Entertainment

Apple Music vs Spotify Music Streaming Subscriptions in Singapore

apple music vs spotify

Sometimes I chance upon 90s memes about how we used “share” songs over MSN messenger and load it into our mp3 players. All I can say is: Thank God for Apple Music and Spotify. Online music streaming has saved us all.

The biggest names in today’s scene are Apple Music and Spotify. Save for Spotify’s free (ad-supported) version, the 2 are as good as perfect substitutes in terms of price and music offerings. If you’re undecided, just choose the one you think looks better.

Download the free trials, fiddle around with it, and then pick the user experience you prefer.

Don’t believe me? I did my research and a price comparison — here’s what I found.

Contents

  1. Overview of Apple Music and Spotify subscription fees
  2. Apple Music and Spotify free trials
  3. Spotify Free vs Premium 
  4. Apple Music vs Spotify Premium 
  5. Other music streaming services 

 

Apple Music vs Spotify

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of their prices:

Apple Music Spotify Premium 
Free trial  Free for 3 months  Free for 3 months  
Free plan Free but with advertisements, and no offline mode (no downloads)  
Student plan $4.98 monthly  $4.99 monthly 
Standard plan $9.98 monthly $9.90 monthly (or $8.90 monthly for 12-month Singtel contract) 
Family plan $$14.98 monthly $14.98 monthly

Told ‘ya so. The prices for Apple Music and Spotify are almost the same, only differing by less than 10 cents, if any at all.

TLDR;

  • Both Apple Music and Spotify have a 3-month free trials for their full versions.
  • Unlike Spotify, Apple Music does not have a free plan.
  • Apple Music’s student plan is $0.01 cheaper than Spotify’s.
  • Spotify Premium is $0.08 cheaper than Apple Music, and if you sign up via Singtel, you can further save up to $1 monthly.
  • Apple Music and Spotify’s family plans are the same price, and both allow up to 6 members per subscription.
  • Apple Music is more compatible with Apple devices, but Spotify works well with just about everything else.

 

Free Apple Music and Spotify options — 3-month free trial and more

Free music streaming options  Monthly subscription fee Things to note
Apple Music free trial  $0  Only valid for 3 months 
Spotify Premium free trial $0  Only valid for 3 months 
Spotify Free $0 Advertisements, no downloads 

If you die-die don’t want to pay, you should first exhaust your free trials from both Apple Music and Spotify, before settling for Spotify Free.

With the free trials, you get to enjoy the full versions of Apple Music and Spotify Premium for 3 months each. If you sign up for them both, that’s half a year of free music streaming.

By then, you would probably already have a good idea of which one you prefer. If you like Apple Music, you have no choice but to pay $9.98 or $14.98 for the Individual or Family plan.

If you don’t mind Spotify, however, you could settle for Spotify Free.

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Spotify Free vs Spotify Premium — advertisements, on- and offline listening

Spotify Free is perhaps the most popular music streaming option in Singapore.

  Spotify free Spotify Premium
Full library of songs, podcasts and audiobooks Yes
Overseas access  Up to 14 days only No restrictions 
On-demand mobile access Selected playlists only Yes
Ad-free No Yes
Offline listening (download songs) No Yes

Most people I know use Spotify Free until they can form a 6-man “family” (for Spotify Family, more on that below). You can access the full music, podcast, and audiobook libraries without paying a single cent.

However, although you don’t pay in dollars and cents, you’ll need to bear with quite a few annoying “costs”.

1. Spotify Free has ads.

Firstly, Spotify Free is supported by advertisers — that’s why it’s free. The advertisement interruptions are not too frequent (15 to 30 minutes), so for most people, it’s bearable.

2. On Spotify Free, you can’t download music for offline listening.

The next big limitation of Spotify Free is that you can’t download your favourite tracks. This means that you’ll always need to be streaming online, which will eat into your monthly mobile data quota unless you have wifi. This matters more for streaming on-the-go, which brings us to the next point…

3. The mobile version of Spotify Free sucks.

You can only get full access to all the Spotify content on the desktop app and Spotify Web. On mobile (and other devices), it’s very much more complicated — you can’t listen to music as and when you like.

Basically, you can’t just search for a song and play it. Instead, it’ll be added to a mix of songs (that Spotify would’ve curated for you). You won’t hear it right away (aka, when you want to), but you’ll eventually shuffle to it.

I tried creating 1-song playlists to work around this limitation, but Spotify kept “helpfully” adding more songs to extend my playlist. So that doesn’t work.

The only way to listen to music on-demand (and on mobile) is to pick a song from a selected playlist that Spotify allows free users to pick-and-play from. There’s no compiled list where you can find these playlists, so you’ll just have to try your luck.

If you like discovering new music and just need some background music playing, then it’s fine. But if you want to play specific songs and loop them, then tough luck.

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Apple Music vs Spotify Premium — same price, same specs

Now, let’s talk about the paid versions of Apple Music and Spotify Premium.

Apple Music Spotify Premium 
Student plan $4.98 monthly  $4.99 monthly 
Standard plan $9.98 monthly $9.90 monthly (or $8.90 monthly for 12-month Singtel contract) 
Family plan $$14.98 monthly $14.98 monthly

Price-wise, Apple Music and Spotify Premium are almost exactly the same. The standard prices are $9.98 (Apple Music) or $9.90 (Spotify) monthly. There are several ways you can get discounts though:

Apple Music vs Spotify student plans — from $4.98 monthly

The cheapest subscription option for Apple Music and Spotify are the student plans, which are $4.98 and $4.99 respectively. Ah, how nice it is to be young.

The catch is that it’s only for university students. I suppose if you’re younger, you’re considered a “dependent” and will fall under the next category: family.

Apple Music vs Spotify Premium family plans — $14.98 monthly ($2.50 per pax)

Apple Music and Spotify’s family plans are identical — it’s $14.98 monthly for up to 6 family members. If you can find 5 other “relatives” to “adopt”, you’ll only need to pay $2.50 monthly per pax.

Singtel Apple Music vs Spotify Premium plans — no data charges for streaming

If you are using Singtel for your mobile plan, you can get save quite a bit on Spotify (and a few bucks on Apple Music).

Singtel subscription fee Things to note
Spotify Premium — contract plan  $1 monthly for the first 2 months, $8.90 monthly thereafter  Cheaper, but you’ll need to sign up for a 12-month contract with Singtel. No data charges for streaming.
Spotify Premium — no contract  $1 for the first month, $9.90 monthly thereafter  Cheaper, but only for the first month. No data charges for streaming.
Apple Music — no contract $9.98 monthly  Same price, but no data charges for streaming 

With Apple Music and Spotify add-ons via Singtel, you don’t have to pay for the data used to stream music. That alone will result in savings, especially if music is the reason you often bust your telco bills.

The savings end there for Apple Music, because Singtel charges the standard monthly subscription fees for the service. For Spotify, however, it’s a different story.

If you are willing to sign up for a 1-year contract plan, you get to pay just $1 per month for 2 months, before enjoying the discounted rate of $8.90 per month. That’s $91 instead of $118.80 per year.

If you prefer not to tie yourself to the telco, you can opt for the no-contract plan. You’ll be charged $1 for the first month, before the pricing reverts to the standard $9.90 one.

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Apple Music vs Spotify — which is better?

The 2 have had quite a dramatic rivalry, but Spotify has mostly been in the lead. Apple Music used to lag behind, until 2014 when Taylor Swift famously signed an exclusive deal with them. Then, in 2017, she went back to Spotify.

In terms of their functionalities now, the 2 are almost indistinguishable: both can be played on iOS, Android, desktop and internet browsers, and both have over 50 million songs, podcasts and audiobooks in their catalogue.

They even stream the same audio quality (256 kbps). The only inferior one is Spotify Free (128 kbps) — but unless you’re an audiophile, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference.

Another noticeable difference is in the user interface and experience: Spotify uses a black background, while Apple Music uses a clean, white theme. Quite trivial if you ask me.

There are a bunch of other minor differences (like Spotify allowing crossfading, and Apple Music letting you search lyrics instead of song titles), but whether they are pros or cons largely depend on your preference.

Which music streaming subscription should you choose?

To be honest, I’m very indifferent to this. If you want a free service, go for Spotify Free. But if you want a recommendation for paid subscriptions, then pick the one whose brand colours you like. (shrugs)

Personally, I use Spotify Premium (even on my Apple devices) for its superior song recommendation algorithm. But if Spotify suddenly died and I had to switch to Apple Music, it wouldn’t cause so much as a blip in my day.

One thing’s for sure though — as with all of the brands’ products, if you plan to stream music with an Apple ecosystem of smart devices, then Apple Music is more compatible. Apple Music is also great if you rely on Siri for voice-activated commands.

That said, as far as non-Apple devices go, Spotify is compatible with most of them (if not all). It’s works with Sony’s Playstation, for instance.

Also, both services let you follow your friends on the platform, so that may affect your decision too. If you want to know what songs your social circle love, then pick the one more friends are on.

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Other music streaming services

Although the most popular, Apple Music and Spotify aren’t the only music streaming services around.

Deezer

Deezer is another comparable music streaming service, but for some reason, it’s not as popular as Apple Music and Spotify. Deezer has a free version like Spotify Free, with similar limitations (ads, online streaming only).

Subscription fees start at $9.90 monthly for individuals, but you can shave a few bucks off if you sign up for an annual plan instead ($99 instead of $118.80). They also have a lossless (higher quality) streaming option starting at $19.99 monthly.

M1 has a tie-up with Deezer, offering the first month at $4.95 (usual price thereafter).

Tidal

Tidal made global headlines for being the only artist-owned streaming service in the world, offering a superior lossless streaming experience ($19.90 for Tidal HiFi). But judging by the mediocre response, I guess people (Singaporeans, at least) don’t really give a hoot about music quality. The lossy quality subscription (Tidal Premium+) is $9.90 monthly — same as the rest.

Amazon Music Unlimited

Sadly, Amazon Music is not available in Singapore. I checked out the prices and tried to pretend I was living in the U.S., but it didn’t work. The subscription fees depend on your country of residence, and you can’t fake it unless you have a registered credit card and address of the said country.

YouTube Music

YouTube has its own music streaming service for official tracks too, but as with Amazon Music, YouTube Music not yet available in Singapore. For now, you’ll just have to make do with YouTube video playlists.

It sounds a bit lame, but it is a viable option for those who don’t want to pay and mostly listen on their laptop or desktops (non-mobile devices).

 

Which is your favourite music streaming service? Tell us in the comments below! 

 

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