If you are a music buff and stream your music over the internet, you would be familiar with Spotify and YouTube Music. Both these music streaming platforms debuted in India recently, bringing their huge pools of songs and playlists, along with their customised collections especially curated to suit the users in the country. Both over-the-top (OTT) audio platforms have a lot in store for everyone. Let’s take a look at what these music streaming services are offering and how they compare with each other:
Spotify and YouTube Music, in their basic versions, offer free music streaming supported by advertisement. If you want to remove the ads, you will need to upgrade to their respective subscription-based premium editions. While Spotify provides an option to choose between monthly and yearly subscriptions, YouTube Music offers only a monthly subscription plan.
A Spotify premium subscription costs you Rs 119 for a month, or Rs 1,189 a year. Interestingly, Spotify also offers a one-time payment service, which is like a prepaid top-up plan, for those who do not wish to tie themselves to monthly or yearly subscriptions. These plans are available for Rs 13 a day, Rs 39 a week, Rs 129 a month, Rs 389 for three months, and Rs 719 for six months. A YouTube Music monthly subscription can be purchased for Rs 99.
As part of their introductory offers, Spotify and YouTube Music are, respectively, offering a month and three months of free subscription to the premium edition.
Not all users listen to music on their smartphones. They also stream music on laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, and even wearables. Therefore, it becomes imperative for new-age music streaming services to support a cross-platform functionality.
YouTube Music is available as an app on Google Android and Apple iOS devices, so it is compatible with most smartphones and tablets running on these two operating systems. However, there is no dedicated application for desktop, so if you wish to stream music on a laptop or desktop running on Microsoft Windows or Linux Ubuntu, you have to use a web-based client.
Spotify, on the other hand, supports all major platforms. Besides being available as an app on iOS and Android devices, Spotify also has a dedicated application for Windows-based machines, and supports multiple other clients – including PlayStation and Xbox.
Both Spotify and YouTube Music have intuitive apps with easy-to-use functionality. Both platforms have a three-page layout. Both have a home page showing all available content from trending to playlists, new releases, and more. The library page on YouTube Music shows last played, downloads and playlists, and that on Spotify lists saved music and podcasts. The third page on Spotify is a search page and that on YouTube Music is a hotlist page showing trending tracks.
Although, both apps look similar, they have different features to offer. Take a look at some key features of the apps:
- Crossfade tracks (up to 12 seconds)
- Broadcast – allow other apps on your device to see what you are listening to (Instagram, Tinder, etc)
- Play on local devices (TV, computer or speaker) connected over same WiFi network
- Download audio tracks
- Sync playlist across devices
- Multi-device log-in support
- Phone’s equaliser settings to adjust audio output
- Integration with YouTube to play video-based songs
- Double tap to seek 10 seconds
- Option to switch between video or music only
- Phone’s equaliser settings to adjust audio output
- Google subtitles support (not lyrics)
- History option to revisit songs streamed/searched in past
For music streaming services, content is the ultimate differentiator, and both Spotify and YouTube Music have a deep content base. The platforms also support algorithm-based playlists curated based on moods, activities, artists, etc. These playlists keep updating automatically based on your usage pattern.
While both platforms cover most of the content, including indigenous content, YouTube Music’s library is a mix of originals, remixes and covers. The app's integration with YouTube and its ability to play video content in an audio form makes this platform unique.
On the other hand, Spotify supports podcast and radio streaming – these are missing in YouTube – which makes it a complete package. Spotify also allows you to share your self-curated playlists, allowing like-minded people to share and stream music without each having to make a separate playlist of choice. It also supports city-based playlists, an algorithm-based curated list showing what people in a city are listening to (trending) – this is currently limited to Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai.
There is a reason why Spotify is a leading OTT audio platform globally. From a vast content library to a feature-rich app, podcasts and radio integration, besides cross-platform support, this Swedish audio streaming service is an overall package. However, YouTube Music has a deep integration with YouTube video streaming platform, allowing access to covers, remixes, originals, and more. Its app can also play videos, making it a unique platform; no other service matches this.
Go for Spotify if you need a no-fuss music streaming service that can work on all your devices. If you like exploring remixes, mixtapes and covers, besides original sound tracks, you might like to give YouTube Music a try!