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Žan Černe
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Spotify Robbed Us of Music

This article is about Apple Music and Spotify, but it encompasses much more. I’ve been a Spotify user for the past couple of years and also belong to the Apple club when it comes to the devices I own. Sometimes, I exhibit fanboy behavior, but only towards new Apple products or services. I never mind what others use since I’ve used Android myself for years. The same goes for various Linux distributions, personal computers, and more.

I feel I can understand both worlds, and when it came to choosing a streaming service provider, Spotify simply provided that service better. No one is going to convince me otherwise.

I also didn’t appreciate Apple’s initial lack of Spotify support for Siri and other smart home devices, but that changed over the years.

Lately, I’ve started to dislike using the Spotify app due to its cluttered UI. With the introduction of podcasts, I began to receive more and more podcast recommendations when I wanted to listen to music.

Even today, I have no podcast subscriptions on Spotify, and my feed is full of podcasts. I want my music app to do just one thing - play music. They also added audiobooks, and I don’t even want to know what’s next. As a cherry on top, Spotify’s desktop app is just awful.

For me, a good experience matters. Attention to detail matters. Making a product or service enjoyable matters. I don’t care about the price as much as I care about having a good experience.

We people are really strange; when something seems seamless and perfect, we don’t notice it at all. We just enjoy using the service and keep coming back, and we have no idea why; we just know it’s good. But when something sucks, when something is a pain to use, even if it’s just a small detail, it ruins the whole experience in a moment.

Last week, I wanted to go on a run. I never take my phone with me since it’s too heavy, and I have no place to put it, so I use my Apple Watch for all of my technology needs during my runs. This includes tracking the workout as well as playing music or podcasts to make the kilometers go by faster.

I put my headphones on, selected the Spotify app on my Apple Watch, and pressed play on a downloaded song. Nothing happened; the UI showed me the previous song - strange. I tried again with a different playlist, but the same issue occurred. I force-closed the app and even restarted the watch, but nothing helped.

To me, this was just awful. Something as simple as playing a song - the most basic functionality of a music app - was completely broken.

This frustration led me to do something I never thought I would: I decided to give Apple Music a try. I just wanted to see how the experience compared after all these years. I downloaded the app, selected a few albums I enjoy, and hit play…

I have no idea why, but it sounded amazing, way better than Spotify ever did. I thought I was crazy, so I compared the same song on Spotify. Nope, it’s real - the sound on Apple Music is just so much crisper, richer, fuller.

I’m no audiophile. I’m just an average listener using AirPods Pro, nothing special, and I noticed a difference. And it was at least a 10% difference in sound quality.

I’ve done some research, and it could be due to Apple’s encoding standard for Apple Music as well as lossless audio streaming and Dolby support (for some albums).

I’m sure Apple Music isn’t close when it comes to recommendations and all the other (sometimes useful) features Spotify has, but this realization was worrisome.

Apple provided a better experience when it comes to the UI of the apps and sound quality. The UI isn’t cluttered with useless things I don’t care about when I want to listen to music. Spotify robbed us of music by providing a subpar user experience and worse sound quality.

I’m not sure if I’m going to fully switch to Apple Music, but I will surely continue the test for the next few months and see how it goes.

When something is done right, no one notices, but when something is bad, even the most average user will.

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