After recently making the switch myself, here are five Apple Music features that are still missing in Spotify.
I’ve been using Apple Music as my primary music streaming service for around two months now. Here are my favourite things that Apple just does better.
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1. Sync Library/iCloud Music Library
I have a large collection of digital audio files from before streaming was really a thing. Until now I’ve kept them in YouTube Music as they have a free cloud music service, but switching apps to listen to my old music or something not available on Spotify was far from seamless. While you can upload music to Spotify and sync it to your device, this music isn’t kept in the cloud, requiring precious storage space. Being stored in Apple’s cloud means I can access what I want, when I want it, all integrated with my existing playlists.
2. Lossless Audio
Sixteen months after it was announced and six month after it was due, Spotify’s HiFi tier is still yet to be seen. Apple on the other hand have fully transitioned their entire 90 million songs to at least 16-bit/44.1 kHz (CD quality), with some even as high as 24-bit/192 kHz. Whether or not you have the equipment or ears to hear the difference, the higher quality as an option is always appreciated.
3. Spatial Audio
Alongside the launch of lossless audio, Apple also introduced spatial audio. For songs mixed in Dolby Atmos, spatial audio provides “a revolutionary, immersive audio experience that enables artists to mix music so the sound comes from all around and from above.” While the claims of a 3D surround experience might be a stretch, spatial audio does genuinely give a noticeably wider sound stage on compatible hardware.
4. Smart Playlists
One of my personal favourite features of Apple Music is Smart Playlists. Smart Playlists allow you to set specific rules for the playlist to follow, to determine which tracks are included. These rules can be almost anything, from your loved songs, genres of music, year of release, right down to a bracket of plays a song has. Playlists are live updated (if you want them to be) so they always include the latest tracks automatically. It’s a great way to filter your favourite tracks by genre or year, and I am yet to find a similar feature as comprehensively customisable on any other streaming service.
While Spotify and Apple Music are generally priced the same in the US and UK for individuals, with accounts at $/£9.99 per month, Apple Music’s addition of a somewhat hidden annual option for $/£99 per year (effectively $/£8.25 per month), saves a significant $/£20.88 per year.
Minor benefits to Apple Music also include the ability to see exactly how many times you’ve played a song (not just during Spotify Wrapped time), plus flawless Apple integration. Apple Music is a great option for those in the Apple ecosystem, i.e. iPhone, Mac, iPad, AirPods, HomePod, Apple Watch, Apple TV, CarPlay users, with seamless integration, reliable updates and so on.
The biggest drag moving from service to service was transitioning my library. While there are services like Tune My Music and Soundiiz, their free services are limited and not perfect, with many mismatched songs or songs that simply weren’t available on Apple Music.
I have also found Apple’s music recommendations to be a little worse than Spotify’s, but I am hoping these will get better over time as the algorithm learns my tastes. I will also say Apple Music’s smaller userbase does introduce an extra step to sharing music with friends or joining group playlists.
Despite these downsides, so far, I’m loving Apple Music. Got any additional reasons why one is better than the other? Leave them in the comments down below.