This post is me trying to organize my thoughts with having used both platforms as my main music app. Until now I can’t really say which is the definite winner, but I’ll be listing down the pros and cons of each as per my first-hand experience with them. Let’s gooo!
Disclaimer: I only started using Spotify when my mama got the Premium plan for our family. Because of this, I don’t know how the regular unpaid Spotify works. I’ve heard that there are limited skips and of course, the ads. But my Spotify time was 99.9% spent in the premium mode.
Before that time, I just downloaded entire songs illegally and stored them in my phone’s storage. I just dumped them all into one folder and used ShareIt’s built-in music player to listen. Those were truly the dark days. Streaming wasn’t even on the list of options for me.
As for YouTube Music, I only downloaded the app to try the free 1 month that they offered. When the trial was over, I switched back to Spotify. But then my brother suggested to get the YouTube Premium Family Plan, and that’s what we’ve been using until now.
Since YouTube Music is our sole music-streaming app right now, let’s start with it’s experience versus Spotify.
YouTube Music Premium
+ It has a bigger audio library than Spotify. I don’t know the exact parameters, but YouTube Music sifts through the entire YouTube library when you search for a song. Spotify only has songs that the music companies license to it.
+ Because of this variety in content, you can seamlessly integrate fan-made songs with official ones released by your favorite artists. Do you like a particular mash-up that someone made of a song? Good luck finding that on Spotify! But in YouTube Music, you can just add it to your playlist as easily as any other song. I think this is YouTube Music’s most important feature. But do take note that not all videos can be treated as songs so there are still some improvements to be made.
+ This comes down to personal taste, but I prefer YouTube Music’s song recommendation algorithm more than Spotify’s. I think this is because google leverages all the information it has on you from YouTube and also uses that to predict what kind of songs you would like to listen to as well. This is understandable because google has way more data on your listening (and video viewing) habits than Spotify ever will. This leads to a lot of on-point recommendations and sometimes I discover some new banger songs and artists this way.
+ YouTube Music Premium already comes with a YouTube Premium subscription so you will never get ads in both apps ever again. This is very good because I will never hear Mimiyuhh’s unsolicited voice ever again. Explaining all the benefits of YouTube premium will take a long time, but it’s just a much better experience overall. Having two Premium apps in one subscription was just too good to pass up.
– For me, YouTube Music has only one main downside. But I can see why it could make or break the experience for other people. The app is just so lackluster. It just feels like an afterthought and you can really tell that whoever made it was absolutely lacking in any desire to make a good app. It’s not bad, it’s just unbelievably uninspired. I personally dislike the user interface and the now playing screen. It has some things that bugged me when I switched from Spotify.
– No sleep timer. What the fuck. This is a basic feature any music app should have. I listen to music before sleeping and I wake up in the morning with music still blaring in my ears and my device at a critical battery percentage. Yeah you can download third-party apps to turn off the music after a certain amount of time, or you can override the music playback with iOS’s clock app. But holy shit, this should already be included.
– You can’t share the song you’re listening to on your IG stories. Another basic thing that a company like google should’ve given a bit of time tweaking. *sigh* If they only wanted an app that was actually good and not just the bare minimum.
with that done, let’s take a look at the other choice.
+ User experience with the Spotify app is top notch. It’s just the technically better app. It’s more streamlined, intuitive, and feature packed. Spotify Wrapped, which logs all your listening habits throughout the year and presents it in a creative way is one of the things I’ll miss the most. Spotify is just the better app, technically.
+ If you’re a podcast guy, then Spotify is much better since YouTube Music doesn’t really have the option to play podcasts. You just have to pray that your favorite podcaster has it on the actual YouTube video app and play it from there. Spotify also has the “discover new” and “recommended” sections for this category. Based on my experience, podcasters also prefer to put their content on Spotify over YouTube.
+ Spotify has so much more offerings in terms of pre-made playlists than YouTube music. While I did say that music recommendation is better for YouTube music, I did like how Spotify has so many choices. It creates so many mixes based on your listening preferences that even if I didn’t listen to them all, I admired the effort. While YouTube Music knows your preference and recommends some similar songs, Spotify seems to know more on how the music industry really works and recommends really good playlists for every genre available.
+ When it comes to social features, Spotify is the winner by a massive margin. Because it is THE music app, it can integrate to discord, facebook, and other apps seamlessly. For some reason, Google still hasn’t figured out how to make this work for YouTube music. In Spotify, you can follow friends and check out what they’re listening to. If you’re interested to hear it, you can play it for yourself with just a tap. Not possible in YouTube music.
– Not really a big deal, but there was a time when a huge part of Spotify’s K-pop library was snapped out of existence. This was because of a dispute between Spotify and Kakao Music. So for about a week and a half, my favorite genre to listen to was gone. Good thing they eventually came to an agreement and everything was returned to its proper state. This is an isolated incident, but it could happen to any of the songs you like. Music corporations could get into licensing issues and your music would be gone just like that. I don’t think this would really happen in YouTube music because of its monopoly in the video-streaming business.
So there you have it, my pros and cons for each platform. To be honest, there really isn’t a clear winner here, and if you’re just looking for a place to listen to music, then both choices are feasible.
Let’s go to the most important part: the pricing.
Both apps have the same price for single-person use, Php129/month. For Php159/month, you can get the YouTube premium experience with no ads on the video app as well as downloading videos for offline play, and off-app playback.
But you can save even more if you have 5 friends because both apps have a family plan. Now this is where the prices are different. For Spotify, a premium family plan is Php194/month for 6 members. YouTube Music Premium is Php199/month for also 6 members, and the YouTube Premium is Php239/month (what my household is currently subscribed to).
So for a person who is solely intent on listening to music and has some friends who want to join in as well, the Spotify Premium Family plan is the best bang for their buck.
But if you’re like me who spends more than 2/3s of their day on YouTube watching K-pop videos in addition to listening to songs, that YouTube Premium family plan is the way to go. For just a little bit more, you never have to experience watching an ad ever again, and you also get access to the entire music library of YouTube.
This is just my take on the music app rivalry. If ever Google decides to fix the stupid downsides of their app, I’m sure they can get even more users. How about you, what’s your music app of choice? Do you listen on another app aside from these two? Let me know in the comments.
Stay safe and listen well!