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The ability to save nearly any song to your library for on-demand listening, versus having to wait for it to shuffle on, is a game-changer. Spotify and Amazon Music are great services in this regard and both are well worth considering. Each platform has around 50 million songs available, along with their own set of features and qualities that could make them the perfect choice for certain people.
In fact, because both offer a free trial period to get acquainted, it's worth sampling each to see how they fit into your life and with the devices you and your family use.
Both music platforms will connect to smart speakers , like Echo and Sonos devices, though Spotify is a bit more flexible since it's able to connect natively through Google Home and video game consoles from Sony.
Both services also have apps for iPhones, Android smartphones, computers, and other popular devices so you'll be able to listen in dozens of ways.
Spotify may be the world's most popular streaming music service, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't consider Amazon Music. Both have a lot to offer in the unique features they provide. In fact, Amazon Music appears to be trying hard to differentiate itself in the world of streaming by offering a plan with higher fidelity tracks, along with some nice perks for Amazon Prime members. Spotify, meanwhile, sticks to standard music bitrates and more streamlined subscription offerings, which could make it a more convenient solution for most buyers who are just looking for a casual music listening service.
With all the features and considerations of each music platform compared, let's take a look at how each stacks up against the other in some key areas.
You can play Amazon Music and Spotify through a variety of smart speakers, including Echo devices. Both Spotify and Amazon Music can be used for free, but the free tiers are significantly limited and largely amount to Internet radio on mobile. As is common, both services allow for day trials to test their paid versions. Amazon Music doesn't let you listen to songs on-demand for free whether on mobile or desktop. Spotify does let you listen to any song for free through its desktop app, but the functionality is offset by constant interruptions by ads.
The paid plans and pricing for Spotify are streamlined compared to Amazon. If you have an Amazon Prime membership , you actually already get access to Amazon Prime Music as part of your subscription for no extra cost. Amazon Prime Music offers on-demand access to 2 million songs. Though that's better than the free version, Prime Music doesn't have all of the newest releases or everything you may want to listen to at any given time.
Still, it does contain enough on-demand music to satisfy many Prime members who don't want to pay extra on top of an existing Amazon Prime subscription. For those that do want a larger music selection, there's the Amazon Music Unlimited option. Amazon Music Unlimited is the equivalent of Spotify Premium. There's also an Amazon Music HD tier designed for audiophiles. This plan takes Unlimited access and adds CD-quality streaming with about double the bitrate of the standard offering and Ultra HD for a select portion of the song catalog.
Ultra HD streams at bit and kHz which is about 10 times the standard bitrate. Amazon Music HD's higher bitrates will be noticeable for some people, but to fully take advantage of the increased sound performance you'll need expensive speakers.
Plus, most people have a hard time distinguishing a difference in sound quality beyond typical or Kbps streaming bitrates. Finally, one of the most interesting plans is Amazon Music's single device plan — or its Echo plan. This is great for people who only want to listen to all their music on a single device in their home, rather than on-the-go.
Spotify features an easy to use desktop app. The look and feel of both streaming music services is largely similar. In fact, the designs of most major streaming services have melded together pretty closely. If you've used one before, you'll have no problem adapting to another one. Amazon and Spotify each feature a navigation bar across the bottom of their mobile apps with a home screen, search, and collected library of music.
The free tiers both provide limited options for listening, but in terms of the look and feel of each mobile music app, there's few major differences or reasons to consider one over the other.
While most people use music services through their mobile devices, both Spotify and Amazon Music do offer desktop apps as well. This is where the two experiences differ from each other. Spotify's desktop app is decent and has been refined over more than a decade. The Amazon Music desktop app, on the other hand, is very utilitarian. The interface on a Mac is unintuitive and completely unlike its mobile app counterpart. One example is the difficult to figure out listening queue mechanism.
Amazon Music's web interface is better and simpler to use. In Spotify's case, it's definitely an advantage to have such a solid desktop app. The Amazon Music mobile app offers integrated support for Alexa voice control. On a macro level, Spotify and Amazon Music are closely aligned. For example, the catalog of songs available to listen to hardly varies at all, and any exclusives are mostly negligible. Each service does have its own set of features to set itself apart though. For Amazon Music , its mobile app includes its Alexa voice assistant built-in.
This functionality means that all music controls can be performed via hands-free voice commands. Plus, the version of Alexa accessible through the music app can also perform other skills. For example, you can ask Alexa to turn on and off the lights the same as you would through an Echo. The app's other main feature includes what Amazon has branded X-Ray lyrics — just like its X-Ray feature for video content.
This is a neat and genuinely helpful feature. The lyrics scroll by as the song plays for a karaoke-like experience. Like Apple Music's lyric feature you can also click on any words to automatically skip to that section. The 3D music is described as adding space, clarity, and depth to the audio content.
At this point, however, since the feature is limited to a small collection of songs and a specific speaker, 3D music won't really be a deciding factor for most people choosing between Amazon Music and Spotify. Though Amazon Music's various features are appealing, Spotify still has a clear edge when it comes to its great music algorithms, which the service puts to use in the form of personal playlists.
Discover Weekly and other automatic and personal playlists definitely set the music service apart from others. If you don't know what to listen to, you don't have to suffer through generic radio. Spotify also features integrations with Google Maps and Waze, as well as a dedicated car interface with big buttons to keep your music listening safe on the road.
The service has become a social network over the years and allows you to follow friends and easily share music back and forth. This works well because it's the world's largest music platform and has the most listeners who will gladly click on a link you share. A few years ago, the question of whether you should use Spotify versus Amazon Music was an easy choice. Now in early , that choice isn't as clear cut. The good news is that both services offer compelling features at reasonable prices. Ultimately, Spotify will be the best choice for most people.
While Amazon Music has a wider assortment of pricing options which may fit a specific need more than Spotify, those who just want convenient music streaming will likely be more than satisfied with Spotify's streamlined offerings. Amazon Music is an appealing option for people who are already Prime members, but Spotify is a better fit if you're not interested in paying for other Amazon perks.
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