Amazon Music vs. Spotify – Which One Would be Better

coco
April 28, 2022

Music streaming allows you to enjoy your favorite audio content around the clock and onto any device. Your music streaming service can make or break your listening experience. It’s important to find the one that best fits your needs and lifestyle. Amazon Music and Spotify are two of the leading music streaming services in the business. Both have massive music catalogs, offer podcasts, and come with additional content like video and music stations. There are a few differences that could make one service a better fit over the other. 

Spotify is probably the first service you think of when you think of music streaming – it’s been around the longest, integrates with loads of services, and has some very clever features. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider Amazon Music. Amazon Music is trying hard to differentiate itself by offering higher fidelity tracks at no extra charge, providing a lossless listening experience that can come closer to the quality of the original recording. Both platforms offer members unique features and price points. But which service is best for you – Amazon Music or Spotify? 

Today we decided to take a little closer look at them and help you decide which is right for you. We compared the two across a variety of categories, including pricing, features, sound quality, and other features. So, let’s dive in!

  • The Overview
  • Pricing and Plans
  • Audio Quality
  • Key Features
  • The bottom line
  • How to Play Spotify or Amazon Music without Limitations?

The Overview

Spotify

Spotify is a streaming service created in 2006 by the Spotify AB team in Stockholm, by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. It is a digital audio streaming service that grants subscribers access to an extensive library of music tracks, audiobooks, and podcasts from all over the world. You can sign up for a basic Spotify account to access a limited amount of features free of charge. You also have the option to upgrade to a premium account to get more benefits and features. Spotify offers basic features for free, but with ads and limited personalization options. In fact, only a paid subscription opens up additional features such as offline listening and ad-free listening, as well as, most importantly, personalization of the music offered based on listens and likes.

Spotify amassed 82 million tracks and 3.6 million podcast titles in its library. They’ve also logged as many as 406 million active users per month. The app is available in 184 countries, making it undoubtedly one of the most popular and easily accessible streaming services on the market.

Amazon Music

Amazon Music, formerly called Amazon MP3, is a music streaming platform and online music shop that is part of the Amazon group of services and platforms. Amazon Music was launched in public beta on 25 September 2007, in January 2008 it became the first digital music download store to offer “DRM-free music” or music free of digital rights management from the four major music labels, giants such as EMI, Universal, Warner and Sony BMG, as well as many independent artists and record companies. Initially, all tracks were sold in MP3 format with a variable bitrate of 256 kilobits per second, without watermarks or DRM on the customer, but this situation has now changed somewhat and some tracks are now watermarked. 

Since its launch, Amazon Music has steadily made its way to Europe, North and South America, and Japan. Today, Amazon Music is available in 50 territories worldwide, and as of January 2020, it’s amassed 55 million subscribers. Unfortunately, there’s no official update on this number, but it’s safe to assume there’s been some user growth given the increase in UK and US subscribers in 2021.

Pricing and Plans

Spotify

Spotify’s plans include: Free, Premium, Premium Duo, Premium Family, and Premium Student.

The free Spotify plan lets you listen to any song through the mobile or desktop app in exchange for enduring ads and limited ability to skip over certain songs. If you don’t want commercials, you can choose one of Spotify’s Premium plans. Spotify’s premium plans are commercial-free, allow more users, and invite multiple people in the same house or office to listen at the same time. The company’s Premium plans include unlimited track skipping on mobile devices, ad-free music played at the highest quality, and the ability to download songs and podcasts.

Spotify offers individual plans for $9.99 a month, Duo plans for two accounts at $12.99 a month, or a Family plan supporting up to six accounts for $15.99 a month. If you’re a student, you can get a discounted plan for $4.99 monthly. As a bonus, this plan also comes with complimentary subscriptions to Showtime and ad-supported Hulu. The Premium Student with Hulu and SHOWTIME is also a welcome advantage. Currently, there’s no other streaming platform that offers this kind of deal. 

Amazon Music 

Amazon Music’s plans include: Free, Amazon Music Prime, Unlimited, Unlimited Family, and Single Device.

Unlike Spotify, Amazon Music’s completely free option doesn’t let you listen to specific songs on-demand. Instead, it offers an experience more like streaming radio with ads.

Amazon Music Prime is included with your Prime membership at no additional cost. It features 2 million songs and more than a thousand playlists and stations programmed by Amazon’s music experts.

With Amazon Music Unlimited, you get all of the great features and functionality of Amazon Music Prime…and a lot more. Amazon Music Unlimited offers 75 million songs in lossless HD quality, millions of tracks in Ultra HD, and thousands of expert-programmed playlists and stations, including the hottest new releases from today’s most popular artists. Amazon Music Unlimited’s vast catalog allows you to dig deep into the vaults of your favorite artists, enjoy the latest and greatest hits, and explore new genres and styles. Amazon Music Unlimited also offers a growing catalog of spatial audio content mastered in Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio. Prime members can join Amazon Music Unlimited for only $7.99/month for a monthly subscription or $79/year for an annual subscription. Non-Prime customers pay $9.99/month.

Family members invited by email must be at least 13 years old and have a standard Amazon account in order to join your Family Plan. Accounts are not shared and there is no common family profile. Each family member has an Amazon account with personalized recommendations. The person who signs up for the Family Plan is the subscriber and pays $14.99/month or $149/year (available to Prime members only) using a payment method like a credit or debit card. You and your family can stream music on up to 6 devices at the same time.

PlansSpotify FreeSpotify PremiumPremium DuoPremium FamilyStudent Plan
PriceFree$9.99/month $12.99/month $15.99/month $4.99/month 
Ad-free musicNoYesYesYesYes
AccountsOneOneTwoSixOne
Catalog82 million tracks, 3.6 million podcast titles82 million tracks, 3.6 million podcast titles82 million tracks, 3.6 million podcast titles82 million tracks, 3.6 million podcast titles82 million tracks, 3.6 million podcast titles
CD-qualityNoNoNoNoNo
PlansAmazon Music FreeAmazon Music PrimeAmazon Music UnlimitedUnlimited FamilySingle Device PlanStudent Plan
PriceFreeFree with Amazon Free,  $14.99/month or $139/year$7.99/month or $79/year for Prime number, $9.99/month for Non-Prime customers$14.99/month or $149/year $3.99/month$0.99/month for Student Prime($7.49/month or $69/year), $4.99/month for Nom-Prime
Ad-free musicNoYesYesYesYesYes
AccountsOneOneOneSixOneOne
CatalogThousands of stations and playlists2 million90 million90 million90 million90 million
CD-qualityNoNoYesYesYesYes

Audio Quality

Spotify

Spotify Premium subscribers listening on desktop, mobile or tablet apps can choose between five sound quality levels: automatic (depends on your network connection), low, normal, high and very high. 

Spotify uses Ogg Vorbis, a format that was semi-popular a decade ago; Spotify continues to use it because it’s open source. It doesn’t have to pay a license fee for it.

At the low setting, music streams at 24kbps. At the normal setting, music streams at 96kbps, which sounds a lot better than MP3 at 129kbps. Switch to the high-quality setting and the bit-rate bumps up to 160kbps. Most users will be happy at this level, since any compression trade-offs aren’t obvious. 

The very high setting uses 320kbps, which is perceptually close to lossless. Spotify doesn’t offer any lossless or hi-res streaming, which is one reason that audiophiles might want to look elsewhere.

Spotify has clearly realized that in order to keep up with the competition, it needs to offer a way for people to upgrade their sound quality, which is the reason it’s launching Spotify HiFi later in 2021. 

It’s difficult to predict what Spotify HiFi will be like and how much it will cost right now. However, according to the streaming service, HiFi will be available as an upgrade for premium subscribers and will offer CD-quality, lossless audio at upwards of 1411kbps. This is more than four times the amount of data you currently hear when streaming a song.

Amazon Music

Amazon Music typically streams audio at a bitrate of around 320kbps, which is great compared to other platforms like Spotify who currently only streams at 320kbps. Moreover, if you opt to listen to higher-quality audio, you can choose to switch to the HD setting. This option takes it a few steps further with an average bitrate of 850kbps. 

Amazon refers to HD tracks as having a ”bit depth of 16-bits, a minimum sample rate of 44.1 kHz (also referred to as CD-quality), and an average bitrate of 850 kbps”. UHD tracks, on the other hand, “have a bit depth of 24-bits, sample rates ranging from 44.1 kHz up to 192 kHz, and an average bitrate of 3730 kbps.”

Their bitrates completely outclass anything offered by other platforms that stream at a max of 320kbps in Standard Definition (SD) with lossy compression. If you want to take Amazon up on the offer of its CD-quality and hi-res streams you’ll be pleased to know we found they sound clearer, more detailed and more dynamic than the standard streams offered through Music Unlimited.

There’s a huge amount of music in high-res on Amazon Music HD. Amazon doesn’t release exact figures but our experience suggests that Amazon Music HD has a larger catalogue of high-res music to call upon. There were a number of occasions when we found an Ultra HD release on Amazon but couldn’t find it on other services.

Key Features

Spotify

Spotify has an uncanny ability to understand musical preferences, and it channels that power into personalized  playlists. Curated from your listening history, these playlists can be found in the Made for you hub, which is accessible through the search section on the mobile and desktop app. 

Here’s a rundown of the music streaming service’s most popular personalized playlists:

Discover Weekly: A 30-song playlist of new songs and rarities, updated every Monday. 

Release Radar: A playlist of new songs from your favorite artists, updated every Friday. 

Daily Mixes: Playlists that bring together your most recent listened tracks, plus fresh ones, updated daily. 

There are tons of great music discovery features that you can use to augment your current library. One of these features is “Enhance,” which allows you to discover new tracks that might best fit one of your existing playlists. 

Another is “Discover Weekly,” a playlist automatically generated for each account by Spotify’s algorithm every week, which you can find by going to the browse page. This playlist is generated based on your recent listening habits. If you’ve recently been listening to a lot of folk rock, you can expect to find more songs from that genre.

Another is the radio system. It allows you to select any song, album, playlist, or artist and automatically generate a playlist of similar music. You can access this by clicking the three-dot button next to the music element you want as the foundation of the radio and selecting “Go to Radio” in the context menu. 

What’s more, Spotify excels in terms of social features, by bodging a community it makes sharing music easier than any other competitor. With Spotify, you can upload songs or albums, choose playlists with friends or preview what your Facebook friends are listening to. Plus, the group session feature lets more than one user add a playlist on the fly, and recently added the option for multiple users to create playlists together at the same time.

Amazon Music 

Amazon Music mobile app includes its Alexa voice assistant built-in. This functionality means that all music controls can be performed via hands-free voice commands. The version of Alexa accessible through the music app can also perform other skills. For example, you can ask Alexa to control smart lights the same as you would through an Echo. 

Aside from Amazon Music’s impressive Alexa compatibility, the app’s other main feature is something called “X-Ray Lyrics.” It’s a helpful feature for hard-to-decipher songs, which allows lyrics to scroll by almost karaoke-style as the song plays. Amazon also introduced Car Mode earlier this year to provide a minimally-distracting interface that makes driving and listening an easier experience.

Amazon Music Unlimited has a unique feature called Side-by-Side. It syncs artists’ commentary with racks from their catalogues. It includes artists like The Chainsmokers, Jason Aldean, Lindsey Stirling, Norah Jones, OneRepublic and Kongos.

The bottom line

So which is best? That depends on your circumstances. Both services offer quite similar functions and possibilities. If you prefer discovering new music based on your mood and taste, or are opting for an entirely free option, Spotify is probably the right service for you. If you like the convenience of Alexa integration and already use Amazon as a Prime member, Amazon Music is likely your best bet. 

On the other hand, what stands behind Amazon Music is the very high sound quality for Amazon Music HD users, a free trial period of up to three months, and an interesting karaoke function, i.e., the sharing of song lyrics. The Spotify platform is perfect for people with limited budgets, as even a free subscription offers access to a full music library, consisting of millions of tracks. It is also undoubtedly a better tool in terms of discovering new tracks and sharing them with others. 

All in all, Spotify is better suited to those who want new music experiences and people who value community, while Amazon Music will satisfy users of other Amazon platforms for whom the highest quality of sound is important.

How to Play Spotify or Amazon Music without Limitations?

All the above mentioned are the differences between Spotify and Amazon Music, but in fact, they also have a lot of similarities. All Spotify and Amazon Music songs are DRM protected. The DRM, aka Digital Right Management system, prevents Spotify songs from being copied to local drive or transfer to other devices for other uses. This successfully protects the copyright of song owners.

We don’t actually own the music even we download it through Amazon Music or Spotify. What we pay monthly is just for the permission to stream any song available in their library. Downloading a song for offline listening simply allows you to enjoy the music when you have no internet connections. They are still rented and when the subscription expires, all streaming music you’ve added to your library from the Amazon Music or Spotify catalog will no longer be playable. Is there any way to play songs downloaded on Amazon Music or Spotify after canceling the subscription? 

To get songs without these limitations, it requires professional tools instead of some general music converters. Pazu Amazon Music Converter and Pazu Spotify Converter would be your perfect choice. Pazu software targets audio converting more than only the download of Amazon Music or Spotify Music. They are great streaming music converters which can capture songs from Amazon Music and convert them to several audio formats, including MP3, AAC, M4A, AIFF, WAV, or FLAC format. Both of them are able to keep or improve the bitrate to 320 kbps from Spotify or Amazon Music songs. With the numeral recognition technology, they can also identify and keep 100% complete metadata. You won’t lose any ID3 tags, such as artists, titles, albums, album arts, track numbers, etc. after downloading. In this way, it is easy for you to get unprotected Amazon Music or Spotify and saved them onto your local device. In other words, you can now play these converted songs on any device without any limitation.

How to Download Amazon Music Converter with Pazu Amazon Music Converter?

1. Run Pazu Amazon Music Converter

Download, install and launch Pazu Amazon Music Converter on your computer, then click the Sign In to log in to your Amazon account.

Amazon Music converter

If you have purchased a license, click the key icon to register the converter. If not, continue using the trial version.

2. Choose output format

Click on the Settings icon on the top right corner to configure the output audio parameters. There are six audio formats, including M4A(AUTO), MP3, AAC, FLAC, WAV, and AIFF, for you to choose from. From there, you can change the bitrate for MP3 and AAC outputs.

Amazon Music converter

3. Add songs, albums or playlists

Select the desired songs, albums or playlists you wish to download. Once you open an album/playlist and tap the red Add button suspended on the right side, you’ll be presented with the list of songs.

Amazon Music converter

All songs in the playlist will be added by default. Click the check the box next to the track that you don’t want to convert.

Amazon Music converter

4. Convert Amazon Music

Click the Convert button on the bottom right corner, and Pazu Amazon Music Converter will automatically download and convert Amazon Music tracks to the default folder on your computer.

Amazon Music converter

When the conversion process finishes, you can browse all the converted songs in the history list by clicking on the  icon. And now you’re prepared to stream your Amazon Music songs anywhere.

Amazon Music converter