Apple Music Playlists

the weekend performing at the apple music wwdc launch

The Weeknd performing at the Apple Music launch.


I’ve been a paid Spotify customer since the beginning. I have dozens of playlists, synced albums, and custom radio stations ready for me every time I launch the app. Next to Twitter, I probably use Spotify more than anything else on my phone.

In short, I’m so entrenched in Spotify that it’s going to take a long time to convince me to ditch it for something else.

I’ve been testing Apple Music for about a day through the service’s three-month free trial. So far, the experience is basically the same as Spotify. I have access to tens of millions of songs on demand and can store them on my phone so I can listen to them if I don’t have an internet connection.

Nothing new there.

But I found one key area where Apple Music beats Spotify: playlists.

Both services have a bunch of curated playlists that you can search by genre or mood. But it feels like Apple pays more attention to its playlists than Spotify.

apple music tab for you

The For You tab in Apple Music.


Apple has human editors who come up with the perfect songs for every situation. Each playlist usually contains less than 15 songs, or your typical album length. It’s like someone telling me, “Here are the best songs you need to listen to in this situation.”

So far, so good. I listened to one of Apple’s hip-hop workout playlists at the gym on Wednesday morning. It was a good mix of old popular songs and newer stuff that I don’t know as well. I also added a bunch of others to my queue.

Spotify playlists, on the other hand, are everywhere. Each playlist often contains dozens of songs, so they seem random and shuffled, not carefully selected. It’s not the best experience.

Even better: Apple Music considers your own tastes when recommending new playlists. When you first load the app, it asks you to name some of your favorite artists and genres. From there, it recommends playlists, albums, and singles in a special section of the app called “For You.”

Playlists are by far my favorite part of the For You section, and I can see it as the best way to discover new music through playlists organized by what I already like. As much as I love Spotify, it doesn’t do the best job of considering my tastes when recommending music.

Of course, this is only one aspect of Apple Music. Overall, I don’t think it offers enough to pass a dedicated Spotify user like me.

George L. Hernandez