Apple Music vs. Spotify Premium

Apple Music TV spot

Surprise, surprise: Apple Music has a ton of subscribers.

Apple’s streaming music service has reportedly passed the 10 million paid subscribers mark, according to the Financial Times.

(Apple Music last reported 6.5 million paid subscribers in October. It’s possible the increase in subscribers occurred due to so many new Apple devices being activated during the holidays.)

From a historical perspective, this would mean Apple Music, which has only been around for six months, has passed a milestone that took its rival Spotify six full years to reach.

Based off this single metric, you might be inclined to think this means Apple Music is the superior music service. But that number only tells part of the story.

It’s important to keep in mind that Apple Music is baked into Apple’s entire software lineup, from iPhones to iPads to Mac computers. That’s a huge advantage since the software is already downloaded and simply waits to be activated; rival apps like Spotify need to be downloaded and paid for separately.

Also, Apple Music was immediately available to millions of people via millions of devices when it launched in late June. In fact, Apple had more trial subscribers (11 million) than it has right now (10 million). And Apple Music is free to try for three full months, so it doesn’t really feel like you’re paying for a new service right off the bat — Apple will quietly charge Apple Music’s $9.99 monthly fee once the free trial ends unless you opt out.

And, as we’ve explored in many posts across Tech Insider and Business Insider, Apple Music is riddled with bugs and a muddled interface. There are simply too many features that either lack polish or simply don’t work well.

For example, Apple Music’s “For You” recommendation engine pales in comparison to Spotify’s own engine for music discoveries and recommendations. And its “Connect” feature that supposedly helps you get closer to the artists you love is like a half-baked version of iTunes Ping, the company’s failed social network that debuted in 2010 and was discontinued two years later.

Apple Music has received a few important updates to squash some really annoying bugs — for things like syncing and music playback — but Apple Music still has a long way to go. At this very moment, we highly recommend Spotify Premium as the best music service you can buy right now. It’s the same price as Apple Music — $10 a month — but it offers so much more: a slick user interface that works well, a variety of ways to discover music you’ll like, and a host of features we haven’t seen anywhere else, like its unique Discover Weekly playlist that offers every member an individualized playlist each Monday morning.

Apple Music is not a terrible music service, but as an Apple product, it’s subpar and nowhere near where it should be in terms of intuitiveness and functionality. Its “For You” feature needs to be revamped, and its “Connect” feature should be eliminated entirely. Its “New” section should also do a better job at highlighting artists or genres you (might) like.

In general, it all needs work. But as Apple proved with Apple Maps, you don’t need to create the best product, you just need to get it into the most hands — that’s why Apple Maps has three times more users than Google Maps on the iPhone right now. And so, Apple Music isn’t the best it can be right now, but having a big subscription base of 10+ mi

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