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Difference between Spotify Premium and Spotify Free

Difference between Spotify Premium and Spotify Free

Being one of the best ways to listen to music on multiple devices, Spotify has established itself as one of the most favored music and video streaming services around the world. Not only it gives you unlimited access to millions of songs, but also provides personal recommendations and pre-made playlists to cater to every budget and lifestyle.

There are basically two main tiers of Spotify subscription plan: Free and Premium. You can access the huge catalog of over 30 million songs, regardless of your subscription plan, according to Spotify. However, only basic features are free with adverts and some limitations, while additional features like Spotify Connect, offline access, music streaming quality, and Shuffle mode are limited to only premium users.

To provide a more tailored listening experience, Spotify put some restrictions and limitation in place for the free subscription plan, while providing unlimited ad-free access to the premium users. This article mainly compares the two Spotify subscription plans from various aspects such as price, features, and streaming quality.

Spotify Free vs. Spotify Premium

If you just care about the music and those annoying ads don’t bother you or the audio quality doesn’t mean much, you can for the Spotify Free plan. That will do just fine. Unless you don’t want to compromise on the sound quality, go for the premium plan. Well, besides the higher sound quality, the premium Spotify plan offers a plethora of features including offline support, Spotify Connect, and more. Let’s take a look at the differences between them in detail.

1. Price

The first and probably the biggest difference between Spotify Free and Premium plan is the cost. While, Spotify Free, as the name suggests, is absolutely free of cost for everyone, the Spotify Premium service will cost you $9.99 a month. Students will get 50 percent discount on the premium plan, making the subscription at $4.99. The premium plan will offer unlimited access to over 30 million songs. Users can also try a free one-month trial for the premium plan before subscribing it.

2. Ads

You can access and listen to millions of songs in the Spotify Catalog, but be prepared to get interrupted by the annoying ads, if you choose to go for the Spotify Free plan. After every one or two tracks, a short advert or two will be played that will interrupt your flow and disrupt your listening experience. Spotify Premium, on the other hand, allows you to enjoy music without any interruptions by removing all adverts from the tracks, regardless of the device you’re using.

3. Accessibility

Some tracks won’t even play in the free plan and you’re bound to listen to music only in the Shuffle mode or pre-made playlists while using the mobile app (both iOS and Android). But, of course, you can use the desktop and web interfaces to enjoy a hassle-free listening experience with access to millions of tracks and playlists. Premium, on the other hand, provides unlimited access to millions of songs without any restrictions, which means you can listen to any song or playlist at any time, regardless of whether you’re using the mobile app or the desktop interface.

4. Sound Quality

Sound quality also differs a lot in both the Spotify plans, which eventually affects the overall listening experience. Generally, Spotify uses three different sound quality settings for audio streaming in the Ogg Vorbis format. It provides 96 kbps as the standard bitrate for mobile devices, which jumps to 160 kbps for desktop and web interfaces ‘standard’ and ‘high quality’ for mobile. If you opt for the Premium subscription plan, you’ll get ‘high quality’ for desktop, which is 320 kbps and ‘extreme quality’ for mobile users. Premium users will automatically get a better listening experience with higher sound quality.

5. Offline Access

Another major difference between the free and premium plan is offline access. In the free plan, you always need to stay online to listen to music and you cannot download tracks to play offline. Spotify Premium, on the other hand, allows you to download or sync up to 3,333 songs on all the three devices. You can save any album or playlist in the quality you want for offline listening.

6. Other Features

The Spotify Premium subscription offers a lot more, such as access to Spotify Connect, which allows you to expand your music streaming service beyond the device you use to listen to music. You can control exactly how and where your favorite music plays by using multiple devices. You can instantly switch to your speaker from your mobile without interrupting playback, making seamless transitions between your device and wireless speakers and beyond.

Spotify Free Spotify Premium
Provides free access to Spotify catalog with no cost at all. Premium subscription costs $9.99 a month prior to one-month free trial ($4.99 for students).
Plays short adverts every one or two tracks, interrupting your perfect listening experience. Premium offers ad-free listening experience without any interruption.
Access to only Shuffle mode or pre-made playlists in mobile devices, without any restrictions in desktop and web interfaces. Provides full access with no restrictions, regardless of the device you’re using.
You need to stay online to listen to music at all times. It provides offline listening experience with unlimited skips.
Provides 96 kbps as the standard bitrate for mobile and 160 kbps for desktop and web interfaces. Provides ‘high quality’ for desktop and ‘extreme quality’ for mobile with 320 kbps bitrate.
Doesn’t support Spotify Connect. Features Spotify Connect which controls the way your music plays across multiple devices.
Access is restricted depending on the device. Allow you to play any track at any time without any limitations.


Both the Spotify subscription plans have their fair share of pros and cons. If the sound quality doesn’t bother you much and you’re fine with the ads interrupting your listening session every now and then, the free subscription will do just fine. The Spotify Premium, on the other hand, is meant for the true music enthusiasts who cannot compromise on the sound quality and in fact, prefer high-quality music without those annoying ads. Premium is probably the perfect investment for the right enthusiast who knows his/her music.

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References :

[0]Miller, Michael. Sams Teach Yourself Spotify in 10 Minutes. Indianapolis: Sams Publishing, 2012. Print

[1]Gilmour, Kim. Spotify For Dummies. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Print

[2]Stonehem, Bill. Spotify for Seniors: An Easy Guide the Best Features. North Charleston: CreateSpace, 2016. Print

[3]"Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jaykogami/12378014904"

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