Skip to main content

Survey shows students prefer Spotify for streaming music; Apple Music is runner-up

A graphic of Spotify and Apple Music

The winner of an unofficial campus music streaming service poll appeared to be Spotify. In a recent survey conducted among BYU–Hawaii students, 65.5 percent of students reported using Spotify more than any other service, with 25.5 percent preferring Apple Music and 9 percent preferring other music streaming services including YouTube and Amazon Music.

Apple Music is considered by students to be an up-and-coming music streaming service. Launched in 2015, the service boasts 60 million users worldwide in comparison to Spotify’s 271 million worldwide users, according to The Verge. Spotify was launched in 2008. Apple Music does not offer a free subscription with ads, whereas of Spotify’s users, only 124 million, less than half pay for their subscription says the Hollywood Reporter.

About 25 percent of participants in the campus survery were asked to share the reasoning behind their music streamng preferences.

“I’ve used Deezer, iRadio, Pandora, Amazon Music, Apple Music, YouTube Premium ... but I just keep using Spotify in the end,” said Anel Canto, a junior from Panama studying computer science. “My favorite is its integration with Google Assistant. I can just ask Google to play a song and Spotify will play it for me.”

Spotify’s personalized suggestions for new music is a big win for Spotify users. Jesse Skeen, a junior from Utah studying psychology and a former user of Apple Music, said Spotify “suggests better music.” He added, “Apple Music gives me the same generic genre stuff, [but] Spotify leads me to new stuff.”

Malia Tupuola, a senior from Utah majoring in communications, agreed Spotify had “better suggestions” and added she enjoys using Spotify’s “year in review” for her favorite artists. Technical difficulties also played a factor in her decision to use Spotify.

“Apple Music ... would always delete my saved songs, so Spotify is the move,” she said.

Podcasts are also a win for Spotify users. Brinley Dotson, a sophomore from Utah studying marketing, said she prefers Apple Music, but said since Apple has a different app for podcasts, Spotify was better in that regard.

“I like how [Spotify] has anything—episodes of podcasts, music, anything,” she said.

However, for Dotson, other factors influenced her switch to Apple Music. She said she had seen several artists release new material on Apple Music before it could be found anywhere else. She also listed other factors including aesthetic, music selection and a search-by-lyrics feature that was hailed among Apple Music users when they were surveyed about their favorite part of the app.

I can never remember the names of the songs,” Dotson said. “With Apple Music, I can just type in the lyrics, and they’re like, ‘Do you mean this song?’ And I’m like, ‘I always mean that song,’” she said, laughing.

Other Apple Music users mentioned this feature, including Mallory Lemmon, a freshman from Arizona studying psychology. She said she also thought Apple Music’s playlist-sharing system was more user-friendly.

“Many people in my high school would request personal playlists from me,” Lemmon said, explaining with Apple Music, she could send the playlists to others, and they could add the playlists to their libraries. “Every time I update that playlist, it will automatically update for them,” she added.

Ellie Toia, a sophomore from Arizona majoring in graphic design, said Apple Music has better options for clean versions of songs, explaining she occasionally listens to rap music and finds that Apple Music has a better selection for clean rap.

Competing with Spotify and Apple Music is Amazon Music, which was one of the most common streaming services in the “other” category. Launched in 2007, it is the oldest streaming service preferred by survey participants. Joey Oliver, a junior from Washington studying applied mathematics, explained why his preference is Amazon.

“I have found it very easy to navigate. The menus/tabs are easy to understand and find new songs. It also keeps a record of the 50 last playlists, albums [and] artists you listened to, which is really nice. It’s very easy to download songs and playlists. You can follow artists to receive notifications on when a new song or album is released by them.”

Another student-cited service in the “other” category was YouTube Premium, with users commenting they liked how it customizable. Some Spotify and Apple Music users commented they used YouTube Premium in addition to their preferred service.

For the survey, a total of 55 students were interviewed and 36 chose Spotify, 14 chose Apple Music, 2 chose Amazon Music, 2 chose YouTube Premium and 1 chose regular downloading.