Comparison: Subscribing to Apple Music vs. Google Play Music

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 2015
Google debuted its own streaming service in 2013 as Google Play Music All Access, after Google Play music's initial debut in 2011. All Access was initially priced at $9.99, but in June of 2015, Google unsurprisingly unveiled an ad-supported, free version to differentiate itself from Apple's subscription Music service.




Designed to compete directly with other streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio and newcomer Apple Music, Play Music is based on Songza, the human-curated music streaming startup acquired by Google last year.

The most striking difference between Google Play Music and Apple Music is the user interface, though music curation and discovery services come in at a close second.

Opening up Google Play Music, users are first greeted by the day of the week and various playlists arranged around activities like "Waking Up", "Singing in the Shower", and "Getting Out of Bed". These are followed by Recent Activity and Recommended For You. A hamburger button on the top left leads to Playlists, Stations, Artists, Albums, and Songs.




Despite criticism of Apple Music's crowded UI, the app's functionality is more easily defined than its Google counterpart, due in part to Apple's standard use of tab bar icons at the bottom of the app screen that includes "For You" (the default tab) followed by "New", "Radio", "Connect", and "My Music".

Features

Google Play Music and Apple Music offer relatively similar features. Both companies' content libraries are comparable with each advertising 30 million songs available for streaming. Both companies offer activity-based playlists, however, Apple also offers Apple Editor and Curator Playlists (the former being lists compiled by Apple and the latter by people "in the know").




One advantage Apple Music offers is its Beats One radio station, which provides 24/7 DJ-curated broadcasting from London, New York, and Los Angeles. Another advantage of Apple Music is its Connect feature, social media feature that enables them to follow their favorite artists. Google Play Music offers something called a YouTube Unlock Key, which allows GPMAA subscribers to bypass ads within songs played on YouTube.


Catalogue

When doing a search on both services for a new band (White Lies) and new artist (Casino vs. Japan) that I have come to enjoy in the last two years, Google Play Music was missing two of the three albums of the former and only offered a radio station based on the latter. Apple Music, on the other hand, included all albums of both artists as well as options for creating radio stations based on their music.

For more established acts, this discrepancy isn't a factor, but for newer or more eclectic artists, it could very seriously impact discoverability.

Pricing

Both services have the same price: $9.99 per month. However, Apple offers a Family Plan for $14.99 per month, which allows up to 6 people to share the Apple Music account. Google Play Music has no such family option.

Paradigm Shifts

Being embedded in the Apple eco-system, I'm more comfortable with Apple Music versus Google's comparable offering. Before using it, I had been quite skeptical of a streaming model of music consumption. However, Apple Music has convinced me of its value. I was spending at least $9.99 on album purchases per month before Apple Music was introduced. And, to be fair, there is something inherently satisfying about actually owning your music.

The sheer scope of Apple's music catalogue and the one-click ease of adding it to your own library is nothing short of addictive. I've added dozens of albums and hundreds of songs that I simply never would likely have bought and discovered artists that I likely never would have known thanks Beats Radio and the Apple Editor playlists. I know there's been a lot of news about retention rates with Apple Music subscribers, but, as lifelong music lover, I can say that Apple Music is nothing short of phenomenal.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    ?Music is the future.

    Just fix the UI.
  • Reply 2 of 81
    Google works on both operating systems and syncs well between both. Google will upload your personal music library for free. And Google doesn't randomly delete your playlists.
  • Reply 3 of 81
    cali wrote: »
    Just fix the UI.

    When you say that, do you mean fix it or change it?
  • Reply 4 of 81

    I tried both for about a month, and I have to say I liked Google's interface better. It's much more streamlined and easier to navigate than the complex, messy UI that Apple has created. I like that Google will upload my music to Google Play Music at no charge, while I have to pay for Apple to do it for me with iTunes Match. At the very least, if someone is paying for an Apple Music subscription, Apple should include iTunes Match for free. Although some may argue that you should be able to find most of the music you want through Apple Music, so why pay for Match? With all that said, though, I'm not sure I want to pay $9.99 a month for either. Ad supported radio is probably good enough for me. 

  • Reply 5 of 81
    Actually, Apple Music does upload your library without iTunes Match.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204925
    ziggy787 wrote: »
    I tried both for about a month, and I have to say I liked Google's interface better. It's much more streamlined and easier to navigate than the complex, messy UI that Apple has created. I like that Google will upload my music to Google Play Music at no charge, while I have to pay for Apple to do it for me with iTunes Match. At the very least, if someone is paying for an Apple Music subscription, Apple should include iTunes Match for free. Although some may argue that you should be able to find most of the music you want through Apple Music, so why pay for Match? With all that said, though, I'm not sure I want to pay $9.99 a month for either. Ad supported radio is probably good enough for me. 
  • Reply 6 of 81
    I agree with you, I think Google just hasn't done a great job of advertising all of their features. Definitely better value. I subscribe cause I figure I can l can listen to anything I want for the cost of one album a month. I cancelled my iTunes Match subscription, can't believe I paid when Google does it for free.
  • Reply 7 of 81
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I don't think streaming is for me, but I do like the new Music app. I'd say it's 5 steps forward, 1 step back, and the inevitable revisions/evolution will make it terrific.

    Meanwhile, I'll enjoy a little ad-free streaming radio to discover music. But when the free trial is up, I'm OK going back to the ad-supported radio.
  • Reply 8 of 81
    freediverxfreediverx Posts: 1,403member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gemini521 View Post



    And Google doesn't randomly delete your playlists.

     

    And Apple doesn't comprehensively collect your personal data.

  • Reply 9 of 81
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,415member
    freediverx wrote: »
    And Apple doesn't comprehensively collect your personal data.
    ?
    What is Google collecting from their Music app that Apple isn't from theirs? Seriously...
    You are aware that Apple has an interest in monetising their user base (called "selling you" around here) and does. It would be refreshing to have an honest on-topic discussion of competing services once in awhile without the distraction of but... but... GOOGLE!


    Yeah I know, it's not a big part of their business so it's OK. It doesn't require a fortune teller to know where this thread is heading.
  • Reply 10 of 81
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,606member
    freediverx wrote: »
    And Apple doesn't comprehensively collect your personal data.
    The only reason Google would collect data on my listening habits would be to advertise music that it thinks I'd be interested in. Which is kind of what I want an app like this to do anyway, and Google are very good at recommendation analytics.

    Not a good criticism of Google in this instance.
  • Reply 11 of 81
    ziggy787 wrote: »
    I tried both for about a month, and I have to say I liked Google's interface better. It's much more streamlined and easier to navigate than the complex, messy UI that Apple has created. I like that Google will upload my music to Google Play Music at no charge, while I have to pay for Apple to do it for me with iTunes Match. At the very least, if someone is paying for an Apple Music subscription, Apple should include iTunes Match for free. Although some may argue that you should be able to find most of the music you want through Apple Music, so why pay for Match? With all that said, though, I'm not sure I want to pay $9.99 a month for either. Ad supported radio is probably good enough for me. 

    I don't see why you think Apple Music UI is complex. Google hides options in a hamburguer menu, which is awful (they don't seem to mind about UI usability though, they use that kind of menu in many of their apps). Unfortunately, Apple Music is indeed full of bugs.

    Regarding your second point, although Apple Music doesn't include iTunes Match, it includes iCloud Music Library: it differs from iTunes Match, but it still syncs every song from your library (including those not on Apple Music). However, I don't know how this compares to the Google version.
  • Reply 12 of 81
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,415member
    Having the option to listen and view the music video for a song in GPMAA is one big plus compared to Apple Music. Sometimes it conmpletes the music, adding emotion and context. Or at least my son and his girlfriend prefer music that way. As popular as YouTube is I"ll make a wild guess they aren't alone. The included Youtube Music Key was a bit glossed over in the AI article.

    On the other hand I'm sure there are those that couldn't care less about music videos but really enjoy Beats Radio. It's good to have options.
  • Reply 13 of 81

    After having used Apple Music for more than the past month, what I love about it is that it gives you the feeling you OWN the music.

     

    Realize that even you do not truly own your own car or house.  If you don't pay the registration and license fees you can't drive your car.  If you don't pay your property tax your house will be taken away from you.  Essentially for a house, you are paying RENT to the GOVERNMENT for life.  Yet obviously, you feel and think you own your house.

     

    The same with Apple Music.  You can download tracks as you desire.  You can arrange them in playlists.  You can stream the same songs from your playlists or play them from your Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

     

    The huge advantage of Apple Music is that I can simultaneously use up to 6 devices to play music - with the family plan.  This way, most rooms in the home can have separate music without having to turn the devices off.  I love the family plan for individuals.

     

    And the huge advantage of Apple Music versus owning music is that I will always get the latest music. Wow!  I no longer have to think about buying music or waiting for an album to come out.  I get it as soon as it is released to Apple Music.

  • Reply 14 of 81
    I go back-and-forth on Google's material design esthetic, but I definitely find GPMAA to be a really ugly version of it. Not to say that I'm in love with Apple music's design, but I like it better. With all that said, I still like Spotify's look the best.

    One man's opinion, and all that....
  • Reply 15 of 81
    They can have all the data of my truly exciting life that they want, I'm sure it will take them far. But it does piss me off when my music disappears. I'm sure apple knows a few things about you
  • Reply 16 of 81
    froodfrood Posts: 771member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jameskatt2 View Post

     

     

    The huge advantage of Apple Music is that I can simultaneously use up to 6 devices to play music - with the family plan.  This way, most rooms in the home can have separate music without having to turn the devices off.  I love the family plan for individuals.

     

     


     

    How is that a huge advantage for Apple Music?  With Google's service you use over 50 devices for less if you really wanted to...  I take it Apple's "Family Plan" costs more than the $9.99?

  • Reply 17 of 81
    I find Google's interface a lot easier to use than Apple Music. And, it also works on any web browser.

    The "I feel lucky" is a great way to discover new music while listening to ones I listened to normally. The automatically generated playlists seem more relevant to me on Google than Apple. Also, easy to add any music to any playlist I created. The ability to watch music videos without ads is a great plus for Google.

    I say this but Apple has its good points as well, but for me, Google edges out Apple with its simpler and cleaner interface as well as ad-free videos.
  • Reply 18 of 81
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gemini521 View Post



    Google works on both operating systems and syncs well between both. Google will upload your personal music library for free. And Google doesn't randomly delete your playlists.



    And Google doesn't suffer from antennagate, bendgate, and it is not evil because it's free. And Google doesn't randomly suffer from Stagefright.

  • Reply 19 of 81
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,245member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Frood View Post

     

     

    How is that a huge advantage for Apple Music?  With Google's service you use over 50 devices for less if you really wanted to...  I take it Apple's "Family Plan" costs more than the $9.99?


    $14.99.

  • Reply 20 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frood View Post

     

    How is that a huge advantage for Apple Music?  With Google's service you use over 50 devices for less if you really wanted to...  I take it Apple's "Family Plan" costs more than the $9.99?


     

    Apple's business model is stupid. I want free music. Did I mention Google Music is free? I love Google. Google is so awesome you guys. Everyone should try it. Did I mention it's free? Here, look at some more ads. Click 'em. Click as many as you like! That's a huge advantage for Google Music.

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