Amazon Music Unlimited or Spotify: Which is best for you? | Apps & Software

The rise of Amazon Music Unlimited has gone hand-in-hand with the explosion in use of Amazon Echo and the Alexa digital assistant. If you set it as your default music service you can ask Alexa for any music you want or you can ask Alexa to play something you’d like. It integrates seamlessly with Echo. 

But it’s not the only music streaming service you can use with Amazon Alexa. Spotify is probably the first service you think of when you think of music streaming.

But which service is best for you Amazon Music or Spotify? We’ve looked at all the features of both, how much Spotify and Amazon Music cost and how you can access them to help you make your ultimate decision: Spotify or Amazon Music Unlimited?

Amazon Music Unlimited is available in the UK, with several different pricing tiers available. To help you get to grips with Amazon Music Unlimited and to decide if it’s the right service for you, Amazon offers a 30 day free trial. 

If you don’t subscribe to Amazon Prime, a Music Unlimited membership will cost you £9.99/month, but if you do have a Prime account then you’ll only pay £7.99/month or you can pay £79 for a whole year.

Amazon also offers a membership for £3.99/month but you can only stream music through the Echo speaker or Echo Dot. Note that you can only use a £3.99/month Echo membership on a single Echo device and it can’t be transferred. If you have multiple Echo devices in your home and want to use Amazon Music Unlimited with all of them, you’ll need a regular individual membership.

A Family membership is available for £14.99/month for up to 6 family members or £149 for a year.

Spotify on the other hand has a much simpler pricing structure with just three tiers: a free, ad-supported tier and a Premium tier that costs £9.99/month.

Spotify also offers offer a family subscription plan which costs £14.99/month for you and up to five family members. Each member gets their own personal account.

Students can also get a discounted membership for just £4.99, but they have to sign up through UniDays or NUS Extra.

Amazon Music Unlimited is accessible through the Amazon Music app. The app can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices, as well as Mac and PC. You can also access it through a Web player in your browser and through the company’s Echo devices.

Amazon’s Fire tablets and the Fire TV also have an app and you can also play music through a Sonos multi-room system or Roku media streamer.

Amazon has also said that select BMW and Mini cars are Amazon Music-enabled and provide access to the service through its infotainment system when connected to a smartphone.

Spotify is available almost everywhere, there’s an app for iOS, Android, PC and Mac but is available on a list of devices that’s almost too long to put on here. You can get a Spotify app on select TVs from Panasonic, LG, Sony, Samsung, B&O and Philips, and on Bose, Sonos, Onkyo, Denon, Yamaha, Pionner, Naim, Libratone and Revo home entertainment products.

A wide range of car manufacturers, as well as Uber, have either built-in access via Spotify Connect, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox One have apps for Spotify, along with Google Chromecast and Chromecast Audio. Check out this full list of Spotify Connect Devices.

Amazon hasn’t revealed the streaming bitrate quality of its library, but we’d have a guess and say it will be 320kbps as this would put it on par with Spotify.

Spotify reserves the 320kbps streaming quality for its Premium tier. It’s called high quality on computer and extreme quality on mobile. If you use the free tier and listen on a mobile, you can choose between 96kbps normal quality or 160kbps high quality. The same 160kbps streams are called standard quality on computer.

Amazon says it has 40 million songs in its catalogue with releases from “today’s most popular artists”. That’s around 10 million more than Spotify, which says has around 30 million songs in its catalogue, but the songs you’re able to listen to may vary depending on where you’re listening from.

Both Amazon Music Unlimited and Spotify offer personalised radio stations based on artists and tracks you like.

Amazon Music Unlimited has the unique ability to be used through the Echo range of voice-controlled devices. You can ask Alexa, Amazon’s assistant, to play songs based on an artist, genre or even for a mood and setting.

Spotify also has mood-based playlists and a list of auto-generated stations and you can also choose to start a station based on an artist or song you’re currently listening to.

Both services will let you create your own custom playlists you can then share with friends, or you can save curated ones to your collection.

Amazon’s Music app and the web player have a recommended section which serves up albums and playlists that it things you’ll like based on your listening habits. The Music app itself has had a major redesign, and now claims to make music discovery easier than ever before.

Spotify meanwhile has a feature called Discover Weekly, which is an automatically curated playlist of songs that it thinks you’ll like based on your listening habits. It’s updated every Monday morning and from our experience, we’ve always liked what we’ve heard.

Amazon Music Unlimited can be played through the Echo devices, Fire devices, Sonos multi-room systems and in BMWs and Minis.

Providing you subscribe to the Premium tier of Spotify, you can use Spotify Connect. It’s a way to stream music to compatible speakers, home entertainment systems or even in an Uber taxi.

Because of the integration with Echo devices, Amazon Music Unlimited can be used with Alexa. You can ask Alexa all manner of questions to get the music you want, such as “play music for a dinner party” or “play Britney Spears greatest hits” and so on.

Spotify has no built-in assistant as such. You can’t ask Siri to play songs through it either, as it will default to playing music through Apple Music instead.

Both Amazon Music Unlimited and Spotify offer offline playback. Amazon offers it as standard but you can only download songs from Spotify if you subscribe to the Premium tier.

So we come back to our initial question, which music streaming service is best for you? Both offer a compelling argument. 

If you already have an Amazon Prime membership it could definitely be worth it because of the cheaper monthly cost compared to Spotify. And if you’ve bought an Echo speaker or Echo Dot, paying just £3.99/month makes it incredibly worthwhile.

If it were us, we’d get an Echo Dot and hook it up to our home entertainment system so we could have a large catalogue of music on demand and a good quality system to play it on.

Spotify on the other hand is available almost everywhere and offers a free tier. It’s worth noting that while the free tier still lets you listen to Spotify’s entire 30 million strong music catalogue, it does come with some limitations.

You can choose whatever song you want if you’re listening on a PC or Mac through the app or web player, but if you listen on smartphone or tablet, you have to make do with shuffle-only access. That means you can choose an artist, but not a specific song, instead you have to rely on Spotify to shuffle their tracks.

But Spotify’s service is incredibly easy to use, it sounds good and it has some incredibly useful music discovery features.

Also why not check out these superb Spotify tips and tricks

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