As the world becomes increasingly digital, so does music. You likely own more MP3 files than CDs, tapes, or records these days!
Of course, as CD players phase out of laptops and car stereos, most music-lovers transition to streaming. But what streaming platform should you choose?
Spotify is certainly among the longest-running music streaming services – as it launched in October 2008 – and many people are familiar with it as a platform.
However, Amazon has been selling MP3s for years, and, in 2016, the company entered the ring to compete with Spotify via its Amazon Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited services.
The question remains: which music streaming platform is better?
It’s time for an Amazon Music vs. Spotify competition! Both allow you to listen to music, and both offer a 30-day free trial, so what makes one stand out over the other?
Here we’ve laid out the pros and cons of Amazon Prime Music vs. Spotify, so you can pick the music streaming service that’s best for you!
What is Amazon Music?
Let’s begin this Amazon Music Unlimited vs. Spotify debate with a look at the relative newcomer to the world of music streaming: Amazon!
Amazon provides two streaming services: Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited.
Prime Music offers access to over two million songs and albums, ad-free playlists, and personalized stations to Amazon Prime members.
Amazon Music Unlimited does not require Amazon Prime membership and provides its users with over 50 million songs with on-demand, ad-free music.
Neither of Amazon’s music services requires a mobile app, meaning that they can be accessed through an internet platform alone, saving space on your mobile device.
Amazon Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited are supported in over 30 countries. Unlike radio stations, Amazon’s music streaming is always ad-free, and the 50-million song and album selection of Amazon Music Unlimited is wide enough to fit your unique music tastes!
A major pro of Amazon Music is that it is convenient if you already use Amazon’s other services – which most people do!
An Amazon Prime membership gives you access to Prime Music for free, as well as to a discounted cost per month for Amazon Music Unlimited, as detailed below.
Both services allow you to access hand-curated playlists, designed by music experts at Amazon to appeal to a wide variety of music lovers. You can also create personal playlists and download songs to play while you’re offline.
Amazon Music has an account library limit of 100,000 songs – much larger than other music streaming services! It allows you to play unlimited songs offline on up to 10 devices.
Amazon Music can be accessed via your Amazon Alexa home assistant device, including voice commands for playback.
For example, if you ask Alexa to “Play music for a birthday party,” the device will call up a playlist with the appropriate theme!
Unlike others of its kind, Amazon’s music streaming services do not support playback of videos. Amazon does, however, have an additional service for video streaming, called Amazon Video.
While some music streaming services offer gapless playback, removing the space between songs, Amazon Music does not offer this function.
The maximum audio quality of Amazon Music is lower than that of other services, at 256 kbps. Its playlist size limits also vary between devices, at as small as 500 songs.
Additionally, while Amazon Music Unlimited’s number of available songs and albums is impressive, Prime Music only offers two million songs – far less than competing services.
Amazon Music also has a hard limit on 10 devices that can be registered with your account.
You might find the differences between Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited – and the different price tiers of Amazon Music Unlimited – a bit confusing. Other streaming services are more straightforward with their options.
Prime Music is included in an Amazon Prime membership at no additional cost. Amazon Music Unlimited has a cost that varies depending on your membership status.
If you are not an Amazon Prime Member, then Amazon Music Unlimited costs $9.99 per month. If you are a Prime Member, then the Unlimited service costs either $7.99 per month or $79 per year.
Additionally, if you are a Prime Member who owns an Amazon Echo, Amazon Music Unlimited costs only $3.99 per month – much lower than competing streaming companies.
Amazon Music Unlimited also has a family plan, which supports up to six accounts under a single bill of $14.99 per month – or $149 per year. Prime Music does not have a family plan.
This video shows you how to use the Amazon Music app.
What is Spotify?
Spotify is a well-known, long-time service in the digital music streaming world, providing its users with access to over 35 million songs, as well as to podcasts and videos.
This service was launched in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2008, as a way to combat piracy in the music industry.
Spotify’s founders wanted to create a streaming service that would be more user-friendly than piracy, while still compensating musicians for their work.
This concept caught on quickly, and Spotify is now used across the world by 159 million active users. Here are the pros and cons of this service!
Like Amazon Music, Spotify does not require a mobile app to be played – but its app is available on a wide variety of platforms regardless!
Spotify is supported in 65 countries, and can stream video as well as music. These files are played with a maximum audio quality of 320 kbps, higher than Spotify’s competitors.
This music streaming service supplies its users with both human-curated and algorithmic playlists, including the Discover Weekly playlist. Discover Weekly provides new songs and mixes every Monday, catering to each user’s unique taste.
If you want to create your own playlists, you can; Spotify allows you to put ten thousand songs in a playlist. Spotify also has a gapless playback feature, which – when selected – causes the songs to crossfade into each other, creating a seamless listening experience.
Spotify’s rules are much simpler than Amazon’s. Either you pay for Spotify Premium, or you use the free version instead!
The ad-supported free version lasts longer than the 30-day trial for Premium, with no end date, ever. It also allows you to access all playlists and share music with friends, just like Premium, though it cannot be used offline, as detailed below.
There are also no device limits to online Spotify use. So, while you’re online, you can use your Spotify account on as many different devices as you want or need!
This comes in handy if you want the same music track to play all throughout your house during a party; Spotify will keep the rhythm of every room in sync.
Spotify also has a kind of social media function. When you sign up to Spotify with Facebook, or connect your Facebook account to your already-existing Spotify account, you gain the ability to find and follow your Facebook friends through the music streaming service!
This lets you see what your friends are listening to, and you can also share posts about what you’re listening to on Facebook. Spotify understands that music is meant to be shared!
Spotify may have a free version, but that version has ads, and you know how annoying ads can be. That’s why we moved on from radio to streaming!
Spotify also has a library limit of ten thousand songs, which is less than its competitors.
Additionally, while Spotify has no device limits while online, when offline, it only allows you to use your account on five devices.
Here’s a big plus for Spotify vs. Amazon Music Unlimited: if you sign up by connecting with Facebook or using an email address, you can access its content for free!
The free version is supported by ads, much like a radio station, and can be accessed via your PC, laptop, or mobile phone.
Music on the free plan can be played in shuffle mode and you can skip songs up to six times per hour.
If you want to get rid of the ads, to play or skip whatever song you want, and to access Spotify offline, you can upgrade to Spotify Premium. This costs $9.99 per month.
Another Spotify plan is the Premium for Family option. Here, up to six people living at the same address can access to their own Spotify account, under one bill of $14.99 per month.
Students can also pay at a discounted plan of $4.99 per month.
Here’s some more information on Spotify.
Amazon Music vs Spotify: Smart Home Integration
As you might expect, Amazon Music is compatible with your Amazon Alexa smart home device. However, Spotify can be used with Alexa as well!
Both services are compatible with Android Auto and Chromecast. However, while Spotify is compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Music is not.
While Chromecasting, Spotify puts lyrics of its songs up on-screen. Amazon Music, on the other hand, only allows you to view lyrics in the Amazon Music app.
Amazon Music Unlimited allows you to listen to its songs on any compatible Amazon device, including Fire tablets and Xbox One.
Spotify also has the handy Spotify Connect feature. This enables you to use any one Spotify device or app to control what is currently playing on any other Spotify device or app – no matter its location!
This means that you can use your desktop Spotify app to control Spotify on your Echo or phone, or vice versa. Remember that party from before, with music playing in every room? No matter what room you’re in, you can use the nearest device to change the songs!
Amazon recently launched Alexa Cast, which allows you to stream to a variety of Alexa or Bluetooth devices from within the Music Unlimited app. However, this feature is not as flexible or wide-reaching as Spotify Connect.
Amazon Music vs Spotify: Which is Best?
After considering and comparing all of the details about Amazon Music and Spotify, it’s clear that both are capable music streaming services.
Amazon and Spotify are companies that both understand their consumers’ love of music and desire for unique, varied playlists.
It ultimately comes down to which of these two music streaming services is most accessible and has the widest range of uses. In those categories, Spotify undeniably comes out on top.
Amazon Music is convenient if you are already an Amazon Prime Member, with its already-included Prime Music and discounted rates on Amazon Prime Unlimited.
It also makes logical sense to use Amazon’s music service if you already have an Amazon Alexa device, because this is most compatible with that device.
As a bonus, there is an even more discounted rate on Amazon Prime Unlimited for Amazon Alexa users. If you already subscribe to one company, sticking with that company makes sense.
However, Spotify has one thing that Amazon does not have: a free version. As irritating as ads are, not everyone wants or is able to afford an Amazon Prime membership.
Furthermore, not everyone uses Amazon Alexa as their smart home device when there are so many other devices on the market, such as Chromecast and Google Assistant – the latter of which Amazon Music cannot be played on.
Spotify provides an option for kids without an income or adults with a limited income to still listen to all of their music. If you can or want to, you can pay to get rid of the ads, but you do not have to.
Throughout history, music has been a source of unity in the world, and Spotify also enables people to come together through music.
While Amazon Music has a family plan option for six people, just like Spotify, it lacks the social media functionality that Spotify uses to let people share the songs they’re currently listening to with their friends and family all across the world.
Spotify may not have its own streaming device, but it doesn’t need to. Instead of trying to get you to buy something else, Spotify works with what you, the user, already have and enjoy. This makes it the best streaming service for anyone.
Which service did you decide on based on the Amazon Music vs Spotify debate?