Apple Music Audio Quality in Your Tesla Compared to Spotify and Tidal

By Lennon Cihak
A look at Apple Music's audio quality
A look at Apple Music's audio quality
MacRumors/Twitter

Apple Music may be available in Tesla’s new holiday update, but don’t expect the lossless audio quality that Apple Music subscribers enjoy… at least not yet.

Tesla owner and software developer Dan Burkland recently performed some tests on the audio quality that Tesla’s in-car streaming services TIDAL, Spotify, and now Apple Music stream at in the vehicle.

Burkland tested TIDAL previously on a different Tesla software version, but with Tesla’s ever-changing software and the rollout of the holiday update, he chose to run the tests again.

Setup and Songs Used to Test

He connected his Model Y to his home's WiFi network and used a DHCP reservation, which allowed him to have the vehicle use a specific IP address. He then installed ntopng on his OPNsense firewall to monitor traffic statistics for the vehicle. After zeroing out the host stats for the Model Y, he tested a total of nine songs, including “Purple Rain” by Prince, “Foreplay” by Boston, and “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin.

Results

The results of Burkland’s tests concluded that TIDAL still offers the best listening experience. The average bitrate for TIDAL was ~1165 kbps. This isn’t entirely too shocking, as TIDAL has always championed the highest-quality audio streaming experience.

Surprisingly, Spotify’s audio quality came in ahead of Apple Music to nab second place. Burkland’s tests showed Spotify streaming at an average bitrate of ~157 kbps, while Apple Music came in at a subpar ~118 kbps.

Burkland added that he believes Apple Music is limiting bitrate for the in-car app, but a future update to Tesla’s software will hopefully resolve this. If Tesla can enable lossless streaming for Apple Music, it’ll give TIDAL a run for its money in high-fidelity streaming via the in-car app.

Check out some of Dan’s test results below, or for a complete list view his Reddit thread.

So Many Tears by 2Pac Young Lust by Pink Floyd Dancing In The Dark by Bruce Springsteen
Length (MM:SS) 3:59 3:30 4:05
Length (Seconds) 239 210 245
Est. Data Transfer @ 96 Kbps (MB) 2.80 2.46 2.87
Est. Data Transfer @ 128 Kbps (MB) 3.73 3.28 3.83
Est. Data Transfer @ 160 Kbps (MB) 4.67 4.1 4.79
Est. Data Transfer @ 192 Kbps (MB) 5.60 4.92 5.74
Est. Data Transfer @ 256 Kbps (MB) 7.47 6.56 7.66
Est. Data Transfer @ 320 Kbps (MB) 9.34 8.2 9.57
Est. Data Transfer @ 1411 Kbps (MB) 41.17 36.17 42.2
Apple Music (MB) 4.10 3.20 4.80
Apple Music (Bitrate - Kbps) 140.53 124.83 160.50
Spotify (MB) 6.70 5.80 2.90
Spotify (Bitrate - Kbps) 229.65 226.26 96.97
Tidal (MB) 27.40 21.50 30.50
Tidal (Bitrate - Kbps) 939.17 838.70 1019.82

Other Tesla Owners Are Running Similar Tests

Reddit user u/OverlyOptimisticNerd ran similar tests with a slightly different configuration. They used an iPhone 14 as a mobile hotspot, Hotspot Monitor Data Usage from Apple’s App Store, and 2019 Model 3 running version 2022.44.25.1.

During their tests, they observed the same pattern across all songs, citing that a bunch of data rolled in at the beginning of the tests and then slowly trickled through. The low data rate for Apple Music appears to align with the company’s HE-AAC codec at 64 kbps.

“It appears to buffer most or even all of the song, then pause between tracks to do it again,” writes u/OverlyOptimisticNerd. “On average, I saw ~2MB per track, with ~1.7MB during the initial burst and ~0.3MB throughout the track. This is consistent with the HE-AAC standard, as most of these songs were a little over 3 minutes in length.”

While Apple Music may come in at the lowest average bitrate of all three services tested, it's important to note that it doesn't necessarily mean it has the lowest quality. Audio quality comes down to a variety of factors, some of which are, the bitrate, whether it's a variable rate, and the efficiency of the audio codec used.

Apple Music's HE-ACC codec is optimized for low-bandwidth applications meaning that it can outperform an ACC-encoded file in lower-bandwidth situations. In the real-world Apple Music in your Tesla should sound very similar to streaming music from Spotify, but not as good as TIDAL's offerings.

Impact Report: Tesla Vehicles 8x Less Likely to Catch Fire, Batteries Degrade 15% After 200k Miles

By Karan Singh

Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy by producing products far superior to fossil fuel alternatives and sourcing and manufacturing them sustainably. Tesla released its 2023 Impact Report yesterday, discussing their ongoing impact on the environment and the improvements seen.

Displacing Fossil Fuels

In 2023 alone, Tesla’s impact on the environment through its vehicles, Powerwall, and Solar Roof has been massively impactful – Tesla customers avoided releasing the equivalent of 20 million metric tons of CO2e into the environment. That is the equivalent of 51 billion miles of driving an average internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle.

Each Tesla vehicle that is on the road avoids an average of 51 tons of CO2e emission into the environment. After just 3 years of driving, a Tesla’s lifetime emissions are lower than those of a comparable ICE vehicle. After the average lifespan of a vehicle in North America – 17 years – a single Tesla will have exceeded that value 5.5 times over.

Integrated Ecosystems

Tesla offers comprehensive ecosystems of products to address clean energy and transportation needs, from Megapack, Solar Roof, and Powerwall, to the Model S, 3, X, Y, and Cybertruck.

Tesla Solar produces power for storage in Megapacks or Powerwalls, which charge electric vehicles. Tesla also produces some of their own batteries, for both its storage applications and vehicles, enabling a complete cycle.

On the software side, products like Autobidder, Full Self-Driving, and the upcoming Robotaxi work to maximize the productivity of electricity that is stored in vehicles, helping to further displace fossil fuels in a single ecosystem of well-designed products.

Tesla's ecosystem depicted.
Tesla's ecosystem depicted.

World’s Best EVs

Tesla’s Model Y is still the best-selling vehicle in 2023, a trend likely to continue in 2024. And it’s not for little reason. It is the world’s most efficient EV, capable of running Autopilot/FSD, and is considered one of the best safety picks in both North America and Europe. Tesla’s data has also proven that they are, on average, 7.63 times safer than a traditional vehicle when running Autopilot.

Additionally, the Model Y is priced $3,000 USD below the average new vehicle in the US before the Federal EV Tax Credit – a difference of $17,000 after factoring in the credit and gas savings over 5 years.

Battery Degradation

Model 3/Y battery degradation over time
Model 3/Y battery degradation over time

Battery degradation is often brought up as a concern for EVs and the environment. Batteries fade away, become useless, and cannot be recycled. According to Tesla’s data and experience, this is far from the truth.

In fact, Tesla has found that their batteries degrade about 15% after 200,000 miles – the equivalent of the average lifetime of a vehicle. And in fact, they do even better in the cold than they do in the heat, with better degradation performance in Canada over the US.

Another interesting fact is that Tesla vehicles in particular – are 8 times less likely to be victim to a vehicle fire, compared against the US average.

Sustainable Sourcing

Sustainably sourcing materials is essential to reach Tesla’s vision of a world with reduced environmental impacts. In 2023, Tesla recovered enough battery materials to produce 43,000 Model Y RWD vehicles, while also sourcing Gigafactory Berlin with 100% renewable energy.

Overall, Tesla solar owners generated enough energy to power all Tesla locations, including all the Mega and Giga Factories, and all other facilities – over 3 times.

Tesla has also reduced water use by 25% over the last 5 years for vehicle production, marking a new milestone low – at 2.48 cubic meters of water, versus 3.37 cubic meters of water for an average ICE vehicle.

Tesla Breaks Ground on New Megafactory in Shanghai

By Karan Singh

Tesla broke ground on a new Megafactory in Shanghai’s Lingang free trade zone pilot program. This factory will be Tesla’s first foray into battery production outside of the United States, mirroring its direction in Lathrop, California.

Batteries, Not Cars

Megafactory Shanghai won’t be producing cars but rather will be producing Megapacks, which are grid-scale battery solutions that can power entire electricity grids.

Each massive Megapack battery unit, about the size of a shipping container, can deliver about 1.2 megawatts of power capacity, with 3.9 megawatt-hours of electricity. A single Megapack unit can power approximately 3,600 homes for an hour.

The Megafactory is scheduled to begin production in early 2025, with production goals of 10,000 Megapack units per year.

Sustainable Energy and Megapack

One of Tesla's Megapacks
One of Tesla's Megapacks

Tesla’s mission is more than just producing self-driving cars – it’s to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. As part of this mission, Megapack and grid-scale energy solutions are key to offset energy costs and carbon emissions when wind, solar, or hydro are at reduced capacities.

Megapack helps to maximize renewable energy use, minimize carbon use, and allow base-load capacities like nuclear power to maintain their output. Similar energy-storage solutions like pumped storage hydropower are expensive, require specific terrain features, and can take years to construct. Megapack units ship assembled, allowing for rapid installation with minimal complexity.

Lathrop vs Shanghai

Tesla’s fairly new facility in Lathrop, California is a mirror of the new facility being built in Shanghai. However, just like the differences between Fremont, Giga Texas, and Giga Shanghai, Mega Shanghai will likely incorporate new technologies to improve productivity. Additionally, it serves as a way to serve the energy market in the Indo-Pacific region, which has been at the forefront of energy development in the last decade.

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