Looking for a new place to get your music fix? Spotify and Amazon Music are some of the biggest and best streaming services out there, but are they right for you? Our guide will help you decide.
Monthly subscriptions to music streaming services are quickly becoming the primary way most of us listen to music. They are simple and easy, and each platform offers its own standout features and benefits. We look at the main contenders to help you choose between Spotify and Amazon Music.
There are several tiers of both services depending on your budget, your willingness to listen to ads as well as music, and the amount of features you want. We’ll outline them as well as explain the difference between the two music libraries.
What is the difference between Amazon Music and Spotify?
Spotify has a free entry-level subscription. You won’t pay anything, but you’ll only get six “skips” and an hour and worse streaming quality, plus there are ads on non-premium Spotify. Pay £9.99 a month, though, and you’ll get rid of the ads and access the entire library. There is also a family membership option from £16.99 per month or a 30-day free trial.
Amazon’s music offering has a slightly more complex list of options. First, you’ll get the basic version of their music library included with Amazon Prime, which costs £7.99 a month. If you want the expanded Amazon Prime Music Unlimited library, it will cost £9.99 per month, or £7.99 per month if you already have a standard Amazon Prime membership.
Amazon offers a similar family plan to Spotify at £14.99, and there’s also a £3.99 option that allows users to listen to Amazon Music Unlimited only through an Amazon Echo or Fire TV device.
It’s worth noting that during extended use, we found that Spotify ran smoother and encountered fewer issues. It also offers better suggestions to help you discover new music, which is a huge plus for those curious about adding to their personal favorite libraries.
Spotify Premium vs. Amazon Music Unlimited
Those who want the higher-end plans — Spotify Premium and Amazon Music Unlimited — will get access to the best offerings from those providers.
For example, Amazon Music Unlimited’s library has 90 million songs, instead of the two million in Amazon Music Prime’s core library. Spotify has a similar offering, but slightly smaller, with over 80 million songs on offer. Note that both stores also offer podcasts, so if you’re a pod fan, it’s worth checking if your favorites are available on your chosen platform.
When it comes to music too, some artists are available on one platform and not another.
For Spotify, one of the real bonuses of Premium over non-Premium is the improved streaming quality and lack of ads. Audio quality is increased from 128kbps to 320kbps. That’s a big difference that results in sonic improvement and a more immersive listening experience, especially if you pair the app with some of the best wireless headphones on the market.
However, when it comes to streaming quality, Amazon wins. Music Unlimited offers lossless audio streaming on many of its songs, albums and content. That’s partly because Amazon Music HD — which used to be a separate, more expensive tier of Amazon’s offering — is now included in Amazon Music Unlimited.
Amazon Music vs. Spotify Verdict: Which to Get?
Having noted some of the key differences, Amazon Music Unlimited looks like the choice for those who prioritize streaming quality and those who use Alexa devices.
However, Spotify’s user interface generally works better and, in our opinion, is more accessible. It also does more to help you discover new music—with tempting custom playlists like your own personal Discover Weekly mix.
Ultimately, what you choose will depend on your priorities. In personal use, we found Spotify to be a bit more intuitive and enjoyable, but no doubt audiophiles will be drawn to Amazon by that extra sound quality.
For more on audio, check out our guide to the best budget headphones or head to RadioTimes.com’s tech section for the latest new devices and deals.