Youtube Music vs Spotify – Which is Better?

Youtube Music is a relatively new music streaming service released by the search giant Google. It’s intended as the go-to app for music enthusiasts to listen to their favorite songs as soon as they’re released and even explore new music. But how does it compare to the well-established Spotify streaming service? Let’s find out!

Free Plans

Youtube Music and Spotify offer free plans, but of course, both are supported by ads, and they won’t give you the full experience. 

Spotify’s free plan puts restrictions on music playback, like forced song shuffle in playlists (except the “Daily Mixtape” one) and 6 song skips per hour.

Youtube Music, on the other hand, lets you play any song you want at any time. 

However, just like the video streaming app of Youtube, once you turn off the display or lock your phone, the music stops immediately. It also stops the playback when you close the app and use other ones. 

Music Catalog Size

As of 2021, Spotify’s library encompasses over 70 million songs. There aren’t any official numbers for Youtube Music’s library, but it’s reportedly as extensive as Spotify’s.

On a side note, Youtube Music has a larger selection of mixes than Spotify, which primarily relies on original releases and popular mixes only. 

It’s also a no-brainer that Youtube has much more video content than Spotify. From concerts to live performances and behind-the-scenes videos, the app leaves little to be desired. Live concert streaming is supported, too. 

In terms of podcasts, Spotify is miles ahead of Youtube Music. With over 2.9 million podcasts that include a wide range of exclusive and authentic shows, Spotify is heaven on earth for podcast and audiobook lovers.

Song Discovery

When it comes to song discovery, Spotify blows Youtube Music out of the water. It’s just super easy to find what you’re looking for on Spotify, and in many cases, you may not even have to ask for it. 

Spotify automatically generates a 30-track “Discover Weekly” playlist every Monday that contains your favorite artists and genres. On top of that, you get 6 daily personalized playlists that cater to your taste.

Spotify also has a huge library of playlists for different moods and genres. It’s also worth mentioning that Spotify releases 60+ charts that contain the most popular songs in certain countries.

On the flip side, Youtube Music provides you with a few tailored playlists that include the “Discover Mix”, “New Release Mix”, and “My Supermix” playlists. There’s also the “You Mix”, which is basically an endless playlist that’s personalized according to your preferences.

And while Youtube Music’s song discovery isn’t that bad, it’s by no means as sophisticated as that of Spotify. You can browse and search for music by genre and artist, but the number of playlists is pretty limited compared to Spotify.

Offline Listening

Both Spotify and Youtube Music let you download songs for offline listening on your mobile phone. However, this feature is exclusive to mobile devices on Youtube Music, while Spotify offers this feature for its mobile app and desktop client. 

Youtube Music can also play locally-stored songs, which is a nice addition for those who already have a large music library and want to play it in the same app they use for streaming.

You can download as many songs as you want on either streaming service; there’s no ceiling.

Sound Quality

In the free versions, Spotify offers a maximum audio quality of 160kbps, while Youtube Music caps it at 128kbps. In the premium editions, Spotify takes the lead again with a 320kbps maximum streaming quality compared to just 256kbps for Youtube Music.

However, keep in mind that sound quality may not matter that much if you listen to music on quality headphones or loudspeakers.

You can lower or raise the sound quality in both apps based on your preference. Many users actually prefer to stream at a normal or low-quality mode to save data. 

Lyrics

Both Spotify and Youtube Music integrate dynamic song lyrics during song playback. However, I like Spotify’s implementation of this feature a bit more than Youtube Music.

On Spotify, the lyrics scroll automatically as the song progresses, in contrast to Youtube Music which requires you to scroll manually.

Additionally, Spotify has a “Storyline” feature that gives you more info about the song and how it was written and produced. It may sound like a small thing, but it’s definitely a cool addition that can even make you appreciate the music and feel connected to it. 

Streaming with Smart Home Devices

Both Spotify and Youtube Music can be cast to other smart home devices. Spotify uses Spotify Connect, while Youtube Music utilizes Google Chromecast. Both services work on Amazon Echo, too.

However, Spotify’s integration with smart home devices is a bit more streamlined than Youtube Music. It can detect all devices connected to the network in the blink of an eye and even let you switch between them quickly. 

Apps and User Experience

Generally speaking, Spotify’s user experience on desktop and mobile is a bit more refined than what Youtube Music has to offer. Spotify is an older app that had enough time to mature and improve, so it comes as no surprise that the app is sleeker, easier to use, and offers more features.

This doesn’t mean that Google’s app is a mess; we like its user interface with the simple grid layout for albums and playlists. However, Spotify’s space utilization is way better, as you can see header images and album descriptions within the main grid interface.

Additionally, Spotify makes it easy for you to sort your music more conveniently with an intuitive sidebar on the desktop version. The mobile version also has several sorting options like filtering and liked songs sorting.

However, Youtube Music’s search function has the upper edge over Spotify’s because it lets you filter the search results in multiple ways. This ensures that the search results are relevant to what you’re looking for.

Pricing

Surprisingly, both Spotify and Youtube Music are priced almost identically. The monthly subscription costs $9.99/month for individuals and $4.99/month for students. 

Similarly, both streaming services offer a family plan that lets 6 users use it simultaneously, and it’s currently priced at $14.99/month. The only difference is that Spotify offers an additional Duo membership with 2 user accounts, priced at $12.99/month.

Summary

Alright, so these were the key differences between Youtube Music and Spotify. 

Youtube Music can learn a thing or two from Spotify when it comes to music discovery, user interface, song sorting, and casting. There’s also room for improvement in sound quality. But it has a few perks over Spotify, like live concert streaming, access to rare mixes, and a much larger video content library.

Spotify, on the other hand, seems to offer a “more complete” experience than Youtube Music.

Both have a similar price and plan structure, except for the $12.99/month Duo membership that Spotify offers, which might suit couples.

In the end, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which platform you should use as it primarily depends on your preferences.

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