I Switched From Spotify To Apple Music For 1 Month — Here’s What Happened

After years and years of being a loyal Spotify user, this writer recently ditched the service and migrated to one of its fiercest competitors — Apple Music. That’s a decision that didn’t come lightly. Spotify has access to almost every song imaginable, tons of exclusive playlists to discover new favorites, and offers some of the best personalization features compared to any of its competitors. Pair that with a functional app and availability on virtually every smart device, and there’s little reason to outright hate Spotify.

But that’s not to say the experience is perfect. Throughout those years of using Spotify day after day, certain things have become regular annoyances. Take podcasts, for example. In recent years, Spotify’s pushed to be just as big a player in the podcast space as it is for music. That’s resulted in podcasts becoming increasingly prevalent when using the app. As someone that exclusively uses Spotify for music, it makes the whole thing feel bloated, messy, and unorganized. Similarly, the business side of Spotify’s podcast operations hasn’t always been fun to watch. Whether it’s making podcasts exclusive to its app or paying $100 million for a show whose host creates distrust around life-saving vaccines, giving money to a company like that doesn’t always feel the best.

Related: Joe Rogan Vaccine Podcast Comments Explained

For those reasons and more, it felt like it was time to give Spotify a rest and try something new. As someone who uses Apple devices every day and had a free trial for Apple Music, Apple’s streaming service seemed like just as good a replacement as anything else. It’s been over a month since that happened, and in the days/weeks since then, Apple Music has proven to be an exceptional player in the music streaming space. But is it enough to replace Spotify for good? Let’s dig in.

Everything That Apple Music Excels At

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Apple Music Screenshots

Coming to Apple Music from Spotify, something that’s stuck out the most is the added polish/features of the app. Spotify’s software has never felt bad, but certain things about the Apple Music experience are notably better. For starters, not having podcasts and music jumbled together has been such a phenomenal change for the better. It might sound like a small thing to complain about, but having to sift through unwanted podcasts just to find an album or playlist has been a constant annoyance for Spotify. On Apple Music, it’s just that — music. There are seemingly endless albums, playlists, and radio stations to listen to without the slightest mention of the Joe Rogan Experience. It’s wonderful.

Something else that’s been excellent is the lyrics view. After tapping the lyrics button while listening to a song, Apple Music shows a karaoke-style view of a song’s lyrics — making it easy to sing along with a track or study the lyrics as they happen. Spotify also shows lyrics for certain songs, but it pairs them with quotes from the artist and other background information about it. Maybe it’s a personal pet peeve, but this has always been annoying. Having pure, adulterated lyrics in Apple Music isn’t a groundbreaking feature, but it’s leaps and bounds better than whatever Spotify’s still doing with ‘Behind the lyrics.’

Then there are the more subtle aspects of using Apple Music. The animated cover art for select albums and playlists adds a sense of liveliness to the app, following friends/family makes Apple Music more personable than Spotify has ever felt, and the buttery-smooth animations (on iPhone and Android) are just a joy to look at. These are all objectively small things on their own, but the end result is an application that’s more visually and functionally pleasing in almost every way.

Related: AirPods, HomePod & Apple Music Lossless Audio Explained

Outside of the app experience, there are also a few music-centric features that Apple Music has really impressed with. Let’s start with its focus on radio. In addition to accessing millions of on-demand titles, Apple Music also houses a wide variety of radio stations. Users can listen to exclusive stations only on Apple Music, national and local ones sourced from iHeartRadio and TuneIn, and custom stations based on a specific song, album, or artist. Surprisingly, radio has been a really fun way to break up normal streaming routines. Whether it’s checking in with the local alternative station or taking a music break with some NPR, having radio and on-demand streaming meshed together has been a blast.

Last but certainly not least, Apple Music has an objective lead over Spotify regarding audio quality. In June 2021, Apple Music was updated with Lossless Audio and Spatial Audio (aka Dolby Atmos) for no extra charge. Lossless Audio is a great perk for folks that use wired headphones and dedicated DACs, but as someone that almost exclusively listens wirelessly with AirPods Max, being able to experience Dolby Atmos has been a legitimate game-changer. Listening to supported songs like twenty-one pilots’ Good Day, Imagine Dargon’s Cutthroat, or almost any other song with the Dolby Atmos indicator, it’s unlike anything else this writer has experienced before. The biggest downside is that Dolby Atmos is still fairly limited with which songs/albums support it. Still, as Apple continues to get that number higher and higher, its lead over Spotify becomes that much more substantial.

The Two Spotify Features Apple Music Is Missing

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Spotify app on an iPhone and Android phone

While Apple Music has been an overwhelmingly positive experience over the past month, there are two areas in which Spotify still reigns supreme. First and foremost, having to live without Spotify Connect required a considerable adjustment period. Spotify Connect allows someone to start listening to Spotify on one device and have synchronized playback control on any other gadget logged into their account. It’s one of the main reasons it took so long to ditch Spotify to try something else, and it’s certainly been the biggest pain point throughout the whole process. Changing listening habits has turned this into a small annoyance instead of the deal-breaker it once felt like, but it would still be fantastic to see Apple mimic this functionality at some point down the road.

The other sticking point has to do with personalized music mixes. This is another area Spotify has dominated for years — and has only gotten better at it in recent months. As someone uses Spotify day in and day out, it learns each person’s listening habits and creates numerous custom playlists just for them. The crux of this is seen with Daily Mixes. Every Spotify user gets six Daily Mixes to choose from, each featuring a different group of personalized songs Spotify tailors just for that person. These personalized playlists continue with Discover Weekly, Release Radar, Genre Mixes, Artist Mixes, Decade Mixes, Repeat Rewind, and more. No other streaming service is as good at personalized listening as Spotify is. Especially with years of listening history for it to create a music profile for someone, that’s a grip that can be extremely had to escape from.

Related: Sick Of Spotify? Here Are The Best Alternatives

Apple Music does offer its own assortment of personalized playlists, though they’re considerably more limited. Compared to the dozens of options on Spotify, Apple Music has just five ‘Made For You’ playlists: Favorites Mix, Get Up! Mix, Chill Mix, New Music Mix, and Friends Mix — all of which are updated only once per week. Apple Music’s algorithms have done a fine job creating these after just a month of use, but it’d be amazing to see a proper alternative to Daily Mixes.

Why I’m Sticking With Apple Music For Good

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Apple Music in the App Store on an iPhone

Even without Spotify Connect or a wide variety of personal playlists, Apple Music will continue to replace Spotify for the foreseeable future. The app experience is more pleasing, radio access is a great plus, and it’s hard to imagine going back to a service without Dolby Atmos. Spotify could turn things around whenever Spotify HiFi finally launches, though it’s still unclear if Dolby Atmos will be included in that service — and whether or not it’ll come with an extra fee.

Even if Spotify HiFi knocks it out of the park, Apple Music now has a huge advantage of being part of a larger ecosystem of other Apple services. As someone that uses an iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac daily, Apple One has become a must-have subscription. With Apple Music bundled into every tier of Apple One, it’s since become the best streaming value for anyone in Apple’s walled garden. Personally, that alone was another big reason why this experiment started in the first place. Spotify will more than likely continue to dominate the music streaming market for years to come, but for anyone that’s been itching to try something new, Apple Music has been a delight.

Next: AirPods Max Review

Source: Apple

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