Okay, I Finally Did It: Spotify vs. Apple Music, Which is the Best Music Platform for Eastern Music?

Updated: Aug 1

I CAVED. Kind of. And I have thrown myself into the middle of this platform war and no one asked.

Okay, look. I really did this for selfish reasons, right? I wanted to expand my digital library, keep it clean, keep it updated, and find the best and largest eastern music catalogue for my needs. And my needs are a lot. Send help.

For those who are familiar (or who will be, once those videos go live on our YouTube channel), my Spotify playlists are getting a teensy little bit out of hand. My song count is well over the 25,000 mark and Spotify caps playlists at 10,000 songs; can you see where I'm starting to struggle a bit? For the sake of you, the reader, and me, an already insane person, I'm going to do my best to keep this post as organized and detailed as possible.


SPOTIFY: PROS AND CONS

I have been an advocate and a fan of the Spotify platform for many years now. I have a premium family account and I utilize those features on an actual daily basis. For those who don't know what premium has to offer, it includes an AD-FREE LISTENING EXPERIENCE, unlimited skips, and the ability to play any song (assuming it is available in your region, which will be discussed...). With family, my husband and I can also listen to our music, individually, and without the other's listening habits and recommendations messing up our algorithm. Which, for me, is a HUGE thing since my husband and I have very different music tastes.


As I don't entertain politics, the Great Podcast Debacle did not necessarily sway me away from the platform (even if I disagree with what certain hosts had to say), but I do understand that it is a dealbreaker for some, so I will include it in my list below.


PROS
  1. Stats! Spotify gives you stats on your music listening every year with their annual Spotify Wrapped. I think this is really cool, and every year it seems like the stat options get more in depth and more interesting.

  2. A large Eastern Music catalogue! This is hUGE for me, as it was one massive reason for my exploration at all. Spotify does well with small indie artists and large blockbuster ones, and they also provide artists that might be harder, as a western fan, to find from China, Thailand, and other eastern countries.

  3. Family plan options! Apple Music does also offer a family plan, but they jump from 1 listener to 6 whereas Spotify understands their market a bit better and provides a Duo plan, also.

  4. Podcasts built in to one app! SEEEEEEEEEEEE, look. I prefer to listen to my podcasts on Apple Podcasts but I also LOVE the ease of having my podcasts in the same app that I listen to my music on. So have I been listening to more Spotify podcasts and less to Apple Podcasts? Yes. The podcast listings are (almost) the same as Apple (both will have exclusives), but some of my favorites are Spotify exclusive so. Here we are.

  5. Radio stations are more varied and easier to access! I don't listen to radio stations often, I will admit. But if I do, Spotify provides so much variety that is STILL BASED ON MY MUSIC TASTES that I will put one on in the background while I'm cleaning the house or something.

  6. Recommended music and "home" page is more customized to me, as a listener! Like, this is a no-brainer. Again, in my humble opinion, this is just another example of Spotify understanding their audience better. Apple caters to western fans (and they do it really well!) but Spotify caters to music lovers and that makes a difference, to me.

  7. Browsing is more in depth and provides more options! I can honestly get lost browsing and hunting for music in the Spotify woods. Browsing music on Apple Music is like walking through a super sparse, tiny field of trees. Like a Christmas Tree farm after Christmas. Browsing Spotify is like walking through a lush rainforest. I love it.

  8. Follow the artists you love and receive updates on when they post new tracks! I love the ability to CHOOSE which artists I care about or don't. I love that the updates will include their newest releases when they drop and it's all focused together in one easy little notification bell. For someone like me who follows literally almost 1,000 artists, keeping up with who released what when is an anxiety-inducing task but Spotify helps keep it together and keeps me from losing what's left of my mind.

  9. Can use this platform, at a limited capacity, for free! Free accounts include ads but if you're okay with that, you can get an account and start collecting music for free!

  10. Spotify Exclusives! I'm sure Apple Music also has this, but I can't tell you how often I noticed that Spotify provides an extra bonus track on an album or even does Spotify-specific collabs (lookin' at you, Sunmi).

CONS
  1. Listings are not always accurate for the artist you search! I can't speak on the Western Music front here, since that's not what my focus is, but I do know there were plenty of moments going in where I would search for an artist, find their artist page, and would see random music that they definitely did not make or contribute to.

  2. PLAYLIST CAPS! LET ME LIVEEEEEEEEEE.

  3. Playlists and music can get messy and out of hand QUICKLY! Unlike Apple Music, there is not a central library that connects everything so, if you want to remove a song, you need to find it in every playlist and manually remove it. A bit of a struggle and a chore when you have tons of playlists and music to sort through.

  4. Spotify and Eastern Music is like the modern music experience of Game of Thrones: don't love something too much or else it'll go away forever! We all remember the Great Spotify Purge that sent people panicking and fleeing to other music platforms and desperate to recreate their playlists elsewhere. Now, since then, I will say that the music that has come back to the platform has been better than ever, BUT THE REMOVAL OF SONGS, ALBUMS, AND ARTISTS JUST OUT OF THE BLUE HAS NOT ENDED. Remember that this will be because of licensing, contracts, and other fun and interesting paperwork that goes on behind the scenes between Spotify, the companies, and artists.

  5. The Great Podcast Debacle! If ya know, ya know, and if it matters to you, you've probably already made a decision.

  6. You MUST use the three dots (on mobile, at least)! I... just hate that I can't long press on a song and access its functions that way. I HATE THE LIL DOTS.


APPLE MUSIC: PROS AND CONS

I need to start this by saying I am not anti-Apple Music and I went into this with a completely open mind and open heart. In fact, I was excited to possibly find another solution to Spotify, especially with an equal or larger music catalogue. I am greedy for more music to add to my library!


PROS
  1. Coming Soon section! I like seeing what albums are coming up! I just wish it included.. eastern music..

  2. Donation section!

  3. Apple Music pays artists slightly more for their contributions! This is a HUGE plus! HUGE, HUGE, HUGE!

  4. Extensive genre list! Spotify does also have a nice genre list, but I will say I noticed genres in Apple Music that I didn't notice in Spotify.

  5. The Apple Music desktop app is very much reminiscent of classic iTunes and it makes me happy and nostalgic!

  6. Removing songs from your playlists and library is a one-stop shop! I could cry at how perfect this feature is. Also, not adding songs to your library but adding to a playlist? Beautiful.

  7. The desktop app song view is an actual life saver! AS A BITCH WHO LOVES SPREADSHEETS, I AM BEYOND SATISFIED. The view is clean, helpful, concise, and fully custom to how you, as a listener, need to search or sort your music. I live.

  8. Monthly fee to use the service is less than Spotify premium (if you're an iPhone owner)! But there is no free option, unlike Spotify. And in order to work on other, non-Apple devices, your monthly fee is the same as Spotify Premium (unless you're a student).

  9. Easy to move songs and albums around with long-press!

  10. UNLIMITED SONGS TO ADD TO A PLAYLIST (so far!)!!! I have a playlist of holding music (basically just transferred from Spotify so I can sort appropriately) and that playlist is sitting at 22,453 songs. What an aCTUAL FUCKING BLESSING. The only sadness is the, like, 400+ songs left on the table because they didn't exist in Apple Music.


CONS
  1. Stations are minimal!

  2. A slightly less full Eastern Music catalogue compared to Spotify! It actually hurts me that I have hundreds of songs that have become "Spotify Only" tracks because Apple Music doesn't (CURRENTLY?!) provide them.

  3. Unable to "follow" artists for updates on music! I like the choice Spotify gives you here. Just because I like one song from Bob does not mean I want to know everything Bob releases automatically, but I do like that I can follow Bill and get all of his updates. Because I choose to.

  4. Listings are not always accurate for the artist you search! I can't speak on the Western Music front here, since that's not what my focus is, but I do know there were plenty of moments going in where I would search for an artist, find their artist page, and would see random music that they definitely did not make or contribute to.

  5. Apple Music highlights and recommends music that THE PLATFORM wants to recommend, not what your music tastes would like to see! I know, I KNOW, it does technically provide some recommended music, but it is nowhere NEAR Spotify's recommended music algorithm.

  6. The desktop app is sticky! At least it is at the time of me drafting and publishing this post. Since I often listen to music while I work or while I edit, I like being able to listen through multiple options, not just my phone. For example, I'll have the desktop client open and control it through my Alexa while I edit so I can keep my computer speakers free. But it's sticky. ☹️

  7. The phone app is also sticky! I actually have to use the desktop client in order to add songs to my playlist right now, which is a little frustrating. This is probably just a bug that will be ironed out soon, at least!

  8. GAME OF THRONES MEETS APPLE, TOO?! Honestly, it just shows that licensing and contracts are an ever-revolving battle. According to many Apple Music users, the music is going away like Thanos' snaps all the time now. Hopefully we'll see the return of our music soon!

  9. Can't group playlists into folders like I can with Spotify! I like to keep it clean, I like to make it nice, and I cannot.


SO, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

This is frustrating; I have to say it. For my purposes and my collection, I actually need both platforms to have a complete and enhanced collection and let me tell you why.


I like being able to utilize my entire app and experience with Spotify. I love how it recommends things to me based on my musical tastes and not what the platform dictates is the hottest thing right now in the U.S. Does it have an ad banner at the top of the home page to do the U.S thing? Sure, but it doesn't get in the way and the entire rest of my home page, with the exception of maybe one module, is all based on me. So, really, we both win.


I like being able to control my music on my playlists through my library with Apple Music. I absolutely love, for the ease and cleanliness of it all, being able to remove a song on my library and have it delete on all my playlists. OR, in reverse, add a song to a playlist, but not my library, since I tend to hoard music in a holding playlist until I can get around to listening to it properly. This allows me to curate a library that is 10000000% my own likes (or loves, which is an option you can select if you long press on a track or use the desktop app). AND I LOVE THE UNLIMITED (MAYBE) NUMBER OF SONGS I CAN PUT ON MY PLAYLISTS.


I love that Apple Music pays their artists slightly more per stream, but is it because they can afford to because they have less features to support?


But the bottom like is this: both platforms make up what the other lacks. My main complaint with Spotify was the cap on playlist additions. Beyond that, I wanted to see if there was another large and stable music streaming platform that could hold up with the demand I provide for my Eastern Music, catalogue and library wise. I have found, CONSISTENTLY, in my transferring and moving over of my large playlists from Spotify to Apple Music, that there are hundreds of songs that Apple Music does not support on their platform. Admittedly, that was almost enough to stop me right then and there and declare Spotify to be the overall victor. But when I went back in to Spotify, to check randomly for certain songs, I noticed they suddenly were no longer available to me; some of these were just greyed out, meaning they will likely return some day, but some were just deleted from the platform altogether. These missing songs? I could find them on Apple Music!

In order (now that I know this information since I can't UNKNOW IT???) to function and have a full, well-rounded, and as complete of a collection as I can (despite it being never-ending because music will never stop being released and I will never stop remembering that one song I loved when I was 11 and could suddenly find it on one of these two platforms), I need to use both. I couldn't put that both platforms lacked full discographies for artists as a con because it just didn't feel fair, but that is something to consider, too. Both platforms, especially with newer groups and newer releases, have as much of the full discography as possible. Even for groups with large discographies (like SEVENTEEN), both platforms had all albums, EPs, and even singles and OSTs.


@ Spotify and Apple Music developers, merger when? Give me a streaming platform that is smooshed between the two of you and it will be the best streaming platform around. I would ascend to the happiest and highest of heavens every single time I listened to my music because it would be my dream platform.


AT THE END OF THE DAY

If I wasn't blessed enough to be able to afford both services and I had to choose one? Spotify would get my vote.

The simple reason is this: my complaints with the service are things that can be fixed in an update. For me, what is the hugest impact to my collection, is the fact that Spotify allows me to access more of the type of music that I'm looking for. Apple Music is a great platform (I'm obviously going to continue to use it) and I'm hopeful that their catalogue of eastern music continues to flourish, but as I live and breathe and type up this post, Spotify's catalogue is more vast and accessible for eastern music fans.


WHAT NEXT?

Say you decided to make a switch. Doesn't matter which way! But your biggest reason for not switching platforms has always been "I don't have the time or the energy to move over my playlists".

Oh, bestie, do I understand. But fear not! Soundiiz exists and actually saved my life!


DISCLAIMER: this is not a sponsored post. They have no idea who I am, and likely do not care.


Yes, you have to pay a monthly fee to use their platform to platform transfer service, but it is only $4.99! A small fee compared to other platform transfer services I have seen. Should you continue to keep your membership active with them after the initial platform change, they offer other helpful features for maintaining two streaming platforms like playlist syncing, playlist merging, and they support tons of platforms to switch to and from!



I will conclude my ramblings here, but I hope y'all found this post helpful if you were ever tossing around thoughts like this in your head. More fun posts are coming y'all's way, too, so look forward to those!


Until next time,

✨Ash

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