Spotify and Beats Music are two of the most prominent music streaming services on the market right now. Just like everything in our life getting more and more integrated to the Internet – it started with e-mail, then YouTube – today, taking your favorite CD album everywhere seems to be irrelevant, considering that you can simply stream your favorite songs on your mobile phone, tablet, or personal computer. In the last few years, music streaming services has gotten a huge spike in popularity. Indie bands and megastars both release their arts on said services. So, which is the best music streaming service on the market right now? Below, we will see the comparison between Spotify and Beats Music.
Officially launched in October 2008, Spotify is a streaming service for music, podcasts, and videos. It is developed by a startup company, Spotify AB, in Sweden’s Stockholm. It handles digital rights management-protected content from media companies and record labels. Perhaps one of the best things about Spotify is that it is a freemium service. In other words, the basic features are free with ads, whereas the additional features are only available through paid subscriptions. Spotify is available in most of European and American countries, Australia, New Zealand, and some parts of Asia. It is available on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux. As of March 2017, it has at least 100 million active users, of which 50 million are paying subscribers, and over 30 million songs. (Read also : Slacker Radio vs Spotify)
About Beats Music
Beats Music is a subscription-based music streaming service owned by Beats Electronics, which has now become a division of Apple Inc. after the iPhone maker purchased the company in May 2014. Beats Music stands out from the rest because it combines personalization algorithms with expert music suggestions from various sources. Beats Music is only available in the United States.
Now, let’s see the comparisons between these two popular music streaming services. One of the most decisive factors that people usually consider before choosing a music streaming service is the available collection. In general, the larger the collection, the better. But it can also be quite a subjective matter because sometimes it depends on what you are looking for. For example, Jay-Z’s “Jungle” appeared exclusively on Beats Music alone before rolling into the other services, whereas other artists, Led Zeppelin for example, were only on Spotify for some time before going to the other services. At the end of the day, we can hardly know in advance prior to subscribing about which artists will appear on which services, but most albums will be eventually available everywhere. So, it’s a tie.
User interface is also one of the most decisive factors in choosing a music streaming app. We want something that is easy and convenient to use. Spotify comes with a menu-driven interface. It is actually very neat and organized. However, it will require lots of taps to get to an artist’s song list from the main screen. Once a track starts playing, Spotify shrinks to a mini-player on a small ribbon at the bottom of the screen. You can expand it to a full-sized player by tapping on the album art, but this is hardly intuitive and somewhat inconvenient due to the image’s tiny size.
On the other hand, Beats Music features a visual-driven interface with large tiles that bring you directly to the content that you want to listen. Pick a track to play, and it will transform into a full-screen player with large buttons and progress meters. It is very practical and intuitive to use. So, for the user interface,Beats Music is the winner.
Technically, Beats Music does not provide any free version. If you want to use the service, you have to subscribe. Apple indeed has the free iTunes Radio, but it is not close to Spotify’s free account.
One nice thing about Spotify is that it allows you to listen to its songs without paying. However, the free version only gives you the shuffle mode. In order to play a particular song, you have to upgrade to the premium version. Still, this is much better than nothing. Besides, listening on the shuffle mode may bring you to cool, less-known interesting songs. So, for the free account, Spotify is the winner.
Both Spotify and Beats Music come with social integration features, allowing the users to share their favorite songs on Twitter and Facebook. However, Beats Music does not show your friends’ activities – which can be a selling point if you don’t care about what your friends are listening to or if you are embarrassed with your musical taste. But, seriously, we can’t pretend not to look at Beats Music’s lack of social features. Spotify, on the other hand, has used Facebook Connect for a much richer social experience that enables you to see your friends’ listening activities. You can choose not to show your listening activity in the settings, and don’t worry about stupid alerts because your friends’ activities will only be shown on a sidebar and on the “Activity” menu. So, for social integration, Spotify is the winner.
The biggest advantages of Spotify are both the social features and the platform interactivity. Spotify can expand and morph into many new ways. The desktop app allows users and outside programmers to make other software apps interact with Spotify. For example, you can see the lyrics of the song you are currently listening to through MusiXmatch, and you can link your Spotify account to Last.fm for personalized music choices.
On the other hand, Beats Music offers expert-crafted playlists that are made by humans, not computers. This seems to be cool until we realize that Rolling Stone Recommends is now integrated inside Spotify. The other cool feature, “The Sentence”, allows you to tell the app about what you are currently doing or what kind of music that you currently want to hear. It seems cool, too, but it is actually gimmicky because we all want to chill, nap, and party to 90’s rock no matter what. The winner is clearly Spotify.
|- Available in most European and American countries, Australia, New Zealand, and some Asian countries||- Only available in the United States|
|- Has a free version that is limited to the shuffle mode||- Does not have a free version|
|- Menu-driven interface||- Visual-driven interface|
|- Extensive social features||- Very limited social features|
|- Great platform interactivity||- No platform interactivity|
Beats Music actually has a very nice user interface. Some people may choose this service for that feature alone. However, Spotify supersedes in other aspects. It has great social features and platform interactivity. And it has a free version, which is better than nothing.