Spotify is one of the most globally recognized music streaming services, and every year thousands of new users sign up to the services. One of the biggest debates that is in circulation about Spotify is whether we should all pay for Premium, or whether the free Spotify programme is good enough. What is the difference between Spotify and Spotify Premium? Here we are going to explain how they compare in quality, price and any features they may have. Although Spotify and Spotify Premium are the main packages on offer to users, there are also other small packages such as the student and family bundles.


Spotify Free, as the name would suggest, comes without a price tag, which is really appealing for all of the frugal users. If you want to subscribe to Spotify Premium, you will have to have to pay a monthly fee of £9.99. This may not seem like a lot, but over the span of a year, it costs £119.88. The question is, is Spotify Premium worth the extra money?


Spotify Free is available to the public with a small price to pay, after every few songs, you have to listen to advertisements. As with anything, nothing is completely free and this service is completely supported by advertisements, this works in the same way as on television. The application sells advertisement slots to the highest bidder, and as this is such a widely used service, they can charge the premium price to businesses. You can interface with this programme on a desktop, mobile or tablet, but the mobile device only lets you listen on shuffle mode, or on pre-made playlists. As well as this, the users are not allowed to browse through songs or click backward through the selection, which can be quite frustrating for anybody who is using it.

Premium services:

Upgrading to Spotify Premium essentially removes any of the restrictions enforced on the Spotify Free service. This means that you can listen to music as much as you like without having the interruption from advertisements, but as well as this, you can listen to music wherever, whenever and however you would like. As well as having a better interface, the Premium service also allows the user to download as many as 3,333 songs on up to three devices, which means that you can listen to the songs offline as well as online. As an addition to this, the audio quality is also far superior to that of the Free service.

Audio quality:

Not many people are aware of this, but Spotify uses three different quality settings when it is streaming music to users, all of these are in the Ogg Vorbis format (an open source compression format, which was designed as a digital replacement for MP3). The standard bitrate for songs on a mobile device is 96kps, which then jumps to 160kps for a desktop device. These are known as “standard” and “high” quality for desktop and mobile. If you subscribe and pay the monthly Premium fee, then you will be exposed to a far superior music quality, which is 320kps and is referred to as being “high quality” and “extremely high quality” for desktop and mobile devices. It seems that if a user only exposes themselves to Spotify Free, then they will be none the wiser, but if they then listen to the audio on Spotify Premium, it will be difficult to transition back to the lesser quality audio.


Although Spotify Premium comes with a price tag, it seems that the pros outweigh the cons in this instance, and if a user wants high-quality audio and full control over their usability, then it would be beneficial for them to invest in the service. Spotify Free is good, but with all of the additional features that come with Spotify Premium, £9.99 is a tempting price to pay.

(Bio: Alice Porter is a technology expert and works for the Mobile App Development company in Manchester)

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