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College Applications: Spotify VS. Apple Music

Photo+by+Ethan+McElvaney.
Photo by Ethan McElvaney.

Photo by Ethan McElvaney.

Photo by Ethan McElvaney.

Ethan McElvaney

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I’m sure we all constantly listen to music while we’re studying. However, the cost of the latest albums can really add up over time if you are on a college budget. This is where choosing the right music streaming service can be very helpful, putting millions of songs right into your hands for only a meager monthly fee.

As a college Junior, I have experimented with both Spotify and Apple Music over the years to see which ones are really worth the student discount.

First, let’s get cost out of the way: both apps have a student discount that makes their ad-free services cost $5 a month. Considering that you’re paying $60 a year to listen to many albums that might collectively soar above that amount, it’s an incredible deal. At the same time, if you are really tight on cash and $5 a month is too much of a loss, Spotify has a free-tier subscription that is supported by frequent ads. If that is the case, then YouTube is no different and the advertising on that platform is not nearly as constant or intrusive. At the same time, Apple Music has an amazingly long 3-month free trial period, so that might give you more time to save up for the monthly fee.

Both apps are incredibly easy to use, yet as an iPhone user, I have to give the extra edge to Apple Music. Unlike Spotify, Apple Music seamlessly integrates the music you’ve downloaded from their streaming service with the music you’ve bought off iTunes, transferred from a CD, or added to your library after downloading it from another site.

I frequent the music site Bandcamp a lot when I purchase music, so I like the fact that I can take the music files I bought from that store and then add it to my library so everything is in the same place. Spotify also has an option to add the music that is already on your phone or your computer, but from my experience this feature has never worked at all.

In terms of the library of music available, Apple Music also beats Spotify pretty squarely. According to Apple Music, they have over 40 million songs, whereas Spotify has a little over 30 million. Either way, these numbers shouldn’t be your deciding factor, as it is more important that the service you choose has the music you want.

Where Spotify really has the upper hand is its recent bundling of Hulu with student subscriptions. This means that for the same price of getting only music on Apple Music, you get music and one of the internet’s most diverse video streaming services. For anyone who wants to have television and music for one low price, Spotify’s a winner.

Apple Music does have a “TV & Movies” section, but it only consists of a few documentaries on music and a small amount of shows that are either unpopular or shows from YouTube, so Apple Music’s video streaming options are rather terrible and uninteresting as a result.  

With me, I’m not much of a TV person and when I do want to watch something, I already have a trial of Amazon Prime Student, so this won’t persuade me to go back unless I decide I hate having “free” shipping. Additionally, the main catch is that Hulu only provides the “Limited Commercials” plan with no route for upgrading to their ad-free version while paying for the bundle package.

In conclusion, whichever service you choose depends on which platform you use and what you want out of your streaming service. If you own an iPhone or have a lot of musical files from your CDs or the internet, I would highly recommend saving up for Apple Music. It keeps everything in the same place, making it easier to access your entire music collection while discovering new artists. If you don’t own an iPhone, don’t have much cash, or want a video streaming service as well, Spotify is the way to go. If anything, the value for the same amount of cash is greater with the Spotify and Hulu package than with Apple music, so it all comes down to personal desires. 

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The student news site of William Peace University
College Applications: Spotify VS. Apple Music