I’ve been a paying Spotify customer since the beginning. I have dozens of playlists, synced albums, and personalised radio stations ready for me every time I fire up the app. Next to Twitter, I probably use Spotify more than anything else on my phone.
In short, I’m so ingrained in Spotify that it’s going to take a lot to convince me to ditch it for something else.
I’ve been testing Apple Music for about a day through the service’s free three-month trial. So far, the experience is mostly the same as Spotify. I get access to tens of millions of songs on demand and can store them on my phone so I can listen if you don’t have an internet connection.
Nothing new there.
But I have found one key area where Apple Music beats Spotify: the playlists.
Both services have a bunch of curated playlists that you can search for by genre or mood. But it feels like Apple puts more care into its playlists than Spotify does.
Apple has human editors that come up with the perfect songs for each situation. Each playlist usually has fewer than 15 songs, or the length of your typical album. It feels like someone telling me, “Here are the absolute best songs you need to listen to for this situation.”
So far, so good. I listened to one of Apple’s hip-hop workout playlists at the gym Wednesday morning. It was a great mix of older, popular songs and newer stuff I’m not as familiar with. I also added a bunch of others to my queue.
Spotify’s playlists, on the other hand, are all over the place. Each playlist often has dozens of songs, so they feel random and mashed together, not carefully curated. It’s not the best experience.
Even better: Apple Music takes your own tastes into account when it recommends new playlists for you. When you first load the app, it asks you to name some of your favourite artists and genres. From there, it recommends playlists, albums, and singles in a special section of the app called “For You.”
The playlists are by far my favourite part of the For You section, and I can see it as the best way to discover new music through curated playlists based on what I already like. As much as I love Spotify, it doesn’t do the best job at taking my tastes into account when recommending music.
Of course, this is just one aspect of Apple Music. Overall, I don’t think it offers enough to make a dedicated Spotify user like me switch.
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