Streaming is a touchy subject here at Street Music. There are those among us who'll be on Spotify until they die, some who have hopped on the Apple Music bandwagon, and others who have made the switch. Street Beats Paul Litwin and Noah Kest explained the pros and cons of their favorite streaming services.
Noah Kest: Why I switched to Spotify
1. Spotify is more social
Music is an incredible, unifying device that people can immediately bond over—and Spotify understands this. Considering that most college students seem to be on Spotify, the app has somewhat of a musical social hub. By allowing you to create an account through Facebook, Spotify makes it easy to connect with friends. The ‘Friend activity’ bar on the side lets you see what your friends are listening to at any time, helping you understand their musical interests and discover new music at the same time. Clicking on your friend’s name takes you to their page, where you can see who they’ve recently listened to, playlists they’ve made, and which friends or artists they follow.
2. More user friendly when it comes to music discovery
Music doesn't start and end with the music you already heard of or the albums you’ve listened to dozens of times. Your tastes need to be developed and explored, and Spotify does just that. Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist gives you 30 new songs catered to your musical preferences every Monday. Most of the names in the playlist will be new–to–you artists, which makes it all the more exciting to fall in love with new sounds. Spotify also has hundreds of pre–made playlists geared toward specific moods, settings, or events. Listening through these playlists lets you find hundreds of new songs and artists of all different genres.
Making a playlist on Spotify is also more geared toward music discovery. At the bottom of every playlist you make is a list of recommended songs that perfectly complement your playlist. Although Apple Music also has some of these features, Spotify makes them more user–friendly. Unlike with Apple Music, you can have your Discover Weekly playlist automatically add itself to your sidebar of playlists every week. Spotify's the master of discovery, plain and simple.
3. Better immersive music experience (concerts and such)
Spotify’s created an immersive listening experience like no other. There's Genius for lyrical and behind–the–scenes song details, Songkick integration to keep you posted on who's coming for you next, and interactive playlists like Rap Caviar that bring you in with Kendrick and other greats through interviews, music videos and the works. Apple Music just won't do that for you.
4. Spotify’s on a mission
In 2005, Spotify set out on one mission, and one mission only: to combat music piracy. Fast–forward 12 years, and they’ve gone and done it. When was the last time you hit one of those sketchy torrent websites? Yep, I can’t remember either. Spotify cares about the artists. By promoting curated playlists and algorithmic recommendations, Spotify ensures never–before–heard artists are closer than ever. And you’re usually going to love them.
The bottom line:
If you're a person for the people, Spotify's your guy. If you like discovering new music based on what you already like, Spotify. If you have friends, Spotify. Need we say more?
Paul Litwin: Why I switched to Apple Music
1. Easy to keep old music and add new downloaded music
As a kid who experienced the peak of the iPod Nano/Classic/Touch wave, it was always necessary for me to have my favorite songs downloaded on my iTunes library for easy syncing. As time went on, the amount of downloaded music and playlists I had continued to expand, and when I finally hopped on the streaming bandwagon with Spotify, I found it near impossible to transfer all my downloaded songs to my Spotify account’s library. I’m an ardent supporter of playlists totaling 100+ songs, so it’s an extremely time–consuming process to add each song from a downloaded iTunes playlist into a Spotify playlist instead. Once I switched back to Apple Music, I was able to incorporate an abundance of early–2000s jams that I had completely forgotten about into my new playlists– remember “Pon De Replay” by Rihanna? “Tipsy” by J–Kwon? “Ridin” by Chamillionaire? I still have all of those songs on my iTunes, many of which I would have completely forgotten about (and you might have, too) unless you go searching for specific throwback jams offered by Spotify.
2. Exclusive videos and Beats 1 Radio
One of the perks of Apple Music that I had no idea I was missing out on while using Spotify is the exclusive interviews, music videos, and short films that are curated by Apple Music. Apple Music’s ownership of Beats 1 Radio means that they have primary or exclusive access to a lot of interviews hosted by DJs like Zane Lowe and Julie Adenuga with artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Kendrick Lamar, and Taylor Swift. While some interviews are eventually posted to YouTube, many short films made by artists as accompaniments to their albums, such as Sampha’s film titled “Process,” and Drake’s film titled “Please Forgive Me” are hosted exclusively through Apple Music. Similarly, music videos for songs, such as the video for “Supermodel” by SZA, are streamed through Apple Music and are either exclusive to Apple Music or are released to the public several weeks after their initial release. While Spotify only has radio based off of selecting specific artists (e.g. “Rihanna radio”), Apple Music has both radio based off specific artists, but also dedicated radio stations–Zane Lowe at midnight, Dr. Dre’s The Pharmacy station at 6pm, Noisey Radio at 9am, and so on. Every radio segment is posted on Apple Music on demand as well, so every episode from every station is accessible.
3. Early album access
By and large the most important reason I initially switched from Spotify to Apple Music—and will stay with Apple Music—is the early album access. Not everyone likes hip–hop and R&B, and if that’s the case, Apple Music might not be for you. But Apple Music gets exclusive early release deals with artists like Frank Ocean (Blonde and the 45–minute short film Endless), Drake (Views), Travis Scott (Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight) and Future (EVOL). And as an avid consumer of that genre of music more than anything else, having the opportunity to stream Drake’s raps about fights at the Cheesecake Factory two weeks earlier than any other service is a godsend.
The bottom line
I do understand that Apple Music isn’t for everyone—Spotify's much better for the social aspect of music sharing, and sharing playlists is something that I find really important to exposing friends to new music. At the end of the day, as a full–fledged music nerd, the benefits of switching to Apple Music are far better than those of staying with Spotify. I think most people have Spotify because their friends use it, which is great for sharing pregame playlists and stalking the type of music your friends listen to. But as someone that wants to see more than just my friends’ frat party playlists, and as someone that is passionate about exploring the content of artists I enjoy, Apple Music is a no–brainer for me.