Students toggle between Spotify and Apple Music

Sarah Van Buskirk

Daily mixed playlists compiled up of songs from a variety of genres one listens to or better audio performance and volume levels? Or how about a larger variety of artists or a simpler design interface?

When it comes to music streaming platforms, the conversation of whether Spotify or Apple Music is the elite music app never ends as each platform continues to evolve and add features to keep up with its competitors. 

In a recent informal survey, 18 out of 25 students said they prefer Spotify over Apple Music. 

The majority of students’ first opinion about Spotify being superior was the app’s aesthetics. The vibrancy and personalization of Spotify keeps Gen Z interested. The colorful graphics featured on playlist covers are unique and attention grabbing. 

However, some students preferred the simplicity of Apple Music’s interface. Students with Apple Music as their preference said the neutral and calm design of Apple Music makes it easier to navigate. Apple Music has updated its interface over the past few years to compete with Spotify’s individuality.

“Spotify is more satisfying and organized than Apple Music,” sophomore psychology major Angelina Alvarez said. “It’s very personalized and music is a really big thing for me because it’s my minor so I like how with playlists you can express the same emotion with different words.”

For college students, price matters and Spotify wins that battle being a dollar cheaper. Starting at $9.99 a month, Spotify also allows those who do not have a subscription to use the platform, compared to Apple Music’s $10.99 a month subscription which is necessary to even play a song.

Students said that Spotify is better about the personal user experience. With its Daily Mixes that organize the users’ variety of music genres into playlists they will no doubtably enjoy to its Discover Weekly feature that gathers new music the user has never heard and suggests songs based on the data collected from listening history. 

“Spotify gives me playlists based on artists I already listen to.” freshman computer science major Echo Pauley said. “They also have the DJ option now and I love it because I hear so many new songs or he will bring up a song I listened to in 2016.”

Apple Music has similar features but students said that it was not as tailored to their music taste and would throw in songs that are completely off genre and do not belong in that vibe’s category. 

Junior political science major Alexia Daniels said she is indecisive therefore pays for both of the music streaming services.

“I like Spotify because it’s user friendly and with the recommended songs it stays in the same mood.” Daniels said. “With Apple Music it suggests the craziest songs but I was going through a phase where I was listening to a lot of acoustics and it was more high def as well as the loud was much more loud.”

Apple Music is high-caliber when it comes to sound quality. Spotify reaches a maximum of 320 kilobits per seconds in Ogg Vorbis Format falling short to Apple Music’s 256 kbps in Advanced Audio Coding. In simpler terms that means Apple Music has a higher definition of audio quality and crisper, cleaner volumes. 

Students said that Spotify has a better relationship with small, local artists compared to Apple Music. A broader range of music and artists are available on Spotify where Apple Music carries songs more recognizable to the general public. However, Spotify lacks fair wage policies by not paying their artists enough. 

According to LabelGrid, a website designed to evaluate audio products and platforms as well as keep up with the latest data collection and digital assets for each product, Spotify pays artists between $0.003 to $0.005 per stream. With that being said, Spotify created Loud and Clear in 2021 to be more transparent with listeners about the music industry’s economy. Loud and Clear provides data of how money is circulated starting from the stream, through the app and to the artist. 

Freshman history major Ellius Pacheco said when asked what she would change or add to Spotify would be creating a social media aspect to the app.

“I wish there was a feature where you could comment on people’s playlist, I think that would be fascinating.” Pacheco said. 

Sarah Van Buskirk can be reached at

Sarah Van Buskirk is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. She is the Spring 2024 editorial director for the Campus Times and has recently served as editor-in-chief, sports editor and staff writer. She is also currently a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine, and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine.


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