Several K-pop songs and artists were removed from Spotify recently, and it got us wondering if we could explore other music streaming platforms. YouTube came to my mind, and we thought “we could just stream K-pop from YouTube. Oh wait, there’s YouTube Music”. YouTube Music seems like a better option because of its vast amount of content, but is that enough to beat Spotify? Let’s find out.
They Can Both Be Free, But…
Both Spotify and YouTube Music offer premium subscription plans, but they aren’t necessary for you to use them. They are both free to use, but do know that you will be thrown with a tonne of ads in between plays. Not only do ads disrupt the whole experience, free tier users will also face function limitations. Sound quality wise, YouTube Music free will stream at 128kb/s, while Spotify streams at 160kb/s on mobile.
On the free account for Spotify, you won’t be able to search or play a song you want to listen to, so you’re only bound to songs that are already in a playlist. You also cannot skip more than six times when on the mobile app, and there is no downloading of music for offline listening. Meanwhile, all these features are available on YouTube Music’s free account.
Over on YouTube Music, the free account doesn’t allow you to leave the app because that would just kill the music. You’d have to keep the screen on for music to continue playing in the background. For desktop, you can always open a new tab in your browser, so it’s more annoying to use while on a smartphone.
Spotify – Free: YouTube Music – Free: 160kb/s music streaming.
No music search.
No skipping music more than six times.
No offline downloading.
128kb/s music streaming.
No background music streaming.
(App has to stay on-screen)
No turning off screen while music is playing.
What Content Do They Have?
Spotify is one of the largest music streaming platform in the world, and they’ve been around for a while, so it’s no surprise that they have a lot of music, features, and integration with third party apps and hardware. While Spotify does have a vast library of music to choose from, it is still limited to what it has. There are several songs in languages other than English that’s not on Spotify, while YouTube Music has these readily available.
Spotify also has a big market on podcasts, so if you’re big on podcasts, you might want to consider Spotify then. You could listen to podcasts from the likes of Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian, and even Michelle Obama, thanks to Spotify spending a whopping amount of cash to bring them in to their platform. YouTube Music does have podcasts, but they’re not focusing on the segment. Spotify even included video support for podcasts, so Spotify definitely takes home the cake in this segment.
One part where YouTube Music shines brightly is when it comes to songs that are off the beaten track. This means covers, remixes, and any kind of music content is purely user generated. If you’re a big fan of acoustic covers, acapella renditions of a certain song, YouTube Music is where you can find it and easily add it into your playlist. Basically, you can turn any of the videos on YouTube into music in YouTube Music. So if all you care for are song choices, then it’s hard to beat with what YouTube Music has to offer.
What About Music Discovery?
In our testing, Spotify has done a terrific job at music discovery with its algorithm-based system. There are times when you’ve replayed the same favourite song one too many times, and you want to listen to something new. Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlists are a great place to begin, and some of these playlists have even gotten viral from how good they are at introducing new music. One of the playlists, for me, is “最Hit華語榜”, which is a mandarin playlist of the latest viral chart toppers.
Then, there are playlists. Evidently, Spotify is leaps and bounds ahead of YouTube Music when it comes to playlist curation. In YouTube Music’s defense, Spotify did launch much earlier, and they’ve had the time to build them up to where they are today. We’re not saying YouTube Music’s playlists are bad, it’s just there’s not a lot of them to choose from. Spotify even has playlists for the artist you like, and even playlists with your favourite tracks/artist included with similar artists/genre.
How Are Their Pricing?
There isn’t too much of a difference in pricing when it comes to Spotify and YouTube Music. Spotify has an individual account for RM14.90, with a duo account for 2 users priced at RM19.80/month. For their family plan, it’s priced at RM23.80/month with 6 users (you included) to enjoy premium features.
As for YouTube Music, the individual account is priced at RM14.90/month, while the student account goes for only RM6.90/month. Their family plan also allows 6 users to enjoy premium features, but priced slightly lower at RM22.90/month.
What About Sound Quality?
Neither Spotify or YouTube Music is known for its sound quality. If that’s what you’re after, you might want to turn your head to Tidal, or even Deezer. That being said, Spotify and YouTube Music still sound just fine with their current streaming quality. Check out the table below comparing the sound quality of the two:
Streaming Platform Max Streaming Quality Supported Formats Spotify Premium 320kbps AAC, Ogg Vorbis Spotify Free 256kbps AAC YouTube Music Premium 160kbps AAC
Streaming on Spotify Premium, you’ll max out at 320kbps, while YouTube Music is capped at 256kbps on AAC. Though do take note that there are times when you will get your streaming quality reduced due to Internet connection quality. And unless you have proper equipment to distinguish sound quality, you might not even be able to hear the difference.
What Else Is There To Compare?
Here are a couple of features between Spotify and YouTube Music that you should take note of. Spotify has integration with navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze, while YouTube Music still has to be played in the background.
Both streaming platforms have music casting abilities, but Spotify’s is a tad bit more intuitive as it can automatically any available Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connected speakers.
Which Is The Right One For Me?
Generally, Spotify is the safer bet to go with when it comes to music streaming services. It has an overall great set of features, from playlist curation to music discovery, and it has wider compatibility with other 3rd party services.
At the end of the day, it depends on what you’re looking for from a music streaming platform. If you’re into podcasts, go with Spotify. If all you care about is music selection, YouTube Music might be the better option. Price wise, they don’t differ that much so there’s nothing to compare there.
Personally, I’ve been using Spotify for the longest time. But I’ve been irritated that some of my favourite songs aren’t on Spotify, while they’re on YouTube. So, I will be subscribing to YouTube Music for the time being.