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Apple Music vs Spotify - First Impressions

With Apple music now released, we look at whether it is likely to break Spotify's dominance

1Jul

Apple Music has been released and we are busy downloading it to give you our instant thoughts on whether it will be a genuine Spotify beater, as we in a follow up to Nathan Meyer’s piece.

We have found that one of the most important elements for success today is not always the initial strategy, but the way it is executed. This means that first impressions are vital and we wanted to give our thoughts on how Apple have implemented their new streaming service.

The first impressions

The app itself is sleek and well designed, loading quickly on my iPhone 6.

It is also very easy to scroll through every part of the app, making it easy to search for specific artists, quickly browse through the various playlists, radio stations and new releases.

I particularly like how intuitive it is,there are no pop out menus, instead everything you need is displayed across the bottom of the app.

Will it beat Spotify?

Some of the most basic aspects across both apps remain the same, with playlists, albums and curated content being a key part of each of their strategies.

Both applications are similar in this basic sense, but it seems as if Apple have looked at exactly what people want and really concentrated on expanding this. I particularly like the use of ‘Family Tree’ which are playlists of artists who have influenced artists that you have shown an interest in.

They also have ‘Intro to’ playlists giving the user the chance to listen to an artist’s most famous songs, which on the surface seems to be slightly pointless as the band page includes their top songs, but in reality is triggered after interest in similar artists.

One element of Apple music that I think really beats Spotify is on the desktop version, where due to the integration into iTunes, it is possible to use the built-in equalizer to change the quality of the music. As somebody who has used Spotify for the last few years on my desktop as a major part of my daily routine, it has been a particular bugbear that I needed to use complicated workarounds to do this on Spotify.

The quality of the streams when using the same equalization is almost identical, so neither can claim to be better than the other in this respect. The price is also the same if you are signing up now and even for those of us who are paying £6.99 per month, they will be paying this price by this time next year.

So which will come out best?

The difference between the two services seems to be minimal at present, although I personally prefer Apple music thanks to the curated playlists and equalizer on my desktop version. The apps are both intuitive and easily useable, although due to the integration of Apple Music on my iPhone, it wins over Spotify. That being said, the ultimate test will be when the Apple Music app is available for android phones, when the app will not be tied into the phone's operating system. 

For those with hundreds of playlists on Spotify it may not be worth the switch over, but for those with no real allegiance to one or the other, the UX of the Apple app and the ability to use an equalizer sees Apple Music just pip Spotify on the line. 

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