Spotify vs Amazon Music: Which Music Streaming Service Is Better

Amazon Music vs Spotify

The music streaming market is more competitive than ever, with major players like Spotify and Amazon Music battling it out for subscribers. But which service should you choose for your music-listening needs?

In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll examine the key differences between Spotify and Amazon Music across factors like library size, sound quality, platform availability, pricing, and more. Read on to find out which streaming provider offers better value and performance.

Library Size and Song Selection

One of the most important aspects of any music streaming app is its catalog size and breadth of song selection.

Spotify: Spotify currently boasts over 80 million songs in its library, one of the largest collections among on-demand streaming services. You’ll find hit songs across every genre, from the latest pop and hip-hop to classic rock, jazz, country, and more. Spotify also has an extensive selection of podcasts (over 3.6 million) and audiobooks.

Amazon Music: On the other hand, lags behind with around 90 million songs (including podcasts and audiobooks). While Amazon’s library is still sizable, it doesn’t match Spotify in terms of overall depth and variety of songs and content. (Spotify’s greater focus on music gives it the edge here).

Searching for specific tracks and browsing by genre, Spotify generally has a more comprehensive catalog compared to Amazon. You’re less likely to come across missing albums or grayed-out songs on Spotify.

When it comes to music discovery, Spotify shines with its personalized playlists and recommendations based on listening history and liked songs. Features like Discover Weekly and Release Radar help you find new music catered to your tastes. Amazon Music has some compelling playlist curation, but Spotify’s discovery algorithms are still superior.

Verdict: Spotify wins for its vastly bigger library and smarter music discovery. You’ll find more songs and better recommendations on Spotify vs Amazon Music.

Sound Quality

In the audio quality department, Amazon Music edges out Spotify on technical specifications.

Amazon’s streaming reaches up to 3730 kbps for Amazon Music HD subscribers, delivering CD-quality lossless audio. The standard streaming rate is 256 kbps.

By comparison, Spotify streams at 320 kbps for Premium subscribers, which is near CD-quality. (The free tier is limited to 160 kbps streams).

So Amazon Music can deliver better sounding, high-resolution audio, provided you subscribe to their HD or Ultra HD tiers. However, most listeners may not discern a dramatic difference in audio fidelity between the two services’ standard plans.

One advantage Spotify has is support for the Ogg Vorbis codec, which is more efficient than the mp3 format used by Amazon. At comparable bitrates, Ogg Vorbis audio can sound better than MP3s due to better compression.

For device compatibility, both services support streaming to a wide range of platforms, from smart speakers to game consoles. Spotify has the upper hand in the mobile realm, being built into Samsung wearables and supported on the Apple Watch.

In terms of default sound settings, Spotify uses volume normalization for a consistent level across tracks and albums. Amazon Music has no normalization, so you may need to adjust the volume more frequently.

Verdict: Amazon Music offers better maximum audio quality, but most users won’t notice a big difference from Spotify’s near-CD quality streams. Spotify has broader device support and more consistent default audio settings.

Platform and Device Availability

Spotify is king when it comes to platform reach and device compatibility. It’s available across a staggering range of devices:

  • Smartphones & Tablets – iOS, Android, Windows Mobile
  • Computers – Mac, Windows, Linux
  • Gaming Consoles – PlayStation, Xbox
  • Smart Speakers – Amazon Echo, Google Home
  • Smart TVs – Samsung, LG, Sony
  • Wearables – Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, Fitbit
  • Automotive – CarPlay, Android Auto

Plus, you can use Spotify on the web or desktop app without hardware restrictions. By comparison, Amazon Music has slightly more limited device support. You can access it on:

  • iOS and Android mobile devices
  • Fire OS tablets
  • Alexa-enabled smart speakers
  • Some smart TVs and gaming consoles
  • Mac and Windows computers (web player and desktop app)
  • Select wearables

The main limitation is that Amazon Music is tightly integrated with Amazon’s own hardware, such as Fire tablets and Echo speakers. There’s no native app for Windows Mobile or Linux, nor full support across wearables and autos.

Spotify is compatible with 10x more devices compared to Amazon. Unless you’re entrenched in Amazon’s ecosystem, Spotify provides more flexibility for streaming music across devices.

Verdict: Spotify is accessible on far more platforms than Amazon Music, which focuses primarily on its own Fire OS and Alexa devices.

Pricing and Plans

Both Spotify and Amazon Music offer ad-supported free tiers along with premium paid plans unlocking more features. Here’s how the pricing compares:

PlanSpotify PriceAmazon Music Price
Free, ad-supported$0/month$0/month
Individual Plan$9.99/month$9.99/month
Family Plan$15.99/month (6 accounts)$14.99/month (6 accounts)
Student Plan$4.99/monthN/A

For premium features like on-demand listening offline downloads, and high audio quality, you pay the same $9.99 per month for an individual plan on both platforms.

Amazon does slightly undercut Spotify on family plans, offering six-member access for $14.99 compared to $15.99. However, Spotify has exclusive discounts like their Student Plan for eligible users.

When looking at audio quality tiers specifically:

PlanSpotifyAmazon Music
Standard QualityIncluded ($9.99 plan)Included ($9.99 plan)
High/Lossless QualityN/A$14.99/month (Amazon Music HD)

Here Amazon has pricier add-ons for lossless streaming not offered by Spotify. Overall pricing is very similar, with Spotify having unique discounted tiers for students and groups. Both services offer generous free versions.

Verdict: Base pricing is virtually identical across both platforms. Amazon has lossless audio upgrades for a steeper price.

Offline Listening and Downloads

The ability to download songs for offline listening is essential for when you’re without an internet connection.

Both Spotify and Amazon enable saving music offline across mobile and desktop apps. Spotify Premium subscribers can download over 10,000 songs on up to 5 different devices.

Amazon Music likewise permits downloading songs for offline use. There’s no specified limit, and you can have songs saved offline on up to 10 devices.

Spotify arguably makes offline listening easier with prominent download buttons on playlists, albums, and artist pages. Downloading songs on Amazon requires manually tapping the “Make Available Offline” toggle for each track – not as seamless.

As for offline restrictions, Amazon locks downloaded songs to specific devices – so songs saved on your iPhone won’t show up on your PC app. Spotify has no such device restrictions, allowing seamless access to offline music across all logged-in apps.

Verdict: Spotify makes adding songs for offline listening super simple. Amazon Music’s downloading process is more cumbersome with rigid device restrictions.

Social Sharing and Community

Part of what makes Spotify so popular is its social and community elements. You can follow friends and see what they’re listening to in real-time. There are also group playlists and messaging features for sharing music.

Amazon Music doesn’t position itself as a social platform – the focus is more on managing your personal library. Outside of profile customization, there are minimal social features. You can’t follow other users or make collaborative playlists. The experience is more isolated.

Spotify also fosters music discovery through its robust community of playlists, both curated in-house and user-generated. Playlists for every mood, activity, and genre make finding new tunes effortless. Amazon trails here with far fewer publicly shared playlists to browse.

In terms of profiles, Spotify lets you customize yours with top artists and favorite songs pulled dynamically from your listening data. It’s a fun way to express your musical identity. Amazon lacks comparable profile personalization.

Verdict: Spotify has a vastly more social and connected community experience compared to the solitary nature of Amazon Music. Spotify profiles are also more personalized.

Music Discovery

We’ve touched on discovery features already, but to recap – Spotify is superior for music discovery thanks to its playlists, human-curated recommendations, and advanced algorithms.

Playlists like Discover Weekly and Release Radar introduce you to new artists, albums, and songs each week based on your listening history and likes. Daily Mixes offers playlists of songs you regularly listen to by genre or theme.

Spotify is unmatched when it comes to personalized, data-driven music discovery catered to your taste. Amazon Music doesn’t have the same breadth of algorithms and tools for finding new music.

Browsing playlists created by Spotify editors and other users is also far more robust on Spotify. You’ll find popular playlists for every mood, activity, and genre. Amazon trails severely here with fewer public playlists to explore.

Verdict: Spotify’s blend of human curation and advanced AI makes new music discovery a breeze – an area where Amazon Music noticeably lags.

Podcasts and Audiobooks

Besides music, both platforms offer podcasts and audiobooks in their respective catalogs. Once again, Spotify emerges as the winner in terms of selection.

Spotify is now one of the top destinations for podcast listening, with over 3.6 million podcasts. Thanks to acquisitions like The Ringer and Gimlet Media, Spotify is flooded with exclusive, original podcast content alongside your favorite existing shows.

Amazon Music has a comparatively tiny podcast library estimated under one million titles. Unless Amazon acquires a major podcast network, it can’t compete with Spotify’s ever-expanding podcast universe. Audiobook selection faces a similar imbalance, with Spotify boasting over 300,000 titles compared to Amazon’s vague “thousands.”

The podcast listening experience is also more seamless on Spotify, with well-curated recommendations for new shows and episodes based on your subscriptions and listening. Podcast discovery and recommendations are basic on Amazon.

Verdict: Spotify dominates podcast and audiobook selection. You’ll discover tons of new content tailored for you on Spotify – Amazon Music flounders here.

Extra Perks and Benefits

Looking beyond core streaming features, Spotify packs in a handful of extra perks at no added cost:

  • Free Hulu subscription (with ads) included for Premium users
  • Special artist promotions like pre-sale event access
  • Concert ticket discounts
  • Custom playlists and merch giveaways

Amazon Music doesn’t currently offer any comparable bonuses or extras beyond ad-free streaming. Spotify’s extras, like Hulu bundled and concert deals, add excellent value.

Verdict: Spotify’s Premium plan comes with nice freebies like Hulu access and concert promos – Amazon Music lacks any comparable perks or extras.

Advertising and Promotions

Since both platforms offer free, ad-supported tiers of service, it’s important to compare the advertising experience.

Across its Free and Premium plans, Spotify shows no display or banner ads. The only advertising is periodic short audio ads between songs when listening for free. Even then, Spotify limits ads to a minority of listening time – an estimated 1-2 ads per hour.

Amazon Music’s free tier has more frequent advertising in the form of display ads and audio ads interrupting songs. Audio ads play after every 2-3 tracks. The advertising experience overall feels more disruptive compared to Spotify’s light, unobtrusive approach.

Verdict: Spotify’s free tier keeps advertising to a very minimal level. Amazon Music serves up more display ads and audio ads when listening for free.

Final Verdict: Spotify Is the Superior Music Streaming Service

Looking at the critical differences between these two streaming giants, Spotify emerges as the clear winner thanks to:

  • A vastly bigger library with over 80 million songs and 3 million podcasts
  • Superior music discovery through playlists, recommendations, and community
  • More platforms, broader device support, and seamless offline listening
  • Fun, social features like following friends and creating collaborative playlists
  • Generally, less disruptive advertising on the free tier
  • More value-added perks like bundled Hulu access

While Amazon Music holds an advantage for lossless audio quality, most listeners are satisfied with Spotify’s near-CD quality streams. And Amazon’s device and platform support remain far more limited outside their Fire and Alexa ecosystem.

For the best overall user experience, most extensive catalog, personalized discovery, and highest value, Spotify remains the Editors’ choice for on-demand music streaming. However, budget-conscious users may appreciate Amazon’s cheaper family plan pricing.

Both services offer generous free tiers, so sampling each is easy. But for serious music fans, Spotify offers a superior library and listening experience compared to Jeff Bezos’ music venture.

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