Streaming services compared

After the fiasco of Google Play Music can any other streaming service do it better?

I’ve tried both Apple Music and iTunes now for two months. I’ve added my experiences with Google Music Play as well (used it for two years) and Plex.

Apple Music

The nicest thing about iTunes is that it listens to the play button on my Mac keyboard and on both my headphones. That is a huge relief.

Also, the discover function is nicer than Google’s and Spotify’s. It is more ‘in your face’ and the playlists are curated. In other words, they are made by humans. Consecutive songs blend into eachother and the playlists are more creative than the automatic ‘radio stations’ from Google and Spotify.

This is how you get playlists like ‘Intro to Deafhaven’ (a list of songs to get you into a certain band), ‘Behind the boards: Max Norman’ (playlist with songs by a certain producer), ‘Talking Heads live’ (best live songs of a band) and ‘One bourbon, One scotch, One beer’ (rock songs about alcohol). In other words: fun playlists that fit my rock/metal music-style.

Compare this to Spotify, where the discover function keeps defaulting to ‘hit songs’ and ‘most popular’, or simply listing albums ‘you might like’.

Now onto the negative points:

Especially the lack of on mobile is a dealbreaker, in combination with the navigation it puts me off from using Apple Music.


Seeing as Spotify has been on the market longer, it makes sense they have the most mature user experience. It has some very nice tidbits, like picking songs to your running rythm and great integration with other online services (like When you subscribe, you can pick a higher quality for music playback.

Minus points:

Google Play Music

Major minus points:

Some good points:


Music quality

From good to bad:

I’ve tried the same songs on multiple streaming services (“Awakening the Fallen” by Avenged Sevenfold, “Everglow” by Coldplay and “Untouchable” by Anathema). None of the streaming services can really beat Plex, which is transcoding FLAC to MP3 on the fly. I find this very strange: ultimately, you’d expect either the same quality or better (because streaming services, especially Apple, sometimes remaster a song for streaming).

Apple Music and Spotify are close contestants, but Spotify has some deeper bass on Untouchable. In the end they are both ‘good enough’, but some music (like Anathema) really needs a good quality streaming and for that I’ll still stick with Plex…

(to listen to a comparison, check my previous blogpost: Horrible quality on Google Play)

In conclusion

Spotify wins, in combination with Plex for when I feel a band needs the higher quality sound.

update I’ve also checked out Deezer, not a winner: