• College On Tap

Streaming Wars: Spotify vs. Apple Music

By: Sarah Hardy



Music streaming is one of the most popular ways to get the best music out there. In my experience, there are two top competitors or the best music streaming services: Apple Music and Spotify. Some people wouldn’t think that music is so important in college, but I find myself listening to music when I am studying, walking to class, or hanging out with friends. Here is my guide to picking the best streaming service for you.


Price: Let’s be honest with ourselves, when in college, price is one of the most important and deciding factors when choosing a streaming service. Apple music has a student discount for up to 48 months for $4.99/month. With this option, you also get a limited subscription to Apple TV. Spotify also has a student price of $4.99/month. This gives you access to Spotify premium without ads. This plan also includes Hulu with ads and access to Showtime. There is no time limit as long as you re-verify that you are a student each year. There is also a free option for Spotify that includes ads.


Accessibility: To state the obvious, in order to have Apple Music, you have to have a compatible Apple device. Apple Music runs straight through the pre-installed Music app on your phone. Spotify, on the other hand, is owned by Facebook but you do not need a Facebook account in order to use it. You access Spotify through the Spotify app which is available on all devices.

Offline: Of course, you might not always have access to the best cell reception or you don’t want to use up all your data. Both Apple Music and Spotify have offline options for your music. The services will download your choices to be available offline, but you need to make sure you have good enough internet access at the time that you’re looking to download.


More than Music: If you’re interested in streaming more than just music, pay attention! First comes podcasts. Apple Music does not integrate podcasts into their service, but directs users to their Podcast app. Spotify offers podcasts within the app as well. Radio services are available within Apple Music, and Spotify has recently released an app called Spotify Stations that allows radio streaming.


Personalization: Sometimes finding the perfect playlist to fit your taste can be exhausting. Spotify offers a wide variety of music catered to your listening history. They create a “Discover Weekly” as well as “Release Radar” playlists that update each week based on your listening history. One of my favorite features is when Spotify recaps your year in music as well as creating a “Summer Rewind” that gives me major throwbacks. There are also hundreds of premade playlists by Spotify for any mood or activity you might be doing. Apple music, when first subscribing, asks users to select certain artists and genres that they like. Playlists are then curated by genre and even activity based on your selections.



Smartwatches: In this day and age, smartwatches are all the rage. If you’re someone who likes to stay active while also listening to music there are some options for you. Let’s start with the obvious, the Apple watch. Apple’s smartwatch will work well with Apple Music and pair perfectly with wireless headphones as well. Spotify recently became standard on Fitbit devices, allowing users to browse their library and change music right from their watch. This might not be a huge deciding factor for your streaming service, but if you’ve considered or own a smartwatch it’s nice to know what kind of music your device is compatible with.


When you graduate: The sad thing about student discounts is that when you graduate, your deals are over. With Apple Music, an individual plan is $9.99/month and a family plan is $14.99/month. The nice thing about Spotify is that you can always revert back to the free version of Spotify with ads. Spotify also has a wider variety of plans to fit your budget. Like Apple Music, an individual Spotify plan is $9.99/month. Then there is a “Duo” plan for couples that allows two Spotify premium accounts for $12.99/month. Finally a family plan allows up to 6 people on an account for $14.99/month. The only plan that includes Hulu and Showtime is the student account.

When all is said and done, you aren’t required to get any streaming service if you don’t want to! I find myself listening to music all the time around campus, and I did the research to pick what streaming service works best for me. No matter which one you choose, you won’t be disappointed. Happy streaming!


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