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Last updated on Oct 28, 2020

Amazon Music vs. Apple Music

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Amazon Music vs. Apple Music

Apple Music first hit the scene in 2015, and it quickly expanded into one of the most popular music streaming services worldwide. Able to synchronize to the iCloud and match tracks previously acquired through iTunes, Apple Music effectively streamlines its features across Apple products to provide a cohesive experience for users.

Amazon developed its eCommerce empire by transcending multiple markets, and its expansion into the music streaming industry has proven just as successful as its other ventures. Like Apple, Amazon uses the full weight of its subsidiary services and features to elevate its streaming potential—such as offering membership discounts for Amazon Prime Music and Music Unlimited while consolidating its services to work efficiently with its devices.

Amazon Music Unlimited vs. Apple Music Overview

Amazon Music Unlimited provides a discount of $4 per month to its subscribers who own an Echo and wish to listen on one device. Just keep in mind, you’ll need to upgrade to an individual plan to listen on additional devices.

Amazon Music
Apple Music
Monthly price
$9.99/mo. / $7.99/mo. with Prime
Annual price
$79/yr. with Prime
Student plan
$4.99/mo. / $0.99/mo. with Prime
Family plan
Number of songs
50 million+
60 million
Number of subscribers
50 million
60 million
Free trial length
30 days
3 months

Best value

If you’re a member of Prime, you already have access to Amazon Prime Music and its 2 million-song library. Without Prime, you’ll be out $9.99 per month for this basic service—the same amount you’d spend on an Apple Music individual plan. Apple generally meets industry-standard rates across the board with its individual, student, and family share plans.

Prime members enjoy a discount on Music Unlimited’s Individual and Student plans while receiving the overall best annual value of $79. You also receive exclusive discounts on groceries at Whole Foods, access to original shows and movies on Prime Video, and savings on your shopping and shipping needs with your Prime membership. Even though Apple lacks the diversification to compete with Amazon on memberships, its streaming service focuses on quality where it counts with its music catalog and a multitude of other features.

Mobile and desktop interfaces

Apple Music utilizes a bright, white interface where you can simply navigate to tabs located along the bottom of your mobile screen. From there, you can access buttons such as your Library and the For You tab comprised of suggestions Apple thinks you’ll like, as well as Browse, Radio, and Search options. Its features are organized and pleasing to the eye. In the past, Apple didn’t offer a web player, and if you wanted to listen outside of iTunes or the music app, you had to use a third-party web player. As of 2019, Apple is trying out its own web player, which is currently in beta trials.

Amazon’s interface is dark and sleek, but also has its menu positioned along the bottom of the screen. From left to right, you can access buttons to Browse, navigate to Recents (tracks you’ve listened to), enter your Library, or tap on the “Alexa” feature where you can issue voice commands like stop, play, skip, and replay.

Both services are available on iOS and Android devices.

Music discovery

When setting up your Apple Music account, you’re directed to choose your favorite music and artists. Apple’s sophisticated algorithm supplies you with daily mixes, new releases, and playlists through its For You tab. Apple also presents a Radio option with DJs, its 24-hour Beats 1 radio station, and human-curated playlists. Amazon Music lists playlists and suggested music on its home screen under a similar For You tab. Though, considering its scale, Amazon doesn’t furnish many other options for discovering new songs and artists.

Social sharing

You can share your favorite songs and playlists with other subscribers of Apple Music. It’s as simple as following your friends, then you’re able to create and share playlists with relative ease. You can also see what friends are listening to in Apple’s For You tab as long as you’re already connected. Amazon Music doesn’t have any such feature at this point. If you want to share songs and playlists, you’re limited to sending links via social media or text.

The Bottom Line

Apple Music provides a streamlined, connected experience across all of its apps to create a near-flawless listening experience, which is ideal if you own and use many of Apple’s products and services. Although, if you’re a Prime member, you’ll receive nearly the same extensive library and similar compatibility to your favorite devices for a more affordable subscription cost.

About the Authors

Zack Kulm

Zack Kulm Contributing Writer

Zack Kulm is a writer and contributor to soda.com. He covers a variety of topics from entertainment and gaming technologies to pop culture commentary. Kulm received a degree in English from Penn State University and Film Studies from Pittsburgh Filmmakers Institute. He also produces award-winning documentaries.