Amazon Music vs Apple Music: Which Music Streaming Platform Is Better?

Amazon music vs Apple music

Music streaming has become one of the most popular ways people listen to music nowadays. The convenience of being able to access millions of songs, playlists, stations, and more right from your phone or computer is hard to beat. Two of the biggest names in music streaming are Amazon Music and Apple Music. With the Amazon music vs Apple music competition heating up, it’s worth comparing these two major platforms. But which one of these platforms is better for listening to your favorite tunes? We’ll compare the key features of Amazon Music and Apple Music to help you decide which is the best option for you.

Music Catalog

One of the most important factors when choosing a streaming service is the size of its music catalog. Both Amazon Music and Apple Music boast catalogs of over 70 million songs, which is very impressive. However, there are some differences in the specifics:

  • Apple Music claims over 75 million songs, while Amazon Music has “tens of millions.” So, Apple Music may have a slight edge in terms of total catalog size.
  • Apple Music tends to get new releases first, often within hours of an album dropping. Amazon Music can sometimes take a few days longer before new music appears.
  • Amazon Music has a larger selection of obscure, older, and regional music that may not be available on Apple Music. Their catalog goes deeper into the long tail.
  • Both services now offer lossless and spatial audio options for premium sound quality. Apple Music has more songs in lossless quality, but Amazon Music HD’s catalog is growing.

So, in terms of pure catalog size and depth, Apple Music may be superior, especially for mainstream popular music. But Amazon Music stands out for its breadth of selection beyond just the hits.

Winner: Tie

Platform Availability

In order to listen, you need to be able to access the streaming service on your devices. Here’s how Amazon Music and Apple Music compare in terms of platform availability:

  • Amazon Music is available as an app on Android, iOS, Fire OS, Windows, Mac, and as a web player. There are also apps for smart TVs and Fire TV.
  • Apple Music is available on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac and has a web player. But it lacks native apps for popular platforms like Fire TV and smart TVs.
  • Amazon Music can be accessed on Echo, Fire TV, and other Alexa devices simply using your voice. Apple Music does not have integration with Alexa.
  • Apple Music on Apple Watch allows offline listening and streaming without your iPhone nearby. Amazon Music does not have a standalone app for Apple Watch.

So Amazon Music works across more platforms, especially smart home devices. But Apple Music is better optimized for the Apple ecosystem, as you’d expect. Both cover the basics like mobile, computer, and web access.

Winner: Amazon Music

Mobile and Desktop Apps

Both streaming services have mobile apps for iOS and Android, plus desktop apps for Windows and Mac. How do their apps compare for ease of use and features?

  • Amazon Music has a slick, clean interface that makes browsing and playing music very intuitive. Playlists and stations are easy to access.
  • Apple Music has a busier interface but packs in even more options for playlists, lyrics, music videos, and artist radio stations. The library management is also more robust.
  • For downloads, Amazon Music allows you to download up to 100,000 songs for offline listening. Apple Music permits offline listening for an unlimited number of songs.
  • Amazon Music’s queue feature outshines Apple Music’s with the ability to save and edit queues as playlists.
  • Apple Music gives you full access to your music library – both owned and streamed songs. Amazon Music separates purchased music into a distinct tab.
  • Social features like sharing playlists are better in Apple Music. Amazon Music has very limited social components.

For mobile apps, Apple Music may appeal more to power users thanks to its feature-packed, if busier, interface. Amazon Music offers a simpler experience optimized for accessing music on the go. Both desktop apps give you full access to the streaming libraries with similar layouts as the mobile counterparts.

Winner: Tie

Sound Quality

With music streaming, sound quality makes a big difference in terms of enjoying the listening experience. Here’s how the audio quality compares between the two services:

  • Amazon Music HD provides high-definition streaming with over 70 million songs in lossless HD quality, plus millions of songs in Ultra HD, which is better than CD quality.
  • Apple Music offers lossless audio up to 24-bit/192 kHz quality on compatible devices. Over 75 million tracks are available in lossless.
  • Apple Music also provides spatial audio with Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio support on compatible devices. Amazon Music does not offer spatial audio yet.
  • On mobile, Amazon Music streams up to 850 kbps, while Apple Music goes up to 256 kbps AAC. So, on mobile, Amazon Music edges out Apple Music for sound quality.
  • Both services sound fantastic when listening on a high-end stereo system or with premium headphones. You’d be hard-pressed to hear a meaningful difference between lossless tracks.

Thanks to Amazon Music HD with expansive lossless audio selections, audiophiles may favor Amazon for the superior streaming sound quality. However, Apple Music tops Amazon with support for immersive spatial audio. For most listeners, though, both deliver excellent audio fidelity.

Winner: Tie

Radio Stations

In addition to on-demand music listening, streaming services offer radio stations for more leanback listening. Here’s how Amazon Music and Apple Music radio options stack up:

  • Amazon Music has genre stations, personalized stations based on your taste, and artist-focused stations. The automated recommendations are quite good. But you can’t skip tracks or view upcoming songs.
  • Apple Music not only offers genre and customized stations but also has regularly updated human-curated stations from music experts. The station options feel more dynamic compared to Amazon.
  • Apple Music’s Beats 1 live radio station sets it apart with live DJs, interviews, new music premieres, and recommended tracks. It makes Apple Music radio feel alive.
  • For personality-driven radio, Apple Music is the clear winner thanks to human curation and live radio. Amazon’s stations offer more limited control but still work well.

Winner: Apple Music

Discovering New Music

Both Apple Music and Amazon Music aim to help you discover new artists, albums, and tracks tailored to your tastes. How do their discovery features measure up?

  • Amazon Music personalizes its home page with “My Music” sections like playlists and stations based on your listening. The recommendations are on point.
  • Apple Music also customizes suggestions on its “Listen Now” section, mixing human recommendations and algorithmic picks. The editorial content goes deeper.
  • Amazon Music has a simple New Releases section to browse the latest music but little editorial guidance.
  • Apple Music’s browse tab has expert recommendations for new music, emerging artists, music by genre, and more. Apple puts greater emphasis on music discovery.
  • When it comes to recommending music you’ll love, Apple Music has an edge over Amazon thanks to its renowned music editors and deeper human touch.

Winner: Apple Music

Pricing and Plans

Lastly, let’s compare the pricing and plans offered by each streaming service.

Amazon Music Pricing:

  • Prime Music: Free with Amazon Prime membership. 2 million songs ad-free.
  • Amazon Music Unlimited: $7.99/month for Prime members, $9.99/month for non-members. 50+ million songs in HD.
  • Amazon Music HD: $9.99/month for Prime members, $12.99/month for non-members. 70+ million songs in Ultra HD. Add $5/month for family plan access.

Apple Music Pricing:

  • Voice Plan: $4.99/month. Access via Siri only.
  • Individual Plan: $9.99/month. Over 75+ million songs, spatial audio, and lyrics.
  • Family Plan: $14.99/month for up to 6 people. Family sharing options.
  • Student Plan: $4.99/month with student verification.

For budget-focused shoppers, especially Prime members, Amazon Music Unlimited offers better bang for your buck. You can get 50 million songs for just $7.99/month.

Apple Music costs $2/month more at $9.99/month but unlocks spatial audio and has a slightly more extensive catalog. If you want lossless quality on Amazon Music, you’d need to upgrade to the HD plan starting at $9.99/month, too.

Overall, the pricing is very competitive. Amazon caters well to Prime members, while Apple Music offers nice discounted plans for students and families.

Winner: Tie

The Verdict: Apple Music Edges Out Amazon Music

When looking at the big picture, while both are excellent streaming services, Apple Music just barely edges out Amazon Music as the superior option for a few key reasons:

  • Larger music catalog size with faster access to new releases
  • More ways to discover new music through human curation
  • The Beats 1 live radio station provides a lively listening experience
  • Spatial audio support adds immersive sound quality
  • Slightly better social, library management, and playlist features

However, Amazon Music remains a very solid choice, especially for Prime members or Alexa device owners, thanks to its seamless integration. The pricing is competitive, the sound quality is great, especially with Amazon Music HD, and the mobile app is super simple to use for music on the go. Either service will provide you with a fantastic music listening experience with access to tons of tunes, old and new. The choice comes down more to ecosystem lock-in and preference for specific features like spatial audio.

Try out both Apple Music and Amazon Music with their free trials to see which you like better before committing. For most folks, it’s hard to go wrong with either service.

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