The music streaming war is at its peak. Every company wants a pie of this growing market trend. So far, Spotify is leading the race with the absolute majority. Biggies like Amazon, Apple, and Google with YouTube Music are catching up to the Swedish company’s lead. Of course, even we wondered which one to pick and that lead to this comparison of YouTube Music vs. Spotify for streaming music in our office.
Speaking of Google, their journey has been eventful in music streaming. The search giant first tried their luck with Google Play Music, made it available as default on all Android devices, and yet failed to get meaningful traction among the users.
Afterward, Google ditched Play Music and announced YouTube Music, a brand-new music service with audio and video integration. To counter Spotify, Google is trying to leverage the YouTube platform for deep integration and aims to deliver better value for money combo.
In this post, we are comparing YouTube Music with Spotify. The comparison will cover their UI, discover menu, listening experience, price, features, and more. Let’s get started.
Spotify is available on every platform. The app is accessible on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, web, Apple Watch, and Galaxy Watch. It also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Google has made YouTube Music available on iOS, Android, web, Windows, and macOS (via Progressive Web App).
YouTube Music uses a nice dark theme throughout the interface. You can navigate the major options from the bottom. The Settings menu and search rest at the top. The Library menu is nicely divided into downloads, liked songs, artists, and playlists. I like how the Player UI changes the color based on the music album.
Spotify has the best user interface among all other music streaming apps. It uses a gradient theme across the menus and sections. It almost gives you an effect of ambient lighting.
Unlike YouTube Music, the search menu is at the bottom, which is good for reaching it easily. Spotify also changes the player UI based on album color, but once again, the presentation and overall feel is better than YouTube Music.
Discovering new music is as important as the listening experience. After all, these music streaming services offer millions of songs to the user, and one won’t want to spend much of their time finding new songs.
As for YouTube Music, the service asks for interested languages and artists for a personalized homepage. When you search for a song and start playing it, the app auto-queue similar suggestions for the user.
As expected, YouTube Music offers ready-to-go playlists for a workout, driving, happy mood, etc. My favorite function is Discover Mix, which put together a list of 50 songs and gets updated every Wednesday based on my listening habits and liked songs.
The concept is identical to Apple’s New Music Daily and Spotify’s New Music Friday.
Spotify also asks for languages and favorite artists for better recommendations. You can search for new songs by going into categories such as Rock, Dance, Chill, Jazz, and more.
When you create a playlist, Spotify suggests more songs based on the added tracks. And I have to say, they are usually spot on.
Spotify also creates a ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist that put together a list of new songs based on your listening history and liked songs. It doesn’t stop here. Spotify generates four daily mix playlists, which combines most listened songs as well as new ones.
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As expected, both services offer high-quality 320kbps music streaming. YouTube Music offer stats for nerds option, which displays technical data for a song. You can enable the option by going into settings > playback & restriction > switching on stats for nerds menu.
As for Bluetooth streaming, it worked as expected with my Mi speaker and Funcl AI wireless earbuds. There was no delay or any weird behavior. My only issue was that YouTube Music couldn’t resume a song with a single tap gesture on my earphones' right earbud. It worked perfectly fine with Apple Music and Spotify. I would like to see lyrics support in the future update.
Spotify provides few functions to customize and improve the overall listening experience for the end-user. You can enable gapless playback to eliminate the delay between two songs.
It also comes with a built-in equalizer to make adjustments as per your music listening tastes.
Spotify provides audio normalization to balance out all the songs on a single scale. I usually don’t prefer that.
My favorite addition is behind the lyrics section. It is right under the listening UI and provides lyrics as well as cool trivia about the song.
YouTube Music has added video and lives performance section in the app. While listening to a song, one can quickly switch to video and play the clip from YouTube. I appreciate the integration but hate the behavior where my YouTube Music search history gets synced with the YouTube app.
YouTube Music supports Siri Shortcuts too. It’s available in the Settings menu. I have set it to play my Bollywood playlist when I speak, ‘Hey Siri, play some music.’
Spotify wants to be the hub of all audio streaming needs of a user. Last year, the company heavily invested in podcast products, and now it’s offering a solid podcast experience in the app. Just go to search, scroll down to podcast, and start following channels.
The app also comes with Facebook integration. You can connect it to your social account and follow your friends. Sadly, the service doesn’t offer Siri Shortcuts or iOS Widget support.
Spotify offers three plans. Premium individual costs $10 per month. The Student plan is 50% off at $5 per month, and the Family plan starts at $30 per month, which lets you add five more members. The added functionalities include ad free experience, high music quality, and unlimited downloads. These prices are for the US region and may vary in different countries.
YouTube Music is a part of YouTube Premium, which costs $12 per month. The family plan is set at $18 per month. The plan offers ad-free YouTube experience, unlimited downloads, and background video playback.
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Level-Up Your Music Game
As you can see from the comparison above, both YouTube Music and Spotify have their pros and cons. YouTube Music shines with video integration and Siri Shortcuts. Spotify edges out rivals with more accurate song suggestions, podcast add-on, better UI, and lyrics integration.
Convinced about leaving Spotify for YouTube Music? Read the post below to learn how to move your playlist along with it.