Apple Music vs Spotify vs Tidal

Chris Roper


Don’t know which music streaming service to pick? You’re not alone. With Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal competing for your hard-earned cash, it can be tough deciding which one is right for you.

Should you go for the most extensive music catalog? Best audio quality? Or do you take a more moral stance and choose the one that pays the most to the artists?

Apple Music vs Spotify vs Tidal

To take the pain out of deciding, we’ve reviewed and compared all three for you below.

Which music streaming service should you choose?

1. Apple Music

Apple Music has garnered a large fan base since its launch in 2015. Its free trial is the longest on this list, though this did cause controversy when artists discovered they wouldn’t be paid for streams made during the free period (Apple did agree to pay in the end).

Apple Music Download Now

Apple Music also came under fire for exclusive artist deals but reneged under pressure from major record labels. Nevertheless, the service continues to grow in popularity given its low price and massive catalog, and as it’s Apple, you know they have the resources and talent to add more improvements as time goes on.

Catalog: 45 million songs

Users: 36 million (Feb 2018)

Audio quality: 256 kbps

Offline listening: Yes

Curated playlists: Yes

Social integration: Yes

Price: $5.99 per month

Free trial: 3 months

Suitable for: people on a budget, Apple fans

Not suitable for: audiophiles / those who want the best sound

2. Spotify

Spotify is both the oldest and most popular streaming service on this list. It’s also the only service to offer a free subscription that lets you stream music subject to ads (without offline listening), which has helped discourage music piracy.

Spotify Download Now

Despite this, artists have criticized Spotify for its unfair compensation. Artists are paid on market share, meaning you have to listen to their songs hundreds of times before the artist receives a sum equivalent to that of an album bought outright. While this isn’t an issue for the likes of Rihanna, less famous artists might suffer.

Catalog: 30 million songs

Users: 70 million (Jan 2018)

Audio quality: 320 kbps

Offline listening: Yes

Curated playlists: Yes – Discover Weekly, Release Radar, and Daily Mix

Social integration: Yes

Price: $9.99 per month

Free trial: 30 days

Suitable for: those wanting an easy interface with good audio quality

Not suitable for: people who want to support their artists

3. Tidal

While Tidal’s expensive monthly fee will put off some (especially as you never own the music), its dedication to sound quality and artist support might sway others. Tidal began in 2014 with a cheesy promo featuring big names like Madonna and Jay Z spouting sensational nonsense for the cameras. As it claims to be the only artist-owned streaming service, the royalties paid are the highest on this list – but so is the cost to you.

Tidal Download Now

Catalog: 48.5 million songs

Users: 3 million

Audio quality: Lossless (1411kbps)

Offline listening: Yes

Curated playlists: Yes

Social integration: Yes

Price: $19.99 (for lossless)

Free trial: 30 days

That concludes our review – I hope the comparison has helped you decide which streaming service fits your needs. If you’re still unsure, try all of them for free and then cancel the two you don’t like. You’ve got nothing to lose.

You may also like