Apple Music is coming on June 30, and I’m excited to give the service its run during a free three-month trial that Apple is going to offer. I haven’t used it yet, so I’m going to save my final word until then, but right now I think I’m just going to stick with Spotify.
I’ve been using Spotify for a couple of years now, which means I already have all of my music stored offline — more than 15GB worth last time I checked — and it’s all organized into playlists. Call me lazy, but I really, really, don’t feel like going through all of that music and reorganizing it again. Apple’s making it easy to switch from Beats Music to its new service, by pulling in all of your existing playlists, but it doesn’t have a tool available for Spotify users yet.
Apple Music is also touting its “human curated” playlists feature as a big win for the service. Except Spotify already offers that. In fact, anyone can create and share a playlist for folks to follow. I already subscribe to lists like “Indie Chill Covers” and “Tranquility with a Beat,” which are curated by some person somewhere in the world and updated frequently. I even get notifications when new tracks are added. Jimmy Iovine might have joked about how competing playlists are all based on algorithms, but it’s simply not true.
Apple didn’t really discuss it much, so it might be a feature that’s coming at some point, but I also love Spotify’ sharing option. I can easily share entire playlists, albums, single songs and more with my friends. And, since Spotify has seemingly become the standard among folks — people often just say “Spotify it” as one might say “Google it” — most of my friends are already using the service, so we’re sending and receiving new music regularly. One friend who works at NVIDIA, Brian Burke, even wrote about our sharing experience in an NVIDIA blog post recently.
One feature that I admit is really attractive is Apple Music’s family plan pricing. Six people can share a plan for $14.99 per month, which is far cheaper than what Spotify charges for that many folks to share a subscription. Spotify has already promised it’s going to answer Apple’s fees, though, and I suspect changes might even launch before Apple Music launches on June 30. Another feature I think will be fun to try is Beats1, the 24/7 streaming radio service, but that’s going to be free for iTunes and iOS users, so I won’t need to subscribe to Apple Music to use it.
As for the social stuff that Apple is touting? Not crazy about it. I follow a lot of my favorite musicians on Instagram already, and I’m not going to stop using that social network. While I understand that behind-the-scenes videos and things like mixtapes will hit the service, the latter is often also published as free downloads online. Also, Apple hasn’t exactly proved it’s great with social media in the past (Apple Ping was a bust), so I’ll need to wait and see just how much content is really there, and how many artists actually use it.
We’ll see. Like I said, I’m excited to try Apple Music on June 30, and it’s possible it will offer enough features to make me ditch Spotify. For now, I’m not planning on leaving what’s already a really amazing service.