A little less than a month ago, I was in the honeymoon period after signing up for Spotify for the very first time. I was impressed with Spotify Connect and the integration with the Amazon Echo. But having been burned pretty badly by Apple Music, I wasn't ready to fully commit to the streaming lifestyle. I set a reminder a couple days before my trial was set to expire called "cancel Spotify?"
This past week the reminder fired. My phone buzzed, I pulled it out of my pocket, and I immediately swiped the notification and tapped "Mark as completed". There's no way I'm canceling Spotify right now, for a few reasons.
I'm far from the first person to say it, but Discover Weekly is the killer feature that sets Spotify above Apple Music and all other comers. I've put a handful of new-to-me albums into heavy rotation as a result. I've found Good Graeff, a Spotify minnow with around 10,000 worldwide listeners, who are quickly becoming my current favorite band.
It's hard to put a price tag on that experience, but $2 per week seems very conservative. Some months that covers the entire Premium subscription fee; other months, $2 are leftover to go towards access to nearly every other song on the planet. Apple Music always felt like the full $10 went just to catalogue access, even though they're putting in more human curation effort.
Ease of use
I am bafflingly lost every time I try to use Music on iOS or iTunes. When my Apple Music trial expired, I more or less stopped listening to music at work because my library was so inaccessible (I had relied on iTunes Match before). On Spotify, I still have some organizing to do: I feel like I don't yet have a library there. But on the other hand, I don't need one; search is adequate. Even in the Mac app, which is little more than a web view wrapper and doesn't even have a ⌘F keyboard shortcut, searching is faster and more effective than in iTunes. (Better than iTunes, an app that at its introduction touted type-ahead search! It is not hyperbole to say that iTunes has regressed.)
I used to roll my eyes at Spotify links and embeds across Twitter and the web because I thought I couldn't listen to them. But Spotify is the lingua franca of music sharing, and it is accessible with just a free account. An Apple Music link is a dead end to someone who's not a paid subscriber. Apple needs to find a compromise between having a premium-only service and being so exclusive that they drive away business. I should know, because I've taken mine elsewhere. I've paid my first Spotify bill and it won't be my last.