Music is a huge part of a lot of people's lives.
The rise of Apple's iTunes, the iPod, and even the iPhone has allowed anyone to carry thousands upon thousands of songs right in a pocket. T here haven't been many challengers that stood a chance, until Spotify arrived in the U.S. a few years ago.
Spotify and iTunes each have individual benefits making it often difficult to choose between the two.
If you prefer physically owning your files then iTunes may be for you, but if you want access to a ton of songs at any time then maybe Spotify is worth a shot.
Here's what you should consider when choosing between iTunes and Spotify:
iTunes maintains over 28 million songs across almost any genre. Apple sells individual songs or full albums for roughly the same price through iTunes. After you pay, the songs are yours to keep and you can do what you like with them. There is no fee to access iTunes.
With Spotify, users have access to over 20 million songs from almost any genre. Users don't own songs, but can stream them as many times as they want. Premium users that pay $9.99 per month can download songs to smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Spotify is much more social than iTunes, it also has the added benefit of its own free app store. Users can download apps that recommend new songs to check out and apps that tell you when your favorite artist is coming to town. But you still need to pay a monthly fee to get some of Spotify's best features.
The bottom line: iTunes wins this round simply because it has more songs available. Fans of owning music and burning it to CDs or saving the files to an external hard drive may also see iTunes as a better fit.
Steve Kovach, Business Insider
iTunes is free to use, but if you want to listen to a full song you have to buy it. But before you buy you can listen to a 90-second preview. A lbums can be bought in full or individual tracks can be downloaded. These songs are yours to keep. Albums range from approximately $7.99 to $13.99. Individual songs range from $0.99 to $1.29.
For $29.99 per year you can add your entire music library to the cloud. It's called iTunes Match and allows you to listen to songs that you've already purchased on your iPad or iPhone without having to sync with a computer.
Spotify works just like iTunes, except you don't need to buy any songs. All you do is pay a monthly fee to use the service. It's $4.99 per month for desktop-only access and $9.99 per month to use the desktop app and mobile app for your smartphone.
The bottom line: If you spend more than $120 per year on music, you should consider trying out Spotify's premium service. But if you spend less than $120 per year on music, picking and choosing what your want via iTunes may be a better option. You also get the added benefit of owning the songs and can listen to them whenever you choose with or without the internet. But because Spotify has whatever you want on demand we like it as a better option.
iTunes songs are available in a format called AAC, which is better than MP3 in terms of quality. Files can also be downloaded in the MP4 format too. iTunes AAC files are encoded at 256kbps, this is good quality. There is only one music service that encodes at a higher quality and that is Google Music, which encodes at 320kbps.
Spotify streaming quality is a little tricky. If you are a premium user and using a desktop you can listen to songs at 320kbps which is very good quality. Unfortunately if you are a non-iPhone mobile user then your songs will only be available at 160kbps and when compared to iTunes that's not very good.
The bottom line: If you are a audiophile and demand the best quality music you can get your hands on, iTunes is the way to go.
The decision boils down to if you actually want ot own your music or if you are all right with simply streaming it and downloading it for offline listening.
Besides allowing users to download full albums and individual songs, iTunes also provides digital booklets reminiscent of old CDs and even has music videos available too.
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