I've been an Apple Music user since 2015 when it first debuted, on an account I share with the rest of my family. I'm not necessarily looking to switch music streaming services, although I am jealous of the great end of year recaps Spotify users get.
But with Amazon Music's recent release of its free version and subsequent growth that rivals both Spotify and Apple Music, we wanted to see how they compare.
Amazon is a relative newcomer and doesn't have the userbase of other services. As of January 22, Amazon Music has 55 million users across its five tiers of service, The Verge reported. For comparison, Spotify most recently reported 113 million paying customers, 248 million overall, and Apple Music has 60 million on its only tier, which is paid.
Here are how Amazon and Spotify's free, ad-supported services compare.
I already knew going in that Spotify would do well with playlists.
Spotify was far more pleasing to look at.
Using Spotify is as easy as it looks, and the search function works well.
Search on Spotify is simple, and brings up the results I wanted easily...
But it still had a pretty big flaw. With Spotify's free version, you can only play playlists, not individual songs on mobile. You can make custom playlists to get around this problem somewhat, but it's an annoying extra step.
The closest you can get to playing the specific song you want is making a playlist, which you must listen to shuffled, unless you want to pay up and upgrade to premium.
You also only get a limited number of skips on Spotify, again limiting your ability to listen to the song you really want to hear.
I found Amazon Music uglier than Spotify and less able to make useful recommendations.
For all its shortcomings, Amazon Music had one super useful feature: the ability to play music from my Echo Dot.
Search is more cluttered in Amazon Music, and not as nice to look at.
The actual functionality of Amazon was very similar to Spotify. You can't play a specific song, but selecting a song will take you to a playlist of songs like it.