A Playlist Experiment in Apple Music and Spotify

Probably like you, I'm experimenting with Apple Music to see if it will become my music service of choice, or if I will stick with Spotify, a service I've been using for over a year now.

Some of my key decision points will be:

Breadth and depth of music
My taste in music leans in one direction, thought there are some more eclectic things I like too. I'm looking for the service that best fits my tastes, both from a broad and deep perspective.

Ease of location and management
When I'm looking for a track or artist, I want to be able to find them easily, and to add them to playlists or just play the track or album as simply as possible.

Sonos compatibility
Not just because I have invested in the Sonos system, but also because it suits the way I like to "use" music in my home, the service must be Sonos compatible. Spotify already is; Apple Music reportedly will be this Fall.

Ease of Offline Use
I want to be able to select music to use offline easily. This provides portability and avoids bandwidth costs, something I'm concerned with, especially on my iPhone when I'm not on a WiFi network. It is one of the reasons I tend to buy the higher or highest capacity devices - so I can have music and video available without having to stream it.

You will notice that music discovery, radio stations and the like are not on the list. Those can be fun, but there are too many artists I already know about and want to listen to, or listen to more, for me to invest time in letting someone else pick music to me. More on that as we go, but it isn't in the top three...or five.

As part of my evaluation, I'm building duplicate playlists on both Spotify and Apple Music from scratch, using only what is available on the service. Eventually I would upload some of my owned tracks to Apple Music if that's the way I decide to go, but for now, I want to see (in keeping with my first criteria) the breadth and depth of the catalog each offers.

Want to come along for the ride? I'll be posting updates here on the MacVoices Blog on how things are going, but I also invite you to follow the playlists one one or both services:

Apple Music: The Real Rock Playlist

Spotify: The Real Rock Playlist

A couple notes if you decide to listen in: First, as you can tell, this is a rock playlist. Classic rock, hard rock, punk rock, metal, space rock, glam, shred, thrash, southern rock...the label doesn't matter, as long as it rocks. Deep tracks, title tracks, studio tracks and live tracks from legendary artists, little known artists and artists you've probably never heard of. These are tracks that I enjoy for the music, not for the social or political positions of the artists or their dance moves. I hope you hear something you like and maybe even find a new favorite or two.

As I get started, I'm trying to shy away (but not totally) from some of the obvious choices. I'm also trying to pick only one track per artist for the first two hundred tracks or so. That will force me to dig deep to find out if what is on each service.

Watch from the sidelines if you wish, or listen in if you dare, and by all means, turn it up!

The Story So Far: Playlist Creation
On Spotify, playlist creation is fairly easy. You can either drag a track or an artist to a playlist from the main window to the sidebar where the playlist title is, or use the small "more options" icon (a small circle with three dots) to reveal a menu that gives you an option to add the track to a playlist, then choose the playlist:

Spotify Playlist Creation

The process is consistent and the More Options menus works consistently wherever you see an album or artist.

iTunes is a little bit different. You use the same basic technique, but it requires two clicks to get down to the level of actually picking the playlist. That makes it easier if you're prone to moving the mouse where you don't intend, and having it get away from you, but feels like just a little extra work. There is no option to drag to a playlist that I've been able to find.

iTunes Playlist Creation

I'm calling this one a tie. Once you practice a little with both, they are pretty much equal in ease unless you want to pick several non-contiguous songs from an artist page and drag them to a playlist. Then, the nod goes to Spotify because of the ability to drag.

More coming soon...