and things like that. Always make sure you check it out if you are on your computer.

Donna:                   Yeah. We want to share with you our tip of the week. As many of you know, we have a daily ... Sorry. As you know we have a daily newsletter called The Tip Of The Day newsletter. We have Connor here as one of our hosts this week. She writes the tips every day. If you go to and sign up, you'll get one tip sent to your inbox everyday that teaches you something you can do with your iPhone that's really fast and easy. Also, on Saturdays we just added a new thing where we send an app suggestion to you. And it's probably an app you haven't tried before, and Connor will also tell you how to get the most out of that app as well.

Connor:                  And if you have an app that you think I should feature, let us know,, because I could always use your help.

Donna:                   Connor's extra busy. So, the tip we want to share with you this week is how to use Apple Maps AR Flyover mode with iOS 11. If you guys are tuned in enough to Apple where you watched the worldwide developers conference, Apple's been making a big deal about augmented reality and how their new devices support it. All of Apple devices support AR kit, which Apple just came out with. But now different apps are starting to incorporate these capabilities.

                                    For those of you who don't know what augmented reality is, if you ever played Pokemon Go, it's an example of augmented reality where there's a digital image being imposed in the real world. So you look through your camera viewfinder and you see these Pokemon characters running around. That's augmented reality.

                                    Now, Apple Maps has a sneaky little augmented reality feature baked into it with flyover. This is a feature that's already been there for a while where in major cities you can go ... When you type in a city in the search field in Maps, and you have the option to get directions, next to that, if it's available, you'll see "Enter Flyover" as an option. If you tap that, now in these cities you have an augmented reality feature where when you tilt and shift your phone that allows you to scan the horizon and you can still use your fingers to zoom in and out. But Apple's now using the positioning of your phone and using AR kit in order to allow you to have a more immersive flyover experience. I tried this out with New York City, and it's really cool.

David:                     Flyover is really cool. I agree. It's fun. I'm not sure how ...

Donna:                   Did I miss anything with that description?

David:                     ... useful it is.

Connor:                  No, it's perfect.

David:                     Let me ask this, is there a cool use case for flyover? I know it's fun to do. It's fun to get a feeling for what a city is, but is there useful for navigating in any way?

Donna:                   What's really funny is whenever I go on any kind of trip, my dad will always be like, "What's your address where you're staying? What are you doing?" And he'll go into flyover and zoom in and he'll be like, "Oh, I see that there's this store around the corner from where you live, and there's a palm tree up front."

Connor:                  You know way more than I ever knew.

Donna:                   That's a really practical use for flyover. [inaudible 00:07:26] spy on children.

David:                     Okay. I don't do that with flyover ... yeah, it's stalker parents. I don't do that with flyover, but whenever my girlfriend travels I have her send ... of course.

Connor:                  Her coordinates.

David:                     Her coordinates. And then I research restaurants that she should try. I like to travel vicariously. I'm like, "You have to try this restaurant."

Donna:                   Yeah, I think that's what it is with my dad, too.

Connor:                  That's so funny.

Donna:                   I think he's used flyover in the cities it supports, but you can also use Google Earth ... Has pretty good stalking capabilities as well.

Connor:                  Not that we recommend or condone any of that behavior. Just to be clear.

Donna:                   No.

David:                     Except restaurant recommendations, hello.

Donna:                   Yeah, I don't know. David's behavior is border line. So go to to sign up for the Tip Of The Day newsletter, and we are pretty confident you will not regret it.

                                    This week we do not have an Insider question. That is because we don't have [Sarah 00:08:21] here with us who answers all of our Insider questions, but we do want to do a quick plug for iPhone Life Insider. If you're not signed up, this is our premium subscription. Daily Tips is totally free, so definitely sign up for that and see how you like it. But our premium subscription, you get a video version of all of our daily tips as well as comprehensive guides. So if you have a new Apple device, an iPhone, an iPad, or Apple TV, something like that, and you just feel like you might not be getting ... you aren't sure how to set it up, aren't sure all of the features it has, when you're an Insider you get complete guides that walk you through how to get the most out of that device. If you're really looking for comprehensive material on iOS, you'll want an Insider subscription.

                                    You also get to ask our lovely editors questions as they arise, and we'll help you get through them. You also get a digital subscription to the magazines. So check out to sign up for that.

                                    Now we're going to get into our complaints and learning segment of the podcast where we tell you either something new we discovered or something that's been bugging us this week. What do you guys have for us?

Connor:                  Go ahead, David.

David:                     Alright. Well this is a long standing complaint, but I discovered a new reason why it's annoying. Apple only allows one login per device whereas a lot of Android phones allow multiple logins. It's really useful to have multiple logins for, say, if you have children who want to use your phone, and you don't want them accessing everything. You don't necessarily want them to be able to download apps or things. So it's a really annoying thing that we've complained about here for a while.

                                    Now a new reason why it's annoying that I have discovered is that it's particularly annoying on Apple TV, where you can only have on person logged in at a time. So for all of those things, like Netflix, or Hulu ... Here's why it's particularly bad, too, you can access photos. So-

Donna:                   Wait, but Apple TV does have multiple account options.

David:                     They do? You can switch?

Donna:                   Yeah.

David:                     Wow, so this is turning into a thing I learned.

Donna:                   It's still not the most, I would say, user friendly experience ever, but you can go into settings on Apple TV, and switch users that you're logged in with. I believe ... I did an Apple TV guide, and this was a while ago so I'd have to check the exact procedure for it, but I think it involves logging in with your own Apple ID. And under that area, and then you'll have your own collection of media, photos, all that.

David:                     Okay. There you go. Okay.

Donna:                   So it is possible with Apple TV.

David:                     Great.

Connor:                  Nice.

David:                     My original complaint still stands, and ...

Donna:                   It does.

David:                     ... it's a complaint and a learning. Perfect.

Donna:                   Yeah. I feel like especially with the iPad, I feel like a lot of people have that as a family device, and to be able to switch users just makes so much sense. And you can do that. You know Apple can make that possible, because they do it with their Mac OS.

David:                     Yeah, and as everything's gotten more integrated, it's gotten more and more annoying. Things like text messages, photos, those are things you don't want to share across your family, you know what I'm saying?

Connor:                  Right.

Donna:                   No. Yeah.

Connor:                  You really don't.

Donna:                   I totally agree with that. I have a complaint also, this time. It seems like this happens a lot, but-

David:                     We complain more than we learn, unfortunately.

Donna:                   Yeah. I've been noticing that Apple has separated apps out for things that I don't think it needs to. So, Calendar and Reminders is a really good example of that. There are third party apps out there that really pride themselves on the fact that they bring those things together. Like Fantastic [inaudible 00:12:02] example.

David:                     One of our sponsors, Informant, also does that exact thing. They bring them together, and it's really useful.

Donna:                   Right. So Apple on the other hand has split them out into two separate apps, which ... I think it confuses people a lot. They think they either need to use Reminders or Calendar. They become in one or another camp, when, really, they're useful features for different circumstances and it would be nice just to be able to take care of your schedule in one place.

                                    Another example is with the Apple Watch. Why does Apple have an activity app and then also a work outs app?

Connor:                  Seriously.

Donna:                   And different things.

David:                     It's annoying.

Donna:                   You just want to go to one place to handle your fitness.

Connor:                  Yeah, exactly.

Donna:                   And then a separate Health app where ... it just seems to me really unnecessarily complicating things.

Connor:                  It's redundant. Just put it all together, please.

Donna:                   Yeah.

David:                     Yeah.

Donna:                   Handle your schedule in one place, and handle your fitness in one place. Right?

Connor:                  Right. Yeah.

Donna:                   Okay, that's my complaint.

David:                     Alright, Connor, what have you got for us?

Connor:                  I got some learning. If you've ever had grid on iPhone, you just go to Settings, Camera, turn on grid, then it's really great for taking photos. But there's this new part in grid, if you have it on, where if you've ever heard of flat lays, or if you're trying to take a bird's eye view of something ... So flat lays is, let's say I have a bunch of really neat stuff on this table, and I wanted to take a perfect straight up and down shot of it, without the grid it's easy to accidentally not get it even with the table. But now there's a little plus sign that shows up right at the center of grid when you hold your phone down, and if you line it up it'll make sure that it's perfectly flat with the table.

Donna:                   Cool.

David:                     Very cool.

Connor:                  It is really cool. You're not going to get weird angles, it's not going to mess up your shot. It's just a perfect, flat surface that you've taken a shot of.

Donna:                   You get this only when you have grid enabled?

Connor:                  Correct.

Donna:                   Is the point of that to help you have a more artistic composition? Like you can see your thirds more easily? Why would you have grid enabled?

Connor:                  That is definitely a major reason. We have an article we can link about the rule of thirds. Generally you want your horizon line to be on one of the lines of the grid, and you want most of your objects to either be right on the line or right over the line, all these fancy things. But I generally just use it to make sure that all the components that I want in a shot are there.

Donna:                   Right. I've heard that before. You don't want your horizon to be crooked.

Connor:                  Right.

Donna:                   Okay. So that would help with that.

David:                     Like Connor's saying, you want to put the main subject matter not in the center area, but in one of the other two thirds.

Connor:                  Exactly.

Donna:                   Right.

David:                     And for the table grid, that sounds really useful for scanning documents and taking photos of ...

Connor:                  That, too.

David:                     ... I know you can now scan documents with iOS 11, which is cool.

Connor:                  Right. I [inaudible 00:15:07] about that. You're right.

Donna:                   And it actually will straighten it for you, even if you did take it at a funky angle, which is really nice.

David:                     That's probably a better way to go about it then.

Donna:                   But it's still ... I think the better the original picture still the better your scan and the more legible it will be.

David:                     Okay, very cool.

Donna:                   Okay, so that's it for complaints and learning.

                                    We want to tell you about our second sponsor for this episode before we get into the big debate. So our second sponsor is [Scosche 00:15:35]. Either of you guys can jump in here.

David:                     We have Connor here who does all the premium reviews, so I'll let her jump in too in a second. The new iPhones, both iPhone 8 and the iPhone 10, now have wireless charging. But Apple didn't come out with any solutions, but what they did do is they made them [qi 00:15:56] compatible. Are we [inaudible 00:15:57] qi compatible?

Donna:                   Sure.

Connor:                  Yeah.

David:                     We're [inaudible 00:15:59] qi compatible. What that means is-

Connor:                  Q-I is the way it's spelled.

David:                     Yeah, and they basically have an industry standard for wireless charging mats. Scosche has a bunch of great solutions for wireless charging. What they do is they combine magnetic sticking with charging. So what you do is you can just very quickly dock it on their devices, and they will charge at the same time. They have one for the home and they have one for the car. It's really awesome, because you don't have to have a dock at home where you have to worry about getting it to work. You just stick it right on. You get in the car and you can use it as if you're wanting to ... if you don't have Apple Car Play, you can see the screen to navigate, things like that. It's really awesome.

Connor:                  Yeah. I really like it, because it is a mount that charges. You can angle it at different angles. One of the big things to me with wireless charging is it has to lay flat on all of these charging pads. But with the mount that charges, it can still be facing you so you can still use it. It just doesn't interrupt your workflow in the same way.

Donna:                   How does it stick? Do you have to have a special case on, or how does that work?

Connor:                  You don't need a special case. They include a non-magnetic backing that you can either put on the outside of your phone, on the outside of your case, or if you don't want to attach it to anything you can put it in between the case and the phone, which is my favorite solution.

Donna:                   So you don't have any sticky stuff on your phone.

Connor:                  Exactly.

David:                     You don't have to do that. If you have a case, and most people should have a case, you can just put it either on the back of the case or in between the phone and the case, and then it works really well.

Donna:                   That's cool too, because I know people are concerned about their cases and will it interfere with wireless charging, but it's nice to know that Scosche has created something that both you can use as mount but it's also clearly not going to interrupt wireless charging because it's a wireless charger, too.

David:                     It's a really great solution. If you want to check it out, Scosche is hard to spell. S-C-O-S-C-H-E. Did I get that right?

Donna:                   Yes.

Connor:                  [inaudible 00:18:13].

David:                     Okay, We will also link to it at

Donna:                   David's like, "I didn't know this was a spelling bee."

David:                     But I'm like, "No one's going to find it if I don't try to spell it."

Donna:                   Do we have any favorite apps and gear this week that you guys would like to share?

Connor:                  I have a new pair of headphones, or rather earbuds, that I just got this week from I.AM, like I.AM, which is, I think's company [crosstalk 00:18:41] audio.

David:                     It is. Okay.

Connor:                  And I got their buttons, and I really, really like them.

David:                     What are they?

Connor:                  They're earbuds that are wireless, and they have this nice large circle on the outside that makes it look like they're huge, but they're actually perfect for your ear. It just loops around the back of your neck, you put them in, and the sound quality has been really phenomenal. Their battery life could be better, but I hear that they're coming out with the new ones soon. So I feel like they'll improve on that. You can get it to match your phone. I got the rose gold. And they magnetize together, so you can wear it around the neck, if you need to put them down ...

Donna:                   That's nice.

Connor:                  I really like them.

David:                     Cool.

Donna:                   I feel like this is a good time for me to brag about my new AirPods.

Connor:                  Yes.

David:                     Oh, tell us.

Donna:                   I've been eyeing AirPods for a while, which, if you don't know, are Apple's latest wireless earbuds. I love them, first of all. I feel like for a while I've been complaining about having to deal with the lightning port on my phone and then the headphone jack on my laptop, because I switch back and forth between listening to things on both of those devices a lot. Both at work and when I'm traveling. It's really annoying to have to have two things on hand.

                                    My AirPods are also so easy to switch between devices, and the battery life has been good. I got them more than a week ago, and I haven't had to recharge them yet.

David:                     Oh, wow.

Connor:                  That's impressive.

Donna:                   The sound quality has been really good for music, but actually when I was listening to our podcast over them it didn't sound very good. So that was a little weird.

David:                     For the record-

Donna:                   I switched to other AirPods-

David:                     It sounded better?

Donna:                   ... and it sounded really good. So it wasn't us.

David:                     It wasn't us? Okay.

Donna:                   It was them.

David:                     We have put a lot of time and energy into improving our sound quality over the last month, so if you all want to send us an email and let us know how we're doing we'd appreciate that. Hopefully we're doing better, because we worked really hard on this. That's why I'm highly offended.

Donna:                   So overall, I would say the AirPods, I highly recommend. They are kind of expensive. They're a little over $150. I was thinking that there would be more controls. If you take one of your AirPods out, that pauses the music. That's really nice. You can tap the ear to get Siri, and then you can say things like, "Turn up the volume," or "Turn down the volume." But I'd like to be able to do ... A lot of these things now, if you swipe down on the ear, it'll lower the volume, and swipe up and it'll raise, and I wish there was a little bit more manual controls on there. So that's probably the only thing I would say, if that's important to you, then I wouldn't get them. But in terms of having them be something that's super convenient, and pairs really easily, and has good sound quality, they've been really good.

David:                     Very cool. I've been really curious about them, and they're honestly not that expensive relative to other Bluetooth earbuds. They're about the same price range.

Connor:                  I was thinking that, too.

David:                     And those earbuds are often a pain to sync, and that does make them tempting, the AirPods.

Donna:                   Yeah. Were these ones that you have good for working out?

Connor:                  Yes. They included a lot of add-ons, that you could pop it on, so you had a wing in it.

Donna:                   Oh, okay. Because the AirPods don't have a wing. You can also get third party stuff. One of our sponsors, [Go Buddy 00:22:06], has a wing that you can attach, and it's less than $10 to buy. I'm going to try that out this week, and I'll let you guys know.

David:                     I'll stick with the same theme here, guys, because I wrote the headphone review in our buyer's guide, which is out now. One pair of wireless ear buds that are really well reviewed, and I really enjoyed them as well, [Jabra's 00:22:31] earbuds. They're perfect for working out. They're wireless. They actually measure your heart rate while you're running, which is super cool.

Connor:                  I love Jabra.

David:                     Just really solid sound quality. Sticks in your ear as well. Really high quality, affordable, wireless earbuds.

Donna:                   Have you tried the same pair?

Connor:                  I don't know if it's the same pair, but my first year and a half that I worked here, I tried multiple Jabra. Every single one, regardless of the price point, I was really impressed.

Donna:                   Cool.

David:                     They make really high quality audio for affordable prices. I'm impressed by Jabra as well.

Connor:                  They do. Their headphones, Donna really likes too, because I turned you on to them [crosstalk 00:23:11] because they're lightweight, they don't hurt your ears, and they're not too expensive.

Donna:                   I really like those, because most big head phones give me a headache, and these ones don't.

                                    Okay. Now is the moment that you guys have been waiting for. We have our showdown. Apple Music versus Spotify. I thought I would open up this debate by asking each of you how you made the decision to start out with Spotify, and in your case with Apple Music? Connor, you first.

Connor:                  Okay. When Apple Music debuted, I was here for it. Spotify, I had never gotten into it. I never got the premium, I never really ... I had a huge library of music so I just never even needed to stream anything. And then Apple Music came out, and since I write the tips, I knew I was going to have to get it for tips. So I got it, originally, to write tips.

David:                     I see. So you had to get it. Interesting.

Connor:                  But as it's improved with me, I fell in love.

David:                     How romantic.

Donna:                   Alright, David. What about you?

David:                     I started using Spotify years before Apple Music came out. So I've been long time user. I actually do think that is one of the core advantages that Spotify has, is they have so many years of development experience in this area over Apple that they're ahead in a lot of the areas. And Apple's playing catch up, and they're getting there, but I started using Spotify a long time ago and they've, in my opinion, stayed consistently ahead of Apple Music as far as features go.

Donna:                   Okay, cool. What is your favorite feature of your music service? Connor, you first.

Connor:                  My favorite feature of the music service. I don't-

Donna:                   Your favorite thing about it.

Connor:                  I guess my favorite thing about it isn't necessarily unique from Spotify. I really like Beats 1 Radio, I really like-

Donna:                   That's unique.

Connor:                  That is unique.

David:                     That is very unique, yeah.

Connor:                  I really like generally being able to have stuff in the Cloud, or have stuff on my device. I really love the playlist every week that they give me for new music discovery options, which Spotify has their own version of that. It's seamless.

Donna:                   They do do that? Where each week you get a playlist ...

Connor:                  Yes.

Donna:                   ... of suggested songs?

David:                     It's new.

Donna:                   Tell us about that.

Connor:                  They look at all of the music I regularly listen to, and then they suggest a playlist of maybe 20 songs with new music that they think I would like. And they're really right. At least 75% of the songs I download.

Donna:                   Even if two services have a same feature like that. Radio. Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, they all have that now. But it's how they do it. The details is really what matters. Are the suggestions actually working for you? So that's not saying nothing that you like the suggestions that have been given to you.

Connor:                  Yeah. I think a big part about the music, also, is the ecosystem. Being a part of the ecosystem, whether it's the new HomePod that's coming out, or it's the Apple Watch cellular when the streaming music is finally working. Also, I had already had a bunch of iTunes music, so it was really easy to just put that music right on my device when I joined Apple Music. And I have Car Play in my car, so everything is really seamless across all of my Apple devices. No headaches there. So I like that.

Donna:                   Okay. Solid answers, Connor. Now, David. What about you? What are your favorite things/features about Spotify? The second part of the question, which I didn't end up having to ask was, does the competitor have that. But on each point, Connor pretty much addressed that.

David:                     I think my two favorite things about Spotify, and both of these features Apple's getting there but in my opinion isn't as good. The first one is the discoverability. Both platforms have an insane amount of music. So much so that when you log in, you don't really know what to do, you don't know what to listen to. Spotify has, and has had for a long time, a feature called Discover Weekly, which is the same feature that Connor's referencing, which basically, it analyzes all of your music. And it then analyzes people who listen to similar music, and they actually have really insane machine learning that does all this, and comes up with 30 recommendations for you each week.

                                    Apple has come out with something similar. But it consistently hasn't been reviewed as well, and it's partly because Apple's just pretty far behind in terms of the learning curve of all of this. So Spotify has really great machine learning. They've really mastered this as far as coming up with the recommendations for you each week. They also have a few other playlists that do similar things. They have something called Release Radar. They take your favorite artists, and then whenever they come out with new songs, they put them in a playlist for you. So each week on Fridays, you can see your favorite artists' new songs. And you don't have to go tell Spotify what your favorite artists are. It just knows from your listening habits. It'll even pull in new songs from people who are similar.

                                    In general they have just a huge variety of playlists. Both Spotify makes a huge number of playlists, and users make a huge number of playlists that they share and make public. All of these things are things that Apple is catching up on. Apple just came up with a competitor to Release Radar, and they now allow playlists to be public. But because Spotify has done it for so long, there is so much music there, which, A, you can organically discover by searching for different playlists, what your friends are listening to. And, B, Spotify can use that information to analyze and give you better recommendations.

Connor:                  I can see that Spotify ... The one thing, I think, that Spotify does much better than Apple Music are playlists. I do think that. Although, I also feel like Apple Music made a huge improvement with iOS 11.

David:                     Yeah, absolutely.

Connor:                  Because even the other day, I really wanted a coffee house playlist, and I just searched "coffee house," and came up with a playlist that was wonderful. I feel like six months ago that wouldn't have happened.

David:                     In my opinion, the recent update has made Apple competitive. It made it so that you can justify using it, but I still think Spotify's better.

Connor:                  No.

David:                     The next feature that I think is unique and Apple's catching up on is the social. So when Apple launched Apple Music, they decided to do social differently, which is basically, they had a feed where you could see what artists were doing, they would post to it. Some people like that. I-

Connor:                  No one cared.

David:                     Okay, thank you. Because I was trying to give a benefit of the doubt there, but ... When I want to do social, when it comes to music, I want to see what my friends are listening to. That's something that Spotify has had for years, and Apple Music just launched. Now the problem, of course, with Apple Music is it's only Apple. While, of course, everyone who has an iPhone has better taste, still, people with Android-

Donna:                   That was very fan boy.

Connor:                  [inaudible 00:30:55]. But Apple Music is available on Android phones.

David:                     Okay. I wonder what the adoption rate is on that.

Connor:                  Probably fairly low.

David:                     It's probably not very good. With Android, it's cross-platform, and so because of that-

Connor:                  [inaudible 00:31:06] Spotify.

David:                     Thanks. Spotify's cross-platform so it's very easy, and their social features are great. You can see really quickly what your friends are listening to, what playlists they're doing, that you can do collaborative playlists, so really great social features, which I love to discover music.

Donna:                   You still can't do collaborative playlists with Apple Music, can you?

Connor:                  No. I can have friends now, follow what they're listening to-

Donna:                   Connor can have friends, now!

Connor:                  ... see what they're doing. But you can't collaborate yet. The two points that I think Spotify beats Apple Music on are playlists and social. But if those aren't your two main priorities, then there's no clear reason to chose Spotify over Apple Music. And I actually have some points that will prove that.

David:                     So funny story. Yesterday I came into Connor's office and I'm like, "I'm doing research. I'm going to beat you." The truth is I spent five minutes of research, because I know this stuff pretty well. You guys, I'm an expert.

Donna:                   It's been years that you've been using Spotify.

David:                     Yeah, thanks. And then Connor, I guess, didn't take the bait in the way I was hoping she would, and actually spent a really long time researching. It's a very comprehensive list.

Connor:                  I do.

David:                     Go ahead, Connor.

Donna:                   Let's hear it.

Connor:                  Actually, Apple Music ha 10 million more songs than Spotify.

David:                     It is true.

Connor:                  That's a large number. To me, the actual biggest drawback of Spotify is that you have a song collection limit of 10,000 songs. And on Apple Music you can have up to 100,000.

David:                     What's that mean, a song collection limit?

Connor:                  It means that-

Donna:                   Added to your library.

Connor:                  Added to your music libraries. So any song that you add to your music library, you can have 10,000 on Spotify and 100,000 on Apple Music.

David:                     That is a legit ... Okay, do get to argue ...

Donna:                   Sure, why not.

David:                     ... each of these points? Okay. Number one, Apple does have a few exclusivities. Apple specializes in doing exclusivities, and I do think that matters. They will do things like when Taylor Swift releases a new album-

Connor:                  I hadn't even gotten to this point yet. Go ahead.

David:                     ... they will have a period of exclusivity oftentimes. As a fan, that actually bothers me, because I think that it's not good for listeners.

Connor:                  I agree.

David:                     It fragments the audience. But if you're an Apple Music subscriber it is an advantage. I think the extra 10 million audio tracks, I haven't found almost any music that isn't on Spotify that I wish it were. I don't find Spotify's 30 million songs to be limiting to me.

Connor:                  You mean that's not lacking? You need those other millions.

David:                     No. I'm not missing the extra 10. I'm not! I would admit if I was, but I'm not. And second of all, like I said, I've been using Spotify for, I don't know, over five, ten years, and I would consider myself a very active user. I listen to hours a day. I am nowhere near that 10,000 limit. I wouldn't think it would be a major problem.

Connor:                  I think it would be for me in about two more years, because I'm at 5,000 right now. I think it would be an issue for me in a couple more years. Spotify has been asked to push that limit, so maybe by the time it's an issue it'll be pushed. But it could be a problem if you're a die hard music fan.

Donna:                   I want to see what else is on this bullet point list.

Connor:                  Okay. Going off of a point that David just made for me, there is a lot of exclusive content on Apple Music-

David:                     Bad for the fans.

Connor:                  ... that you don't get on Spotify.

Donna:                   Getting sassy here.

Connor:                  It is bad for the fans, but it's going to happen so you might as well get on my train. Another thing is Carpool Karaoke is only on Apple Music.

Donna:                   What is that?

Connor:                  Carpool Karaoke is where you have a celebrity with the lovable host James Corden in a car singing their own songs.

Donna:                   That sounds amazing.

David:                     This is seriously your point? You can get that on YouTube. You're thinking people should go to subscribe to Apple Music for this?

Connor:                  I'm saying that that's just the beginning. That's the tip of the exclusive TV content ice berg. There are a lot of rumors that Apple is planning on adding more Netflix-like things to Apple Music.

Donna:                   Okay, so you can watch that on Apple Music, but you can't on Spotify, but you can on YouTube. Is that what's happening?

David:                     Yeah.

Donna:                   Okay.

Connor:                  Not all the episodes. There are exclusive episodes, okay? If you live in a different country, Apple Music is in way more countries than Spotify. It's actually in 59 more countries than Spotify.

David:                     So if you're in those 59 countries, I recommend Apple Music.

Connor:                  Okay, if we just cut out the first part, "I recommend Apple Music." Get that sound bite and I win.

David:                     There you go.

Donna:                   That's so funny.

Connor:                  To me, the nail in the coffin is, as far as monthly, student, or family, the price is exactly the same. But there is a hidden annual plan. We have a tip on it, if you go into your subscriptions on your iPhone, you can select the Apple Music annual plan for $99, and save $20 a month.

Donna:                   $20 a year.

David:                     $20 a year.

Connor:                  Thank you.

Donna:                   But that's still ... that's awesome!

David:                     I've actually read that Spotify has that too, but I went looking ... I read it and I actually went and tried to get it yesterday and had a hard time finding it. So, you might be right on that.

Donna:                   That's pretty compelling.

David:                     It's not nothing.

Donna:                   From what I'm hearing so far form you guys, I'm hearing ecosystem, and then all those things you just said, bigger library, more exclusive content. On the Spotify side, we're seeing better playlists, better discoverability. Anything else that I'm missing?

David:                     What I would say is I actually think for the most part Connor and I are in agreement, and it really just depends on where your priorities are.

Connor:                  Definitely.

David:                     Just to get a little sappy for a moment, Spotify really has changed my life, because I-

Donna:                   We need to start playing some background right now.

David:                     The world's smallest violin. I love music. I love discovering new music, and I discovered so many new bands, so much new music in genres that I like because of Spotify discoverability features. I love making playlists. I have hours and hours of playlists that I'll play for myself throughout the day.

Connor:                  And really good ones. I have to admit,

David:                     Thank you.

Connor:                  ... David has really good playlists.

Donna:                   He does.

David:                     Honestly, the saddest part of this debate is that Connor and I have very similar taste in music and we can't listen to each other's playlists.

Connor:                  It is really sad, actually.

David:                     So if discoverability is what you care about, then Spotify, in my opinion and I think Connor is actually agreeing with me, is better. Discover Weekly's great. The many playlists that Spotify has are great. The social discoverability features are better. But by far the huge limitation is because Apple makes Apple Music, they have integrations that Spotify just doesn't have.

Donna:                   Right.

David:                     And I think if you're someone who just wants to listen to your same albums ... Basically have the same-

Connor:                  I've discovered a lot of new music. I think it's just not as readily available. Spotify puts that front and center, where Apple Music is like, "You can find it."

David:                     And Apple Music is new to that. And they'll get better. And they'll be okay at it. But if your priority is discovering it, then go to Spotify. If your priority is integrations, then go to Apple Music.

Connor:                  Yeah.

Donna:                   Where I have to weigh in on this, usually with these debates, I make a final vote, but I am in an interesting scenario here, because I've been using Spotify for the past year. But actually just last week, I switched to Apple Music, and it's really interesting because it perfectly plays into this.

David:                     Plot twist.

Donna:                   Spotify I would absolutely keep, and I think is the winner in many ways. Except for the only reason I switched is because of the ecosystem. And that is because the Apple Watch series three cellular does not have a Spotify. My husband just ... If you heard something I just got too excited and hit the make.

David:                     We're passionate about this.

Donna:                   Yes. Spotify does not have an Apple Watch app yet.

Connor:                  [inaudible 00:39:25].

Donna:                   So, we decided, in order to get that streaming Apple Music, 40 million songs to your wrist, it was worth switching to Apple Music, getting on a family plan for $15 a month, and having Apple Music. But if it weren't for that, I would've absolutely stuck with Spotify. So I think this is one of those ones we should put it to our listeners and have them let us know. From this debate, what do you think? Spotify or Apple Music?

David:                     I actually want to make one or two points in Connor's favor, because I feel like we haven't explained exactly why that ecosystem integration is so important. The areas that I really miss the integration are number one, we just said it, Apple Watch. Number two, Siri. Siri integration is huge.

Donna:                   I didn't even think about that.

David:                     Being able to ask Siri to play a song, to change a song, is really awesome and I don't have that. And I do miss it.

Donna:                   You're getting the HomePod aren't you?

David:                     I am and I'm nervous about it.

Donna:                   It's going to be a problem.

David:                     With the HomePod in particular, it is a big deal. So there are definitely ... the integration does matter and it does suck.

Connor:                  I might bring you to my side yet.

Donna:                   Yeah.

David:                     No. I'm staying put. If you are listening to this podcast and you are swayed in either direction, Donna has a great tip for you in terms of how you can migrate everything.

Donna:                   Yeah. Use SongShift. It's a free app. For free it lets you migrate 50 songs at a time. So for me, I just had a few playlists. So I just did by playlists one at a time. But you also can pay a little bit if you have a huge library and just want to do it all at once. But it lets you do it either way. And there are several other music services it supports also. Check out SongShift. We'll include a link in our blog post.

David:                     And that-

Donna:                   They made it super easy.

David:                     That's awesome, because, like I said, because I've been using Spotify for so long I have so many lists. I've invested so much in curating my library, and so I actually thought there was no way I could possibly switch. And now it turns out there is a way. I'm still very committed to my side. Love Spotify. I want to reiterate that. But if you are really convinced by my argument and you're on Apple Music, come to the dark side.

Connor:                  Come to me!

Donna:                   Email to let us know if you've been swayed either way. Give Connor and David props where props are due.

David:                     We'd love to hear from you, especially if you agree with me.

Connor:                  No.

Donna:                   Thanks, guys. We'll see you next time.

David:                     Thanks everyone.

Connor:                  Thank you!

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Author Details

Sarah Kingsbury's picture

Author Details

Sarah Kingsbury

As the Editorial Director at iPhone Life, Sarah Kingsbury manages the online editorial team and oversees all website content. She is a long-time Apple enthusiast who never goes anywhere without her Apple Watch and owns way too many HomePods. Since joining iPhone Life in 2013, Sarah has done everything from writing hundreds of how-to articles to founding the Daily Tip newsletter. She even co-hosted the early episodes of the iPhone Life Podcast. When not at work, Sarah can be found hiking in the mountains and canyons around Las Vegas, where she lives with her partner and dogs.