Why I switched from Apple Music back to Spotify

A year or two ago we dropped our Spotify subscription in favour of Apple Music.

We had just bought our first pair of Apple Watches, and the Spotify app wouldn’t work over cellular. I’m guessing it was Apple’s way of locking out the competition.

The Apple Music app was alright but it wasn’t great. I could find most of what I wanted, but there were a bunch of nagging quality-of-life features that I missed from Spotify.

I missed three things in particular: shared playlists, artist discovery, and personalized recommendations.

People share Spotify playlists all the time. I see them in newsletters and on social. I never saw that with Apple Music playlists. There were playlists I wanted to listen to, but I couldn’t, not without searching for all the tracks on Apple Music.

I like the ability to follow artists, read their bios, and easily dig into their back catalogue. But you can’t follow artists on Apple Music like you can on Spotify. My workaround was adding an album from each artist to my Apple Music library.

I also find that the personalized recommendations are much better on Spotify. I’ve stumbled across a bunch of smaller artists that I never would’ve listened to otherwise. I liked Grooveshark back in the day for the same reason.

There’s a social layer to Spotify that Apple Music lacks.

Remember iTunes Ping? The social features I mentioned above were all baked into iTunes a decade ago, letting users follow artists and share what they were listening to. But it never took off.

It’s a shame Apple didn’t resurrect parts of iTunes Ping for Apple Music, because that social layer is where Spotify really shines.

When I jump onto Spotify I can see what my friends are listening to and what’s trending around the world. I can find playlists created by other users and quickly add my favourite tracks to my own playlists.

Apple Music felt more top-down than that, and much more finite. It was as if only Apple and their approved brand partners were allowed to put playlists in front of you.

I know that’s not true, because I could search for playlists, but browsing always put Apple’s choices front-and-center.

Anyway… I like the social aspect of Spotify, and I missed it in Apple Music. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I got back on Spotify last week.

Also: The Apple Music desktop apps are weak. Especially on Windows.

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