Today, Spotify is the dominant streaming music platform in multiple regions including the United States. But lately, there has been a lot of interest among Spotify users to try something new.
Some are just curious to see what else is out there, having been using Spotify for a long time while its competitors have continued to mature. Some are trying to make a change due to controversy surrounding the platform’s deal with podcaster Joe Rogan or its financial relationship with artists.
Whatever your reasons, there are several established competitors that offer many of the same features as Spotify. We will quickly list what distinguishes them.
We’ll continue to focus on real Spotify competitors, so we’re looking for services that let you stream virtually any song on-demand, anytime. This particularly excludes popular radio services like Pandora, which don’t focus on selecting songs a la carte. It also rules out many smaller services that just can’t offer the same breadth of content as Spotify, even if they offer similar features.
This list isn’t exhaustive, but these are the services we think are good enough that switching from Spotify doesn’t feel like a downgrade.
This is the obvious choice, and with good reason. apple music is Spotify’s biggest competitor, and the overall user experience is as close as Spotify can get.
The biggest difference between the two is that while Spotify’s music discovery has an important algorithmic recommendation component (like the Discover Weekly playlist), Apple Music is much more focused on professional human curation, either in handcrafted playlists or in pre-season radio streams. Internet style live DJs.
Yes, there are professionally curated playlists on Spotify and algorithmic radio stations on Apple Music. But Apple puts a lot more effort into the hand-picked stuff, while its algorithmic recommendations and associations aren’t nearly as strong.
Of course, each focus has advantages and disadvantages. But the two services have the most important thing in common: Each has a comparatively huge library of individual songs that span many genres and eras. You can listen to songs à la carte and sort them into playlists as you like.
Notably, Apple Music doesn’t have an ad-supported free tier like Spotify. So if you don’t want to pay the $10 a month for a subscription, this isn’t the service for you.
For some content, Apple Music also offers higher-quality audio (via lossless and Dolby Atmos) and also gives artists a slightly bigger slice of the financial pie.
- Higher audio quality for some content
- Better human curation and live radio programming
- Compensates artists a little better
- Tighter integration with Apple hardware, software, and services (if that’s your ecosystem of choice)
- Greater integration of your personal music library
- Significantly worse algorithmic functions and recommendations
- While there are Android and Windows apps, Apple Music doesn’t always work well with smart speakers or other non-Apple-made products
- Smaller podcast selection
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