Spotify's silent launch in India last week sent out waves around the music industry, and the streaming app has already added more than 1 million users in the country.
It's a remarkable number, but there's no denying that the service already has stiff competition from the existing streaming platforms, especially Apple Music.
As an Apple Music user myself, I was really excited about Spotify's India launch and I instantly pulled the trigger on Spotify. Having used Spotify as my primary music streaming app this past week, I have a few observations.
So, just how good is Spotify when compared with Apple Music, one of its biggest competitors in the country? Here's a quick look at the points that matter:Pricing
Pricing is honestly one of the first and most important factors while picking any service in general. In this case, I would say Spotify has an upper hand, mainly because of the varied subscription packages.
Unlike other music streaming services, Spotify gives its users an option to opt for either the daily, weekly, half-yearly or yearly packages, in addition to the monthly subscription. Essentially, you can avail all the premium Spotify subscription for as low as Rs. 13/ day to see if you like the service and all the features that it offers.
Apple Music, on the other hand, offers only one option, i.e. Rs. 120/ month. You'll effectively be shelling out Rs. 360 for three months, Rs.600 for six months and so on. So, Spotify is the clear winner here. You can just sign up for a single day and check out the app and all its features which we'll be discussing below.Music Selection & Beyond
As soon as you start using Spotify in India, it won't be too long until you realize that a lot of your favourite music isn't there. Yes, it's really a bummer. It's like the Netflix debacle all over again, when a lot of binge-worthy shows like 'House of Cards' wasn't available at launch in India. Of course, things will get better over time (hopefully), but if you love your Iron Maiden or Led Zeppelin playlist, then Apple Music is a no brainer.
The native-language song selection, on the other hand, isn't bad on either service. Both Apple Music and Spotify will ask you for your preference in music to suggest similar kinds of tracks, artists, and more. If you are into local Indian music, however, I think you'd be better off using services like Gaana.com and JioSaavn. They have partnerships with better record companies under their belt and therefore you'll get to enjoy more comprehensive libraries. Again, Spotify may end up signing better labels, but for now, it is safe to say that they're barely scratching the surface with T-series.
Both platforms also suggest curated playlist, but I found myself spending more time on Spotify's curated playlist than Apple Music. Apple has its own way of doing things, and the curated lists are based on the genres you select, as opposed to the songs you listen the most as Spotify does.
It comes down to personal preference, but I found Spotify's 'Your Daily Mix 1' or 'Your Daily Mix 2' etc. to be more appealing than Apple Music's 'Friends Mix', and 'Chill Mix' playlists.
Lastly, it is worth pointing out that Apple Music gives you a lot of options like podcasts, music videos, short films, etc., whereas Spotify only gives the option of listening to podcasts apart from songs.Music Sharing & Platform support
Both platforms let you follow your friends and family members using the service. You can share, say, a playlist or keep a track of what others are listening to. The sharing features, however, are much better on Spotify. Besides connecting to your friends, you can also share your tracks via mediums like Instagram Stories, which is where most people are spending their time these days anyway.
Coming to platforms, both Spotify and Apple Music are available on Android, iOS, Windows and macOS. But if I was to switch back to Apple Music again, I'll definitely be missing the web player. It's effortless to pull up a web browser and switch over seamlessly from your phone, tablet, etc. Just a convenience that I am not ready to give up anytime soon.Final Thoughts
Both streaming services in their current state have caveats of their own. While Spotify has better algorithms in place giving it an upper hand on the music discovery over the others, Apple Music has a strong music selection and has its own ecosystem with deep Siri integration.
I personally won't be switching to Apple Music again, because I am not particularly bothered by lack of artists. I am also quite optimistic about Spotify's growth in India. If it's not a major a concern for you too, then I highly recommend checking out Spotify's premium subscribing at least for a day.