iTunes Match is in the UK with Spotify Premium in its sights, but which is best? T3 pits the digital music services against one another to find out
Apple's iTunes Match subscription service launched in the UK last year allowing users to scan their hard drives for music, replacing old MP3s with new, high-quality 256kbps iTunes tracks. All these crisp new tunes can then be streamed across any of the user's iOS powered devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Apple TV and iTunes enabled Macs.
If you don't fancy be tied up to another Apple service, you could alternatively opt for Spotify Premium which gives you access to almost every piece of music that's ever been committed to your hard disk and save offline playlists. The question is, which one deserves to sap up some of your monthly packet? T3 tested out both digitial music services to find out.
Spotify Premium versus iTunes Match : Tracks
Spotify Premium: 15 million+ tracks at 320kbps. Most genres are covered. No ads with Premium option, too… WIN
iTunes Match: Your iTunes library is “matched” in the cloud with all tracks at 256kbps. Unmatchable tracks are uploaded.
Spotify Premium versus iTunes Match : Uploading
Spotify Premium: No uploading of music is involved. Playlists are cloud-synched across devices instantly. WIN
iTunes Match: It takes days for large libraries to match/upload. You can't upload certain types of Smart playlist. LOSE
Spotify Premium versus iTunes Match: Mobile
Spotify Premium: Works across all platforms. As well as streaming, tracks can be downloaded via 3G/Wi-Fi and you can play tunes already on your phone through the Spotify app. WIN
iTunes Match: IDevices only. No “streaming” as such – tracks start playing instantly but they're actually downloading. You lose the ability to sync music from iTunes – crazy! LOSE
Spotify Premium versus iTunes Match: Social Media
Spotify Premium: Facebook/Twitter integration is superb. Collaborative playlists are great and there's some cool apps. WIN
iTunes Match: Basic integration within iTunes but that's about it. Not even Apple's Ping is supported on mobile. LOSE
Spotify Premium versus iTunes Match specification
Track quality: 320Kbps.
Tracks available: 15 million+.
Works: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Symbian, Windows Phone, Palm, BlackBerry.
Track quality: 256Kbps or above.
Tracks available: Theoretically 20 million (iTunes), but you can only access the ones in your own iTunes library.
Works: Windows, Mac, iOS devices.
Spotify Premium versus iTunes Match verdict
Love: Tons of music. Mobile streaming. Good social integration. Apps.
Hate: £120 per year but you don't technically “own” anything as a result.
T3 Says: With pots of music available and more added all the time, this is the best music service around. Social media and mobile support is the icing on top.
Spotify Premium:The ever-growing catalogue, excellent mobile integration, offline playlists and excellent social integration makes this well worth £120 per year. WIN
Love: Good integration with existing iTunes libraries. Handy bitrate upgrading. Cheap sub.
Hate: Large music collections take an age to match/upload. Doesn't “stream” as such.
T3 Says: Classic Apple simplicity, but owners of large capacity iDevices might not see the point. Spotify is generally smarter.
iTunes Match: Okay for Apple maniacs, but most iDevices have enough storage to make it seem redundant. Hard to think of a single way it beats Spotify other than cost. LOSE
Have you been using Spotify Apps? Check out the video below to find how it all works