I’m faced with a choice… Which music streaming service is the one for me – Spotify or Apple Music? Choices like this shouldn’t be difficult, but yet I stand amongst a smorgasbord of user hostile pros & cons that really shouldn’t exist.
Apple Music has a tasty user interface and is deeply integrated into iOS, meaning the experience feels more fluid both on my iPhone and while driving (CarPlay is a God send).
The downside is that’s all its compatible with. No Apple Music interplay on my Playstation 4, no chance of connecting it to the Amazon Echo. Nothing!
Spotify, on the other hand, has a lame UI that requires all kinds of thumb-based gymnastics to reach essential features (such as search). The CarPlay integration (probably more Apple’s fault here) is virtually non-existent, as you’re welcomed to an app with zero artist/song control and no Siri integration – making this a dangerous driving distraction.
HOWEVER, it actually plays nicely with any device in my home, even allowing me to use my phone as a controller for the PS4 music.
Music libraries are pretty similar, especially since Taylor Swift conceded her protest against streaming service royalty payments and added her music back to Spotify. But Apple does have a slight leg up with my iTunes library tied into the deal, allowing me to browse stuff that will NEVER make it onto their streaming service.
But Spotify does have a better level of discovery, with algorithmically personalised playlists and surfaced fresh finds – definitely a step up over the competition.
Then again, Apple Music does have the better radio service. Spotify’s stations are just tailored playlists around a particular song, whereas Beats 1 has dreamt big with the likes of Zane Lowe, Annie Clark and even Ryan Adams putting on shows full of musical intrigue.
So which do I choose? “The first world struggle is real,” I internally proclaimed. Shortly following this, however, I had an epiphany of sorts – potentially influenced by the message of love infectiously communicated from Glastonbury Festival.
While corporate competition is good, competition in these specific areas are not just user hostile, they can be dangerous too.
By all means, continue to snap up exclusives and compete through content. But don’t put people in danger behind the wheel with subpar music experiences. Don’t make the living room listening experience deliberately worse by refusing to play ball with other devices in there. Don’t forget about the most important part of your user experience – the interface. Vote with your money and do not let them divide a universally loved cultural icon as music.
Then again, I know I’m wasting my breath here, because the obvious strategy here is to make buy a HomePod, Apple TV and resolve those issues outright. And Spotify certainly aren’t going to fix the interface problem, as they know they’ve got people by the balls with their cross-platform compatibility. Screw it, I’m going Amazon Prime Music.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.