Mobile Menu

What’s the best music streaming app? Let’s find out

Let’s settle this once and for all. What’s the best music streaming app?

Everyone has an opinion – there are SoundCloud stans, Pandora proponents, Apple Music advocates… Okay maybe I made those up, but we all have our app of choice and stand by it. All these apps have similar ratings on the app store, but is there one that really comes out on top? Let’s find out…

Brands use Relative Insight to conduct robust white space analysis. Relative’s technology pinpoints the topics, words, phrases, grammar and emotion unique to a textual data source by comparing it against a competitor. This form of competitor analysis looks beyond universal and generic terms you’d expect to see about all brands – but rather, reveals the strengths and weaknesses and distinctive descriptors individual to each brand.

For this best music streaming app analysis, we pulled thousands of customer reviews from the Apple App Store for Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Deezer, SoundCloud, TIDAL and iHeartRadio. We uploaded the file directly to Relative Insight using the Smart Uploads tool. 

Next, we ran that review data through the Heatmaps feature, which gives us a quick look at the level of difference between each brand. This visualization shows us which brand comparisons will yield the best insights. 

Image: Music App Heatmap

We can see that Pandora and Apple Music are in the highest difference percentile at 76%, while Deezer and Spotify are the least different at only 45%. Based on this information, we’re going to take a closer look at those two brand comparisons.

Most different: Pandora vs. Apple Music

Apple Music

Apple Music users complained of technical bugs and functionality issues that prevented them from seamlessly using the app. These problems ranged from slow speeds to syncing errors and unwanted skips. These ongoing issues lead to users offering their own recommendations, features and suggestions as to how the app could be improved or fixed.

Image: Apple Music Issues


With fewer technical bugs, Pandora users had much more positive feedback. When we analyzed this customer feedback data, Pandora users were more likely to mention words like best, awesome, amazing and great. Users particularly liked the simple user interface, musical diversity and curated playlists.

While response was generally positive, it wasn’t perfect. Users with free memberships complained of excessive and lengthy ad breaks between songs. They also felt pressure to switch to paid memberships to obtain features like unlimited skips. 

Image: Pandora Ad Complaints

Most similar: Spotify vs. Deezer

Through our best music streaming app competitor analysis, we found Spotify and Deezer equally likely to be given a positive review from customers. We observed the words good, great and best used to describe both apps. These superlative adjectives show us that the two competitors have dedicated and vocal followers.


These apps were equally well received, but for different reasons. Compared to Deezer, Spotify users were more likely to mention podcasts and episodes when reviewing the app. Although both apps offer podcast streaming, Spotify has positioned itself as the go-to platform for more than just music.

Image: Spotify Podcasts


Superior sound quality has allowed Deezer to stand out and outperform similar competitors in this best music streaming app analysis. Reviews were infinitely more likely to mention quality, meaning the word was not used at all in our pool of Spotify reviews. This noticeable improvement in listening experience created a loyal division of reviewers.

Deezer was often positioned in comparison to other apps, including Spotify and Pandora. The word Deezer was infinitely more likely to be mentioned in Deezer reviews, while the word Spotify was only 3.3x more likely to be mentioned in Spotify reviews. We can expect to see each app mentioned more within its own reviews – but this means that Deezer was compared to Spotify, but Spotify was not compared to Deezer. This suggests that Spotify is an industry leader and other apps are benchmarked against that standard. 

Image: Comparing Music Apps

Analyzing customer feedback within the context of direct competitors or a larger industry helps brands uncover their unique strengths and weaknesses in the eyes of the consumer. Based on this best music streaming app competitor analysis, we can see that Apple Music needs to focus on technical improvements, and Deezer could spend more marketing opportunity on showcasing their app’s top-tier streaming quality.

Webinar: Know thy enemy – the art of competitor analysis

Hosted by Relative Insight’s customer success manager, Holly Clarkson, the last Spotlight Series event of the year will demonstrate unique techniques that reveal a new way to conduct white space analysis, and give you powerful customer insights about the competitors you know about – but more importantly the ones you don’t.

Register now to hear speakers from the agency and brand showcase some of their own findings to help you start to strategize using competitor analysis in 2022.

Compare competitor reviews