We compare these popular music streaming services so you can decide which is best for your needs.
There are many music streaming options available these days, and it can be tough to decide which one is best for you. In this article, we'll compare Apple Music, YouTube Music and Spotify to help you weigh them up.
Spotify is a free service with paid premium subscriptions that offer additional features for S$9.90 per month.
Apple Music starts at S$9.98 per month, and includes access to its extensive library of songs and other benefits like exclusive content from artists.
YouTube Music, meanwhile, starts at S$9.98. With their similar price points, which subscription should you choose?
Spotify is not just the oldest streaming service, it was also the first to offer ad-free songs and videos. It has since been joined by Apple Music and YouTube Music, which have both made significant strides towards rivalling Spotify's domination.
One thing all the platforms have in common is that you can use them on multiple devices using a single account. Apple Music does not have a free version, while both Youtube Music and Spotify allow for free access to their platforms with some limitations.
All three services offer student plans at around S$4.99/month. The table below summarises the plans on offer:
|Apple Music||Spotify Premium||YouTube Music|
|Free trial||3 months||3 months||1 month|
|Free plan||Nil||Free with ads. No downloads for offline listening.||Free with ads. No background play, no downloads for offline listening.|
|Standard plan||S$9.98/month||S$9.90/month (individual) |
|Song library||90 million||80 million+||50 million+|
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Apple Music is quite comparable with the other two options, especially Spotify, in terms of the number of tracks and price point. One distinguishing factor for Apple Music is the ability to listen to select songs in spatial audio with Dolby Atmos, which promises a theatre-like audio quality.
Apple has also developed its own Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC), which means the audio resolutions range from 16-bit/44.1kHz (CD quality), up to 24-bit/192 kHz.
Regarding convenience when travelling, Apple has an edge: users can download songs into their Apple Watches so they can listen to their favourite tracks during long flights when coverage isn't available. These files will sync seamlessly between all devices within one iCloud account (including Mac computers), so you can always carry them with you wherever you go!
If you've invested heavily in the Apple ecosystem, then it's a no-brainer that Apple Music will be your best option.
Its app has a ton of playlists, but lacks the robust sharing options that you can find with other music streaming services like Spotify.
Spotify Free is a great way to listen to music, but if you want to access the entire library of songs and podcasts, it will cost an extra fee.
The problem with Spotify Free is that you’re not able to download tracks for offline listening. You’re also not able to select a particular song. You can only listen to a shuffle mode, and can’t skip more than six tracks within an hour.
Spotify announced a new HiFi (lossless) tier coming at the end of 2021, but there has been no further word on when or if it will appear.
Spotify has been a favourite among music lovers for years, as it offers an extensive selection of both new releases and classics.
The service also features podcasts and compatibility across different devices, including Sonos speakers. Just connect your devices via the WiFi connection (Spotify Connect) and voilà! Remote control access across all devices lets you enjoy some premium tunes 24/7.
Spotify has its streaming quality set to automatic by default, adjusting based on your connection strength when you’re on Wi-Fi or cellular data. The app streams audio at up to 320kbps for Spotify Premium users and 160kbps if it detects that there isn't enough bandwidth available.
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YouTube Music has some unique features that makes it stand apart from other players like Apple Music and Spotify.
For starters, you can keep up to 100,000 songs saved within your library and create and share playlists with friends and family. Similar to the other platforms, it can run in the background and you can download songs for offline listening.
However, the main distinction for YouTube Music is the access that subscribers get to songs and content that is not just from music labels, but also from users such as remixes, covers and performances.
Apple Music and Spotify both have a selection of music videos on their apps, but YouTube Music is better for discovering up-and-coming artists. For those who want to watch the latest music videos from their favourite artists, YouTube has this covered too with its fast streaming that doesn't take up much data usage!
Which should you choose?
While all three offer highly competitive music offerings, ultimately what your choice will come down to is what you prioritise. If you’re a user of Apple products, Apple Music’s seamless compatibility will probably win you over. Between Spotify and YouTube Music, a focus on label releases and podcasts would lead you to the former, while a preference for music videos and user-generated content might cause you to prefer the latter.
You can also save money by opting for a plan that you can split with others. Spotify offers more options for this, with its duo and family plans, however its family plan is a little pricier than the other two’s.
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