Spotify Free vs Premium | Is it Worth the Upgrade?

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Spotify Free vs Premium

Spotify is by far one of the best music streaming services in the world. It comes with a ginormous library of music as well as a decent collection of podcasts with something for everyone.

Unlike services like Apple Music, Spotify provides a free, ad-enabled version of its services, which makes you wonder: Is it a good idea to pay for a premium account on Spotify?

The thing about Spotify, as with any premium service is that there are a lot of functions which are hidden and these features can only be activated if you’re using a premium version of your account on Spotify, such as

Spotify FreeSpotify Premium
Shuffle PlayShuffle Play
AdsAd Free
No Unlimited SkipsUnlimited Skips
Can’t Listen to Music OfflineListen to Music Offline
Can’t Play any TrackPlay any Track
Normal and High Quality AudioExtreme Quality Audio 

Let me take you through the major differences between Spotify Free and Premium and see if it’s worth the upgrade.

Spotify Free vs Premium

Spotify Free vs Premium

Most of us have used Spotify either on our smartphones or our laptops, it’s a great service with unlimited songs and podcasts to choose from, but there are a lot of differences between the interface of a free account and a premium one. 

These locked features can do a lot for your overall listening experience by letting you manage how and what you listen to. 

For example, with the free account of Spotify you’re only able to skip a maximum of 6 songs in an hour whereas the premium version does not have any limit and you can skip tracks endlessly.

Discovery and Social Features

Spotify Free vs Premium

Regardless whether you use a Free account or a Premium account on Spotify you’d always have the same social features and discovery of new music.

  • The best feature of Spotify is its ability to promote new music for you to listen to based on your listening history. You will have weekly and daily mixes created and updated with new suggestions for you. 
  • If you have to notify Spotify that you dislike a certain song, you can simply tap on the dislike button for the song and other tracks from the same genre will not be added to the playlists.
  • Though Spotify has a vast range of genres and other categories available at your fingertips, the Discovery page makes your experience more enjoyable with different mixes and playlists specifically curated for you based on the type of music you are into.
  • Sharing your music is made easier with Spotify, they support and in- fact encourage you to share the tracks you’re listening to onto Social Media platforms. 

Sharing some new tracks you may have heard on Spotify can help lighten up someone’s mood.

I’m going to break it down for you and list out the features that are available to you if you opt for the premium version of Spotify. 

Listen to Music Offline

Spotify Free vs Premium

Spotify is known for their wide selection of tracks to choose from but what most of you may not know is that with Spotify premium you can save the songs that you like to be played back at a later time when there’s no cell service. 

With Spotify Premium you’re able to download up to 10,000 songs that you can listen to at times when you’re either out of data for the day or are in an area where there’s no reception to go online. 

Downloading a song on Spotify Premium is rather easy, all you’d have to do is tap on the download toggle switch found next to the song’s name. With a premium membership you can download every song in your playlist, or at least the first 10,000 songs in one go and this can be played back at any time there’s no internet.

In order to download all the songs in your library, go to your library and click on songs, now tap on the download button to have all the songs downloaded. 

Spotify Free vs Premium

To enable offline mode, open the settings section and tap on playback. Now click on the Offline toggle switch to enable the offline mode feature.

Remember: None of the songs get saved on your smartphone and would be available to playback only if you have the Spotify application installed and ready to go.

There’s No Skip Limit

While listening to music using a Spotify free account, you’re only able to skip a maximum of 6 tracks per hour which is rather sad as after that you’re expected to listen to music in the order Spotify deems fit. 

With a premium account that’s not the case, you’re allowed to skip as many songs as you’d like and there’s no limit in place.

No More Shuffle-Only Mode

Spotify Free vs Premium

One of the biggest reasons to upgrade your Spotify account is to be able to play any song you want and in any order. If you have a free account with Spotify and you’re using the desktop or tablet app, you’d be able to listen only in Shuffle-Mode

With Spotify Premium on your phone, you can, for example, end the day with Metallica and Maiden without having any other type of genre disrupt the mood.

Improved Audio Quality

Spotify free allows you to listen to music at normal (96 Kbps) or high quality (160 Kbps). This is a slightly compressed format of audio quality that is good but not close to extreme quality streaming at 320Kbps that’s available only with a premium account.

Spotify Free vs Premium

320Kbps audio format allows you to experience the song in detail if you’re using high-end speakers or a hi-fi set of headphones.

Max Streaming QualitySupported Formats
Spotify Free128kbps/160kbpsAAC, Ogg Vorbis
Spotify Premium320kbpsAAC, Ogg Vorbis

To change the music quality on your smartphone you’d have to open the Spotify settings page and tap on Music Quality, then pick between Normal, High or Extreme depending on the type of music quality you want to experience. 

Remember, choosing Extreme will result in more data being consumed as compared to Normal and High.

Spotify Premium is Ad Free

Spotify Free vs Premium

Yes, one of the biggest drawbacks of Spotify free is that after every 5-6 songs there’s an ad that ruins the mood. This is not a problem if  you hold a premium account on Spotify as all the advertisements are taken off. 

Spotify plays ads between songs for free account holders because it’s a way Spotify can make some revenue on the side. These brands pay Spotify to play their ads in between songs and there’s no way around this apart from purchasing a premium account.

Some Music may not be available to Free users

Spotify pays artists for each stream, but the amount which is paid out depends on if the track is released on Spotify Free or is exclusive to Spotify Premium. 

What Spotify has done in response to this discrepancy is they have granted permission to the artists to set up a paywall for the duration of 2 weeks from the date their song releases. If the artist has signed this deal with Spotify then their tracks will be available only to Premium users for a duration of 2 weeks before being taken down.

This may be another reason why you’d opt for Spotify Premium over a free account if you’re really interested in listening to the latest releases.

Spotify Premium Plans 

Spotify Free vs Premium

Spotify offers users with four premium subscriptions and these plans are pretty sweet deals. 

  • You have the Spotify Premium Individual Subscription that costs $9.99 per month that grants access to all their premium features. This plan is applicable to a single user and is great for those who are living alone.
  • Then there’s the Premium Student plan for $4.99 per month if you’re a full-time student currently in Uni or college. This plan is great for younger users who have not started working yet and the plus point is that Student plans in the States include subscriptions to other platforms such as Hulu or ShowTime.
  • Spotify even has a plan for couples, the Premium Duo package costs $12.99 a month and works with two accounts simultaneously. This package allows you to experience Spotify’s premium features as well as gives you both the option to join a Duo Mix that can be found on the Made for you page.
  • The last plan is the Premium Family plan which is quite similar to the Premium Duo, the only criteria is that all the members of the family should live at the same address. This package can support up to 6 accounts and costs $14.99 each month. It comes with parental control features that allow you to block out explicit and unwanted songs so your children will not be exposed to them. Similar to Duo Mix, the Premium family plan enables you to access the Family Mix and all the members can have access to this playlist which is a mix of everyone’s favorite songs.

Conclusion

In the end, the winner of this complete break-down is Spotify Premium, it’s evident that with Premium you get access to many more features than a free account with Spotify.

With a Free account on Spotify you’re given a limited amount of access and have those annoying ads which can ruin your listening experience. But it’s not mandatory to upgrade your account to Premium, it depends on what kind of an experience you’re looking for.

If you’re going for a student plan, or one for the family then Spotify Premium is pretty reasonable but it may not be the same for everyone. 

Ultimately, those who opt for a Premium account on Spotify will get unlimited access to everything Spotify has to offer with no restrictions.

If you’re looking to try premium out for the first time you can opt for their free month-long trial before paying for the membership.

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