Finding a music streaming service that fits your needs is key to ensuring a great listening experience at home or on the go. Spotify and Amazon Music are two of the main services worth considering.
Each platform has around 75 million songs, along with its own set of features. They both have apps for iPhones, Android smartphones, computers, and popular media players so you can listen to your music on a variety of devices.
That said, there are some differences that might make one service more suitable than the other. We compared the two in a variety of categories to help you decide which one is right for you.
Amazon Music vs Spotify: Which is Best?
Spotify may be the most popular music service in the world, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider Amazon Music. Both platforms offer members unique features and pricing.
In fact, Amazon Music is trying to differentiate itself by offering high fidelity tracks at no extra cost, providing a lossless listening experience that can come close to the quality of the original recording. The service also has some benefits for Amazon Prime members.
While Spotify has plans to introduce a lossless audio option as well, it won’t launch until the end of the year. That said, Spotify has an edge over Amazon in some key areas. The service is known for its highly customized playlists and sharing features, and its ad-supported plan offers more music and control than Amazon’s free option.
Below, you can find a full comparison of features, plans, and pricing for Amazon Music and Spotify.
|Monthly cost:||Free – $ 15||Free – $ 16|
|Song catalog size:||About 75 million songs||About 75 million songs|
|High fidelity music:||No additional cost||Coming this year|
|Notable features:||Texts X-Ray, Alexa voice assistant||Best in class playlists, play specific songs on demand for free|
|Supported platforms:||iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Web||iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Web|
Prices and plans
Both Spotify and Amazon Music can be used for free, but the free tiers are significantly limited and largely amount to internet radio on mobile devices. Both services offer new members 30-day trials to test their paid versions.
Spotify’s plans include: Free, Premium, Premium Duo, Premium Family, and Premium Student.
The ad-supported option is completely free. This plan allows you to listen to any song through the mobile or desktop app, but you have to deal with constant ads and you can only skip six songs per hour. If you don’t want advertising, you can choose one of Spotify’s Premium plans. The more expensive options allow you to add multiple users, so that multiple people in the same household can listen at the same time.
|Spotify free||Spotify Premium||Spotify Premium Duo||Spotify Premium Family|
|Monthly price:||Free||$ 10||$ 13||$ 16|
|Song catalog:||75 million||75 million||75 million||75 million|
Students can also take advantage of a discounted Premium rate of just $ 5 per month. As a bonus, this plan also includes free Showtime subscriptions and advertising support.
Amazon Music plans
Amazon Music plans include: Free, Amazon Music Prime, Unlimited, Unlimited Family, and Single Device.
Unlike Spotify, Amazon Music’s completely free option doesn’t let you listen to specific songs on demand. Instead it offers a more similar experienceradio with announcements.
If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you have access to an extended music service, called Amazon Music Prime, as part of your subscription. This plan is ad-free and has on-demand access to approximately 2 million songs. To access Amazon’s full library of songs, however, you’ll need to upgrade to a Music Unlimited plan for an additional fee.
|Amazon Music||Amazon Music Prime||Amazon Music Unlimited||Amazon Music Unlimited family|
|Monthly price:||Free||Free with Amazon Prime||$ 8 with Prime, $ 10 without||$ 15 with Prime|
|Song catalog:||Select playlists and stations||2 millions||75 million||75 million|
Amazon Prime member college students can apply for a discount for Amazon Music Unlimited which reduces the price to $ 1 per month instead of $ 8 per month.
Music Unlimited also offers the option to limit streaming to a single Amazon device for a reduced fee. You can grant a single eligible Echo or Fire TV device access to Music Unlimited for just $ 4 per month (instead of the standard $ 10).
Spotify and Amazon Music both offer similar quality for their free plans. Music streaming is compressed to reduce the size and data requirements, but most people listening on mobile devices and headsets probably won’t notice any major quality issues.
When it comes to audio quality for paid plans, Amazon Music outperforms Spotify. In the past, Amazon Music charged an additional fee for its Music HD plan, but now the streaming service includes CD-quality streaming with its Music Unlimited plans. Some tracks are also provided in Ultra HD, which exceeds the specifications for CD quality.
The superior quality of Amazon Music HD will be noticeable to some people, but to take full advantage of the improved audio performance you will need high-end speakers or headphones, as well as a wired connection to your playback device.
While Spotify doesn’t currently offer a CD-quality plan, the service will add that option, called Spotify HiFi, later this year.
The appearance of both streaming services is similar. Amazon and Spotify each have a navigation bar at the bottom of their mobile apps with a home screen, search, and music collection.
While most people use music services via their mobile devices, both Spotify and Amazon Music also offer desktop apps. This is where the two experiences differ. Spotify’s desktop app is decent and has been perfected for over a decade. In March 2021, the streaming service announced an updated interface to allow offline downloads and give “more control” for creating playlists.
The Amazon Music desktop app, on the other hand, is very utilitarian. The interface on a Mac is not intuitive and completely different from its mobile app counterpart. For example, the design makes it difficult to use the listening queue mechanism.
For listening on your computer, Amazon Music’s web interface is better and easier to use than its app. In the case of Spotify, it’s definitely a plus to have such a solid desktop app.
Performance and features
Spotify and Amazon Music both offer the same features. For example, the catalog of songs available for listening does not vary at all and any exclusives are mostly negligible. However, that’s not to say there aren’t some key differences that could affect subscribers to one service over the other.
For Amazon Music, its mobile app includes the built-in Alexa voice assistant. This functionality means that all music controls can be performed via hands-free voice commands. The Alexa version accessible via the music app can perform other skills as well. For example, you can ask Alexa to control smart lights like you would via an echo. Spotify offers a “Hey Spotify” feature that allows its members to use their voices to find artists and songs, but its functionality isn’t as solid as Alexa’s.
The other main feature of the Amazon Music app includes X-Ray lyrics. This is a neat and really useful feature that lets you scroll through the lyrics as the song plays for a karaoke-like experience.
Merchandising pages are now also attached to selected artist profiles on Amazon Music to make it easier for you to purchase their merchandise directly from the Music app. Amazon Music also introduced Car mode in April 2021, to provide a streamlined and minimal interface for commuters.
While these Amazon features are tempting, Spotify still has a clear advantage when it comes to its awesome music algorithms, which the service uses in the form of personal playlists. “Discover Weekly” and other playlists definitely set the music service apart from others. If you don’t know what to listen to, you don’t have to suffer through generic radio.
Spotify also allows filters based on genres and moods. Playlists also have an “enhance” button, which can add random songs similar to the ones you’ve already included. Duo and Family members can also access regularly updated playlists based on everyone’s listening history. A “recently played” option is also in the works that will allow users to look back on the past three months of streaming.
When it comes to travel and commuting, Spotify offers integrations with Google Maps andplus a dedicated car interface with large buttons to keep your music listening safely on the road.
More than any other music service, Spotify works like a music social network and allows you to follow friends and easily share songs back and forth. It works well because it is the largest music platform in the world and has the largest number of listeners who will gladly click on a link you share.
A few years ago, the question of whether I should use Spotify over Amazon Music was an easy choice. Now, in 2021, that choice isn’t so clear-cut. The good news is that both services offer attractive features at reasonable prices.
On the one hand, Amazon Music Unlimited includes CD-quality audio with its basic subscription plan at no extra cost. The service also offers a nice discount to Prime members.
That said, Spotify remains the best choice for most people thanks to its masterfully curated playlists and seamless music sharing. And, while Amazon has a free plan, the catalog of songs available is quite limited compared to Spotify’s larger selection of ad-supported free songs.