The future of music

Amazon Music vs Spotify: Which Platform Wins?

August 3, 2023
amazon music vs spotify

Today we compare two of the most popular music streaming services: Amazon Music and Spotify.

Although they have certain similarities, each platform has its own unique features, benefits, and potential drawbacks. 

So, we hope our comprehensive Amazon Music vs Spotify comparison will help you choose the service that suits you best. 

Without further ado, let’s see what each service is all about, and which one fits your preferences and priorities. 

Amazon Music and Spotify – How Do They Work?

When thinking about the best music streaming platforms, Spotify immediately comes to mind. 

Spotify is known for its social features and personalized playlists, and since it provides a free version, it’s a budget-friendly option as well. 

Amazon Music made its way to the top too – with its huge music library and excellent audio quality, it’s hands down one of the best options for streaming music out there.

But in the Amazon Music vs Spotify battle, who would win? 

To come up with a fair verdict, we need to compare important factors such as music discovery features, pricing, app functionality, social features, and music library.

Before taking a look at each aspect, let us briefly explain how each platform works.

Amazon Music

Amazon Music was launched in 2007, so it’s been around for quite some time now.

It was first launched in the US, but it soon found its way to many other parts of the world as well. 

Although it’s not available to as many countries as its competitors, Amazon Music Unlimited is today one of the biggest and most popular music streaming platforms out there. 

Amazon Music

One of Amazon Music’s key features is its compatibility with Alexa, a widely used voice-controlled virtual AI assistant.

But Amazon Music has a lot more to offer, including a vast song library, CD-quality streaming, offline playback, and much more. 

Amazon Prime subscribers can get a discount, but there’s also a free version available.

However, a free version has limited features and possibilities, and it doesn’t allow downloads or offline listening.

Nevertheless, Amazon Music Unlimited is a great option for casual listeners and picky music lovers alike, and that certainly makes it a solid Spotify rival.

Spotify 

Spotify was founded in 2006, and it started as a small Swedish start-up developed by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon who wanted to address music piracy. 

The app is now one of the biggest streaming platforms in the world – according to Statista, Spotify reported 515 million active users worldwide in the first quarter of 2023. 

Spotify

One of the reasons so many people use Spotify is its convenience and flexibility – you can launch the Spotify app on Android, iPhone, desktop, and smart TV apps, and it’s compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

Spotify also provides cool features and options such as collaborative playlists, group session options, a huge music library, and a wide selection of podcasts. 

The app also allows you to connect with friends and check out what they’re listening to at the moment. 

And it’s great for creating playlists and listening to music that fits your taste.

You can simply search for artists you like and follow them, and if someone you follow releases a new song, the track will show up on the Release Radar playlist, along with other tracks that you might like.

Spotify also does a great job of recommending tracks and artists. 

To provide you with daily playlists and song recommendations, Spotify analyzes your streaming history and creates personalized playlists of different artists and genres based on your music preference.

That being said, Spotify is a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable streaming service with strong social and music discovery features.

But how does Spotify stand in comparison with other streaming giants such as Amazon Music?

Amazon Music vs Spotify – Which One Is Better?

Now that you know what each service is all about, let’s compare their characteristics and features so you can decide which platform is a better option for you.

User interface

Amazon Music and Spotify both have clean, dark-themed user interfaces.

Both platforms are also very easy to navigate, and all user functions are pretty clear. 

The drag-and-drop function always comes in handy, and Spotify’s navigation bar allows you to access your library in a flash.

Amazon Music’s interface is also very simple and straightforward, and its drop-down menus are very convenient. 

So, they’re quite similar when it comes to the user interface.

However, Spotify has a slightly more recognizable and eye-catching look.

But on Amazon Music, there’s an extra Alexa button that allows you to use the platform hands-free.

Streaming quality

Both Amazon Music and Spotify offer multiple audio settings.

With Amazon Music Unlimited, you can enjoy Ultra HD audio and its depth of sound.

You can also listen to Dolby Atmos or 360 reality Audio when available, and both provide CD-quality (lossless) audio. 

Plus, Amazon Music typically streams audio at a bitrate of around 320kbps, which is great compared to its competitors. 

But to fully take advantage of Amazon Music HD audio, you should work with data speeds of 1.5 Mbps or higher. 

A woman using headphone

Spotify’s maximum streaming quality is 320kbps, and the platform makes use of AAC and Ogg Vorbis – both widely-used standard lossy formats.

Lossy files are certainly not as good as lossless files – lossy files sacrifice audio quality because they’re highly compressed, and lossless audio preserves all of the original audio information so it’s basically identical to the source.

Spotify announced Spotify HiFi (lossless audio tier) in 2021, but they delayed the launch for unknown reasons.

Nevertheless, Spotify provides good sound quality, especially if you don’t intend to use high-end studio headphones to listen to music. 

And since Spotify consumes about 150MB of data per hour (about 7 to 8 MB per song), playback is rather smooth and quick to load when you skip tracks.

Playlists 

Just like all the best music streaming services, Amazon Music allows you to create your own playlists.

But you can also browse thousands of expert-programmed playlists and stations.

On Android and iOS, you can listen to select songs from curated playlists on demand, and if you’re an Amazon Music Prime member, you can download tracks and listen to them offline. 

Some of the most popular playlists on Amazon Music include Country Heat, Pop Culture, Classic Rock Hits, Breezy Summer Classics, and Mellow ‘80s Gold.

There’s a variety of genres and moods to choose from, although the platform prioritizes mainstream music and popular hits. 

Spotify offers on-demanding streaming as well, which means you can listen to any song you like. 

You can search playlists by genre, mood, and similar artists, and on a desktop version, there are unlimited skips even if you’re not a member. 

Spotify also allows you to create playlists, save songs, and follow artists you like.

And there are countless curated playlists you can explore, from independent playlists to playlists made by Spotify’s editorial team.

Spotify

Thanks to its smart algorithm, Spotify will provide you with personalized mix playlists based on your streaming history.

Spotify’s Daily mix playlists usually feature artists and tracks you’re familiar with, but they can also feature something new that you might like.

And they refresh every 7 days, which ultimately makes Spotify a great place to discover new music. 

Moreover, Spotify has Release Radar and What’s New playlists, featuring new music from artists you follow, artists you listen to, and other artists you might like. 

If you’re a music artist, submitting a pitch to Spotify playlist editors at least 7 days before release day will get your song on your followers’ Release Radar playlists.

In terms of playlists and recommendations, both Amazon Music and Spotify have plenty to offer, but Spotify provides a more sophisticated way of delivering playlists based on your musical preferences.

See also: Best Spotify Playlists

Phone apps

Both Amazon Music and Spotify have mobile apps for iOS and Android mobile devices.

However, Amazon Music leans more towards Amazon’s line of Alexa-enabled devices.

Spotify is available as an app on a phone or desktop, and thanks to Spotify Connect, you can use it on a number of Smart devices.

Both apps are well-designed and easy to navigate, although they do differ from their desktop versions.

For instance, Spotify’s phone app is very convenient and neat, but the desktop version (in a free plan) offers some extra features, such as unlimited track skips.

Music discovery features 

Let’s be honest – one of the best things about music apps and websites is the possibility to discover new music.

Nowadays, streaming services use AI algorithms to learn their users’ listening habits and tastes. 

Both Spotify and Amazon Music are great places for finding new songs, but they approach music discovery in a different ways.

With Amazon Music, you can easily discover new music and podcasts based on your likes.

The platform uses machine learning algorithms to create the “You Might Like” section and provide you with recommendations in the My Soundtrack playlist.

And since you can vote either “thumbs-up” or “thumbs-down” for every song, Amazon Music can create playlists based on your likes, listens, and genre preferences.

Music discovery features

Although Amazon Music offers cool music discovery features, Spotify is known for its personalized playlists and recommendations. 

First of all, there are countless playlists based on genre, mood, and year of release.

And Spotify’s algorithmically designed playlists are always on point, including Daily Mix playlists, Discover Weekly, and so on. 

Spotify simply knows what kind of music you want to discover, and the more songs you listen to, the more personalized and accurate your playlists are going to get. 

All things considered, both platforms are great in terms of music discovery, but Spotify has slightly better options. 

Subscriptions

If you’re looking for free music streaming apps, both Spotify and Amazon Music are good options.

However, Spotify does offer more content and features in its free plan.

In fact, everyone can access Spotify’s music library and use its music discovery and social features.

Spotify’s free version is truly amazing, especially if you use it on a desktop – the desktop version even offers unlimited track skips. 

But its membership plans are affordable as well, and they come with many benefits, including ad-free listening, downloading and offline listening, and higher audio quality. 

The subscription to the Spotify Individual Premium plan costs $9.99 per month, and they also offer Spotify Duo, Family Plans, Spotify Student, and so on.

You can also use Spotify Premium for free for one month.

Subscriptions ads for music apps.

On the other hand, Amazon Music doesn’t allow its free plan listeners to listen to anything on-demand.

If you want to use Amazon Music for free, you’ll have to settle for shuffle mode.

To get a better sound quality and the possibility to pick and play any song on-demand, you have to opt for one of their subscription plans. 

You can choose from Amazon Music Prime, Amazon Music Unlimited, and there are also Family plans and student discounts.

The Amazon Music Unlimited Individual Plan currently costs $10.99 per month, and the Amazon Music Unlimited Student Plan costs $5.99 per month.

What is the difference between Amazon Music Prime and Amazon Music Unlimited?

If you’re a Prime member, you’ll get access to 100 million songs (ad-free), a wide selection of podcasts, and thousands of playlists and stations.

All of this is included with Prime at no additional cost.

But with Amazon Music Unlimited, you get all of the features and functionality of Amazon Music Prime and a lot more.

Amazon Music Unlimited subscription includes tracks in lossless HD quality, millions of tracks in Ultra HD, and expert-programmed playlists and stations.

It also offers a catalog of spatial audio content mastered in Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio. 

Prime members can join Amazon Music Unlimited for $8.99/month or $89/year, while non-Prime customers pay $10.99/month.

Music library 

Both Amazon Music and Spotify have impressive music libraries.

With its extensive library of over 80 million songs, Spotify truly has plenty to offer, both for casual listeners and enthusiastic music lovers. 

There’s a variety of genres to choose from (around 60, to be more precise), including alternative rock, electronic music, funk, classical music, rap, country, ambient, and dubstep.

And there are many themed playlists such as throwback playlists, summer playlists, holiday playlists, and so on. 

Also, Spotify has licensing deals with some top record labels like Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music, so there’s no shortage of new music drops and popular hits. 

Since Spotify accepts music from anyone who submits to it, it features a lot of music from indie artists as well.

Music application

While Spotify has a ton of indie music as well as popular hits, Amazon Music is known for its Hot Singles and Pop Culture lists. 

But Amazon Music has about 90 million songs in its library, so it’s fair to say that there’s plenty to choose from.

The platform has numerous good playlists in its indie section, including Indie Fresh, curated by Amazon’s music experts. 

And while Spotify doesn’t want to limit non-Spotify users by offering exclusive content, Amazon Music Limited is known for its premieres and exclusive releases.

Nevertheless, both Amazon Music and Spotify provide huge music libraries made for fans of all music tastes.  

Social features

In this Amazon Music vs Spotify comparison, there are many aspects where it is hard to say which platform wins.

However, when it comes to social features, Spotify is clearly a winner. 

Amazon Music doesn’t have that many social features apart from the option to share playlists via email, Twitter, and Facebook.

Spotify, on the other hand, allows you to connect with friends and like-minded music lovers, share your playlists with them, and check their listening activity and history. 

The app also allows you to share individual songs, full albums, and playlists via special links that target the Spotify app.

And thanks to the app’s Remote group session feature, you can start a group session, invite friends, and listen to music and podcasts together.

So if you’re looking for a music streaming service with strong social interaction features, you should go for Spotify. 

Additional features and content 

Both Spotify and Amazon Music offer versatile content and a variety of extra features that will make your listening experience even better. 

Spotify’s extra features include:

  • Carplay and Android Auto compatibility
  • Spotify Wrapped – data collected from your Spotify account throughout the year (most-listened artists, genres, songs, etc.)
  • Spotify for Artists 
  • Sleep Timer
  • Podcasts 
2 tablet device using music apps.

The Spotify app is packed with features, and it offers versatile content.

It provides the option to import local files from your computer, which can come in very handy.

Besides music, Spotify offers more than 5 million podcast titles.

And with the acquisitions of Storytel, it decided to tap into the world of audiobooks.

But Amazon Music has plenty to offer as well. 

Some of the additional features include:

  • Ad-free podcasts
  • Stations 
  • Alexa compatibility
  • Audio quality indicator

Unlike Spotify, Amazon Music provides exclusive content.

The app also comes with a nice collection of music videos; from Pop Video Hits to 90s Alternative Videos.

You can enjoy live streams, live performance videos, non-music playlists (ambient music like White Noise), and various spoken word playlists.

And there’s an audio quality indicator that is another cool feature – if you tap on “Ultra HD” above the song title, you can see the maximum audio quality of the track.

Both platforms have nice additional features, but they’re also quite different, so it all depends on your priorities. 

Which Service is Better for Artists – Amazon Music or Spotify?

Whether you should opt for Spotify or Amazon Music is entirely up to you.

Both Amazon Music and Spotify are great apps for streaming music, and you can’t go wrong with either option. 

But if you’re a music artist and you’re looking for an artist-friendly streaming service to upload your music, you might be interested to hear how both platforms treat their artists.

Amazon Music launched Amazon Music for Artists to help artists grow their audience and gain exposure. 

Once you claim your artist profile, you’ll be able to get statistics and other useful features. 

However, content on Amazon Music is either delivered by a record label or distributor.

So, if you’re an independent artist and you want to get your songs to Amazon Music, you’ll have to do it via third-party distributors such as CD Baby, TuneCore, or DistroKid.

Spotify works in a similar way.

Spotify for Artists profile allows you to customize your artist profile, promote your music, pitch your songs to playlist editors, and connect with your fans.

It also provides detailed analytics and streaming data about your music and your listeners. 

Playlising ads

Spotify pays artists between $0.003 – $0.005 per stream on average, and Amazon Music pays roughly $0.004 per stream. 

So, they’re quite similar, and both platforms provide great tools for artists.

Either way, if you’re an unsigned artist and you want to release and promote your music online, uploading it on the biggest music streaming platforms is a must.

Amazon Music vs Spotify – Final Thoughts 

One thing is for sure: Amazon Music and Spotify are both excellent music streaming platforms that offer plenty of content for music lovers.

Both services have extensive music libraries, and they’re very convenient and well-designed, so it all comes down to your priorities. 

Amazon Music is best for listeners (especially Prime members) who want to enjoy quality audio and content variety.

And Spotify is ideal for music fans who prioritize music discovery, personalization, and social features, and since it has wider availability, it’s more easily accessible.

You may also like: Spotify vs Pandora

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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