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Difference Between Spotify and SoundCloud

The music industry is witnessing a massive surge in the usage of mobile apps as an important distribution platform. Among the most successful music streaming apps are Spotify and SoundCloud. Today, we can carry music with us anywhere we want and it’s easier than ever to listen to music on-the-go. But with so many music streaming platforms out there, it’s hard to pick one from another.

What is Spotify?

Spotify is one of the pioneers of the music streaming space. Spotify is the world’s largest music streaming platform that allows its users access to over 70 million songs. Spotify has revolutionized the way we consume music, which in turn, impacted the entire music industry. Spotify can be synchronized with multiple devices so you can enjoy your favorite music anytime, anywhere – be it on your daily commute to office, in a cafeteria, or a stroll down to the beach. Spotify first launched in 2008 as an invite-only service in selected European countries, offering access to millions of tracks for free in exchange for listening to a few advertisements in between. The idea was to get instant music so you could play tracks right away, as if you were playing a CD. Spotify helped drive this shift. 

What is a SoundCloud?

SoundCloud is an online audio distribution and music sharing platform that hosts a global community of artists, bands, DJ artists, and audio creators. It is a fantastic site for posting your tracks, remixes and DJ sets. It enables you to share music you create with others on a social network, and you can listen to others’ creations as well. You can connect with other users by “following” them in the same way you do on other social networking platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Thanks to its creative “dropbox” system, you can share your songs with other users, who might want to hear them. One key feature of SoundCloud is that you can embed sound files in Twitter and Facebook posts, which allows you to access them via unique URLs. SoundCloud was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 2007 by Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss.

Difference between Spotify and SoundCloud

Music Platform 

– Spotify is a music streaming and media service provider that lets you search for music and hear it streamed to you from the Internet. It helps make instant accessibility to all music possible, whether you’re on your mobile device or desktop computer. SoundCloud is an online audio distribution and music sharing platform that allows you to share the songs you created with others on a social network, and also get to listen to their creations. SoundCloud is like a social network of music.

Music Library 

– The first major difference between the two is who hosts the most number of songs. Spotify might be the more popular media streaming platform out there, but SoundCloud surely boasts a massive music catalogue, offering over 265 million music tracks, including from DJs and audio creators. SoundCloud also hosts the world’s largest community of artists, DJ artists, bands and audio creators. Spotify, on the other hand, has about 70 million songs.

Sound Quality

 – The free tier of Spotify defaults to a fixed low bitrate of 96 kbps for mobile devices, but you can bump it up to a maximum of 160 kbps on desktop. This is what Spotify calls “Normal. Premium subscribers can enjoy high-quality audio with 320 kbps bitrate on desktop. It uses Ogg Vorbis format for tracks, resulting in a high-quality file that doesn’t require much bandwidth. SoundCloud allows you to upload more file types than anywhere else. The high-quality audio available on SoundCloud is encoded in 256 kbps AAC, which is equivalent to an mp3 audio encoded in 320 kbps.

Music Discovery

 – Spotify surely shines in this category, since Spotify has the best algorithms when it comes to music discovery. The algorithm recommends new music for you that are in line with your interests. Spotify also has playlists such as the popular “Discover Weekly” playlist which plays your favorite tracks every week or the tracks that you never heard before that you’ll like. SoundCloud also recommends new artists for you, they algorithm is not as much refined as Spotify’s when it comes to music discovery.

Spotify vs. SoundCloud: Comparison Chart


While SoundCloud has much more songs than Spotify, both have enough songs that you’ll probably never be able to listen to in your entire lifetime. That being said, Spotify has less number of songs because Spotify is mostly about mainstream music and popular music. SoundCloud, on the other hand, is focused on independent music and the music created by people like you. For example, if you are an artist, you can create a song in your own home studio and upload it to SoundCloud. If you love independent music, you’re better off with SoundCloud. But the, it’s all about personal preferences.

Which one is better SoundCloud or Spotify?

Spotify is a mainstream music streaming service, whereas SoundCloud is also a mainstream music streaming service but they also promote independent artists and music creators alike. Spotify has relatively more features, but you can’t upload music directly to Spotify. 

Does Spotify own SoundCloud?

No, Spotify does not own SoundCloud. 

What is SoundCloud good for?

SoundCloud is a great music sharing platform that hosts a global community of artists, bands, DJ artists, and audio creators. The best thing about SoundCloud is that it promotes independent artists and music creators who upload their original music and remixes of existing songs on the platform.

Do you need to pay for SoundCloud?

With the free account, you can start streaming music and listen to things for free, but you’ll be restricted by ads. If you want to go ad-free, you can start with a basic plan at $5.99 per month.

Should I start with SoundCloud?

SoundCloud is relatively cheaper than Spotify, but you don’t get access to a full catalog of music. If you love independent music and the kind of music created by people like you and other less-popular content creators, then SoundCloud is just thing for you.

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References :

[0]Watkins, Craig S. Don't Knock the Hustle: Young Creatives, Tech Ingenuity, and the Making of a New Innovation Economy. Massachusetts, United States: Beacon Press, 2019. Print

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[4]Image credit: 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

[5]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spotify_Badge_(large).png

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