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Switching Your Tunes: Transferring Your Apple Music Library to Spotify

Making the switch from Apple Music to Spotify doesn't mean losing your playlists and library. This guide provides tips for transferring albums, artists, playlists and more between streaming services using Spotify's direct transfer tool, third party apps like SongShift or manual export through iTunes

By: Aleksey Makohon Date: 10 / 22, 2023
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Music streaming has taken over as the primary way we listen to our favorite songs and discover new artists. The two dominant players in this streaming game are Apple Music and Spotify, which have amassed huge libraries of over 70 million tracks each.

While both services offer ad-free listening, music downloads, curated playlists, and personalized recommendations, you may find yourself wanting to jump ship from one to the other. As an Apple Music user for years, you may have built up substantial playlists and libraries that you don’t want to lose when switching over to Spotify.

The good news is, you don’t have to start rebuilding your music collection from scratch. There are several methods to transfer your Apple Music playlists, albums, and songs over to a shiny new Spotify account. In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of making the switch while keeping your music library intact.

Why Make the Leap from Apple Music to Spotify?

First, let’s look at some of the key reasons you might want to transfer your tunes over from Apple Music to Spotify:

  • You're switching ecosystems. If you recently moved from iPhone to Android, transferring your Apple Music favorites to Spotify allows you to keep your playlists while still using Spotify as your music service on an Android phone. No need to juggle two music apps across different devices.
  • Spotify has features Apple Music is missing. Spotify offers enhanced social integration, allowing you to easily see what friends are listening to and share playlists. Apple Music trails in music discovery features and algorithms for personalized playlists.
  • You want a unified music library. If your family uses a mix of Apple Music and Spotify, transferring your personal Apple Music account can bring everything under one roof for simpler shared listening.
  • You're enticed by Spotify's free tier. While Apple Music doesn't have a free ad-supported version, Spotify allows free listening with ads. Transferring your library gives you access to it on Spotify's free tier after your trial ends.
  • You prefer Spotify's sharing and integration options. Spotify makes it easy to share tracks and playlists to social media. It also allows embedding tracks and playlists anywhere around the web. Apple Music trails behind in seamless social integration and embeddable playlists.

Switching between music streaming apps doesn't have to mean losing all your favorite albums, artists, and playlists. With the right method, you can seamlessly transfer the essentials from Apple Music over to Spotify to pick up where you left off.

Ways to Transfer Apple Music to Spotify

Migrating Playlists Between Music Streaming Services with Third-Party Apps

One of the easiest ways to transfer your Apple Music library to a shiny new Spotify account is using a third-party app to do the heavy lifting. These music transfer platforms act as a bridge between the two streaming services, matching up songs and porting over playlists for you.

Apps like SongShift, FreeYourMusic, Soundiiz, and Tune My Music are designed specifically for shuffling your playlists and favorites between different music streaming platforms. The process is largely automated, saving you from having to manually rebuild all your custom playlists from scratch.

How Do Music Transfer Apps Work?

The basic process behind third-party transfer apps is:

  1. You connect both your Apple Music and Spotify accounts to the transfer app.
  2. The app analyzes your Apple Music library and matches songs to Spotify's catalog.
  3. You select which playlists or albums you want to move over to Spotify.
  4. The app transfers the songs and recreates the playlists within your Spotify account.

The transfer is based on song name, artist, album, and other metadata, rather than direct API transfers between the platforms. This allows the apps to transfer playlists between any music services, not just Apple to Spotify.

The Pros: Why Use a Third-Party Transfer App?

Here are some of the advantages of using a music transfer service:

  • It's fast - The transfer is largely automated, so it's much faster than manually recreating playlists or searching for each individual song again.
  • No limits on transfers - Most third-party apps don't limit the number of songs or playlists you can transfer. You can quickly move your entire Apple Music library.
  • Works with multiple music services - Apps like SongShift support transfers between dozens of platforms, so you can take your playlists anywhere.
  • Can transfer playlists in bulk - Unlike manual song matching, you can transfer entire playlists seamlessly in one go.

Potential Drawbacks to Consider

However, there are a few downsides:

  • Not every song will match perfectly - Due to licensing restrictions, some songs may not port over, requiring manual replacement.
  • Playlists may need re-ordering - The song order sometimes gets shuffled around in the transfer process.
  • Costs money for premium features - Some advanced capabilities require a paid subscription for full library access.
  • Can take significant time for huge libraries - Transferring thousands of songs in dozens of playlists will naturally take hours.

Overall, using a third-party music transfer app provides the smoothest path to getting your Apple playlists and favorites migrated over into your new Spotify account. Just be prepared for minor hiccups in the process.

Manually Exporting Your Apple Music Library to Rebuild in Spotify

If you want more granular control over transferring your Apple Music playlists and songs to Spotify, you can go the manual route. This involves exporting your Apple Music content, then uploading it to Spotify and reconstructing your library there.

Export Your Apple Music Library from iTunes

To get your Apple Music content off the service, you'll need to use iTunes. Here's how to export your library:

  1. Open iTunes on your computer and sign into your Apple ID account.
  2. Go to Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer. This removes license restrictions.
  3. Navigate to File > Library > Export Library and select the playlists, songs, albums etc. you want to export.
  4. Choose an export location on your computer to save the files. Your content will be exported as XML files.
  5. You can also right click on playlists and songs and select Export to export them individually.

This will create files on your computer containing the metadata and listings for your Apple Music content.

Rebuilding Your Library in Spotify

Next, it's time to transfer the exported files into your Spotify account:

  1. Open the Spotify desktop app and ensure you're signed into the account you want to transfer music to.
  2. Go to Local Files and choose Add a Source to add the folder where your exported Apple Music files are saved.
  3. Spotify will index the local files so you can view them within your library. Right click on songs to add them to playlists.
  4. Alternatively, you can search for each song manually in Spotify to add it to your new library.
  5. Recreate your Apple Music playlists by adding each song individually from your local files or Spotify's catalog.
  6. You can also export playlists as text files from Apple Music, then use these to rebuild the playlists in Spotify using search.

While manual export and transfer takes more effort, it allows you to curate exactly which parts of your Apple Music library make it over to Spotify. Just be ready to put in time refinding and adding each song manually.

Spotify's New Direct Apple Music Transfer Feature

Recently, Spotify unveiled an official migration tool that lets you directly transfer your Apple Music playlists and library into Spotify.

This new direct transfer option provides a native solution for bringing your music from Apple over to Spotify, no third party app required. Here's how Spotify's Apple Music transfer works:

How Spotify's Transfer Feature Works

  1. Open Spotify and go to the Transfer Playlists option under Settings.
  2. Log into your Apple Music account when prompted.
  3. Select which Apple Music playlists you want to move over.
  4. Spotify matches and transfers the songs in the selected playlists.
  5. Your Apple Music playlists and tracks will now be available in Spotify.

The Benefits of Spotify's Direct Transfer

Spotify's native Apple Music transfer tool offers a few advantages:

  • Seamless transfers - No need to rebuild playlists manually or rely on matching algorithms. Direct transfer syncs playlists intact.
  • No limits - Transfer unlimited playlists and songs from Apple Music.
  • It's free - No need to pay for a third-party app subscription to transfer your library.
  • One-click transfers - Once linked, start transfers with one click. Much faster than manual exporting and matching.

Where Spotify's Transfer Tool Falls Short

However, there are some limitations to be aware of:

  • Matching gaps - Licensing issues will still prevent some tracks from transferring.
  • Apple libraries excluded - Only playlists transfer over, not entire libraries, favorites, or listening history.
  • Reorder playlists - The song order in transferred playlists may need fixing.
  • No automation - You have to manually select each playlist to move over.

Overall, Spotify's direct Apple Music transfer provides a simpler option for subscribers of both services to shift playlists. But for power users with expansive libraries, third-party apps may still offer more robust migration tools.

Top Tips for a Seamless Music Library Transfer

When migrating your tunes from Apple Music over to Spotify, there are bound to be some hiccups in the transfer process. Here are some handy tips to help ensure your library shift goes off without a hitch:

Dealing with Unmatched Songs

Due to licensing restrictions, you'll likely have at least a few tracks that fail to transfer over from Apple Music to Spotify. When this happens, you have a few options:

  • Search manually in Spotify - Dig into Spotify's massive catalog to re-find missing songs and add them into transferred playlists.
  • Check for cover songs - If an original won't transfer, look for a cover version on Spotify to replace it.
  • Consider buying unavailable songs - You can purchase tracks missing on Spotify from stores like iTunes or Amazon Music.
  • Live without them - As a last resort, you may need to leave behind unavailable songs when shifting services.

Carrying Over Your Listening Stats

Platform transfers will reset listening statistics like play counts. But services like Last.fm can help carry data over:

  • Connect Apple Music and Spotify to Last.fm - This will record plays from both services in one profile.
  • Check your top artists and tracks - Consult Last.fm for your top Apple Music songs and artists before transferring so you know what to prioritize adding.

Test Transfers before Deleting Apple Music

Before canceling your Apple Music subscription, be sure to test that the transfer worked properly by:

  • Sampling transferred playlists - Scan through playlists to check if any songs are missing.
  • Looking for duplicates - Check if the same songs transferred over multiple times.
  • Searching your profile - Dig into your Spotify profile to ensure all libraries, favorites, and followers are carried over correctly.

Back Up Your Apple Music Libraries

To be safe, you should back up your full Apple Music library locally before attempting the transfer:

  • Export libraries - Use iTunes to export your full Apple Music content as a just-in-case measure.
  • Make a playlist list - Manually record all your Apple Music playlists in a document to ease rebuilding.
  • Document libraries - Note down album and artist collections you want to easily find again.

With some diligence and these handy tips, you can feel confident migrating your music world from Apple Music over to Spotify.

Apple Music vs Spotify: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Each

When debating whether to undertake the transfer from Apple Music to Spotify, it's important to compare the key features and capabilities of each service. Here's an overview of some of the core pros and cons to consider:

Pros & Cons of Apple Music

Pros:

  • Seamless iOS integration - Excellent synchronization with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc.
  • Human curation - Playlists and recommendations are handpicked by actual editors and experts.
  • Siri integration - Ask Siri to play music and control playback.
  • iTunes integration - Apple Music syncs seamlessly with existing iTunes libraries.

Cons:

  • Limited social features - Can't view what friends are playing or directly share tracks.
  • Fewer discovery tools - Less personalized recommendations and algorithms compared to Spotify.
  • No free tier - Must pay for a subscription to use Apple Music.

Pros & Cons of Spotify

Pros:

  • Playlists algorithms - Provides tailored daily playlists based on listening patterns.
  • Social sharing - See what friends are playing in real-time and share music.
  • Music discovery - Expansive tools like Discover Weekly for finding new music.
  • Free ad-supported tier - Ability to use a free account with ads.

Cons:

  • No Siri support - Can't control Spotify via voice commands.
  • Device fragmentation - Spotify integration varies across different hardware.
  • Sound quality - Audio bitrate slightly lower than Apple Music.

Key Takeaways

  • Apple Music shines for iOS and Siri integration but falls short on music discovery.
  • Spotify offers more community features but Apple provides better human curation.
  • Consider transfer tips if migrating a large Apple Music library to Spotify.

Weigh your personal priorities to pick the service that best fits your listening preferences and habits. For many, getting the best of both worlds makes transferring from Apple Music to Spotify worth the effort.

FAQ

How do I transfer Apple Music to Spotify for free?

The easiest free option is to use a free trial of a third-party app like SongShift. You can transfer a limited number of songs without paying. Manual export from iTunes is also free, but more time-consuming.

Is Spotify better than Apple Music?

It depends on your preferences. Spotify has better social integration, music discovery, and free listening with ads. But Apple Music offers deeper iOS integration, human-curated playlists, and no ads. Try out both to see which you prefer.

How do I import music to Spotify?

You can import local music files into Spotify via the desktop app. Just go to Local Files > Add a Source and select your music folder. You can then add these songs to Spotify playlists and libraries.

How do I transfer Apple Music playlists to Spotify?

Use a third-party app like SongShift or FreeYourMusic to match Apple Music playlists and transfer them to Spotify. Or manually export playlists from iTunes and recreate them by searching for each song again in Spotify.

Does Spotify have all the same songs as Apple Music?

The Spotify and Apple Music catalogs are very similar, each with over 70 million tracks. But some songs are exclusive or restricted on either platform due to licensing limitations. Transferring libraries will likely lose some tracks.

Can I transfer my Apple Music followers?

Unfortunately you can't directly transfer followers from Apple Music to Spotify when you switch services. You'll have to rebuild your follower base manually by finding profiles and re-following friends and family.

How long does it take to transfer Apple Music to Spotify?

It depends on the size of your library and method used. Using a third-party app, transfers usually take 2-5 hours. Manual export and upload can take 10+ hours for very large libraries. Spotify's direct transfer is fastest at 1-2 hours.

Conclusion

Jumping from Apple Music to Spotify doesn't have to be a painful process - with the right tools and know-how, you can seamlessly shift even the most expansive music libraries.

Third-party apps like SongShift provide a smooth automated transition by matching and transferring playlists for you. Or you can manually export and recreate your library for more granular control. Spotify's direct transfer feature offers official integration, while Last.fm can help carry over listening stats.

Consider your priorities and preferred features to determine if migrating from Apple to Spotify is the right move for your listening needs. And invest time testing transfers and backing up libraries to avoid losing tracks in the shuffle.

While challenging licensing and platform barriers exist, it's now easier than ever to bring your music fandom from one streaming service to another. Follow these tips to make the transfer as tuneful as possible.

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