Soundcloud vs Spotify

August 21, 2023

Today, it's easier than ever to listen to music for a relatively low cost. Spotify is one of the pioneers in the field and gives you full access to its music library for free or at a monthly charge if you want to listen ad-free. However, Spotify isn't the only free music streaming app available. Soundcloud is also a popular (and free!) service that allows creators and DJs to upload their music and share it on social networks. Spotify vs Soundcloud - which is better? Read this comparison to find it out!

And when you're ready to switch and want to take your playlists with you, you can transfer all songs from Spotify to Soundcloud or the other way round with FreeYourMusic.

Introducing Spotify

Spotify emerged from the concept of creating a music platform that would enable its users access to all the songs in the world. This innovative streaming service completely changed the way people consume music, which also strongly affected the whole music industry. Spotify is filled to the brim with content, and users can enjoy unlimited access to personalized playlists, podcasts, and videos. Spotify offers a music catalog that contains about 100 million songs. It's possible to use the free version of the app or subscribe to Premium, which allows you to avoid certain limitations. The service is available on many platforms: iOS, Android, desktop apps, and web browsers, you name it. Moreover, Spotify can be synchronized with many devices so you can enjoy the music experience anywhere.

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Introducing SoundCloud

SoundCloud, founded in 2007, takes a slightly different approach by focusing on user-generated content. It allows artists, musicians, and creators to upload their own tracks and share them with the world. Soundcloud is often seen as YouTube for audio because it enables you to upload your own music, even if it's home-recorded material. Currently, Soundcloud offers 320 million songs - it's three times more than other music streaming platforms.

Over the years, SoundCloud has evolved into a vibrant community of established and emerging artists, strongly emphasizing indie and underground music. This made Soundcloud a bit of a niche site. Unlike its competitors, it gives broad access to independent rather than commercial songs. On Soundcloud, users can find original tracks and remixes not available anywhere else.

SoundCloud is more than a streaming service - it's also a distribution platform and online community.

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Music catalog

Soundcloud has about 320 million songs, while Spotify has about 100 million. What is the reason for such a disproportion in a music catalog? Well, Spotify is the streaming platform that focuses mainly on mainstream music, whereas Soundcloud's focus is on more independent music. Everyone can upload their work to Soundcloud. Thus, the service offers a wider choice of songs; however, it doesn't mean better quality.

The presence of independent artists on Soundcloud makes this service interesting for lovers of alternative musical styles and underground culture. On Soundcloud free, users can find tens of thousands of titles and artists without labels that they wouldn't be able to discover otherwise.

Soundcloud is a perfect music distribution platform for creators who might not have mainstream recognition to showcase their work and connect with fans directly. Thus, Soundcloud is a great place to find DJ sets and music tracks that are unreleased on other platforms. But if you're into mainstream music, and you want to listen to well-known pop albums, you'll probably prefer Spotify. What is more, Spotify's music is better categorized than Soundcloud's music.

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Music discovery and podcasts

When it comes to music discovery, both apps offer a system with suggestions of musicians and composers, which you may like. Spotify has an extensive collection of all the artists you know or have heard of. Its recommendation engine is brilliant - the app creates/shows playlists and songs according to your listening habits. The catalog is full, and you will probably find the music you are looking for. In fact, you might even say that Spotify "knows" its users - and it does! The algorithm tracks your listening history to make sure each recommendation matches your preferences perfectly.

Soundcloud gathers mostly indie artists, who can upload tracks of their original music and various remixes of existing songs. Some musicians and labels don't want to stream to sites like Spotify, and Soundcloud is the perfect place for them. SoundCloud's interface is intuitive, focusing on the discoverability of new and emerging artists. Users can explore tracks through tags, related tracks, and artist profiles. The comment section below tracks facilitates direct interaction between artists and listeners, fostering a sense of community engagement.

What's more, Soundcloud tries to support independent artists with its introduction of the fan-powered royalties model, which basically means that your listening habits directly contribute to the revenue of your favorite artists. On the other side, if you have a Spotify subscription, you might pay the artists you actually never listen to.

Similar to other music services, SoundCloud allows for background streaming of songs while switching between different interfaces. This is a great feature, especially while you are browsing various artists. Perhaps one of SoundCloud's best features is its social networking model. You can keep an eye on your favorite artists, record labels, and news agencies. Just click the "Follow" button on the user's profile to follow them.

However, when it comes to music recommendations, Soundcloud doesn't have a good algorithm like Spotify. It shows new songs and artists that you should check out, but the system isn't very accurate in suggesting new tracks that you might like. Also, Soundcloud has paid recommendations, so you might see the sponsored music, even if it's not your favorite genre.

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What about podcasts?

Spotify has a massive collection of podcasts from popular speakers and content creators. When it comes to podcast content availability, Spotify is much better than Soundcloud. However, Soundcloud also isn't limited to just music, and there are exciting podcasts out there. For example, CNN and The New Yorker podcasts are available on the Soundcloud app. There are also lectures from well-known universities such as Harvard and Yale. What is more, you can subscribe to various artists or channels so that you are updated when new material is released on the service.

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What about playlists?

When it comes to playlists, there is no better music streaming service than Spotify. Both Soundcloud and Spotify let you create public and private playlists, but Spotify has a bunch of additional features such as following your friends' listening activity and making collaborative playlists on Spotify.

If you are tired of the songs in your playlists, you can use Spotify's radio function. It creates a new playlist based on the music you select. This function will introduce you to music, similar to your favorite one. So if you make a radio station based on a heavy metal playlist, Spotify doesn't play any pop song.

On the other hand, Soundcloud allows you to repost tracks on your profile, just like Retweet. If you want to organize your songs into an album or a collection, making a Soundcloud playlist is easy. Just click the "Add to Playlist" button to create a playlist and add the track. Soundcloud allows you to drag and drop songs into the playlist to reorder them. You can also change the playlist name, change the permalink, add an image, and edit the tags. What is more, Soundcloud has a great sharing tool, with which you can also share songs from your playlists via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, or email. Simply copy and paste the HTML code, and a built-in mini-player will appear.

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Artist promotion

Spotify's algorithmic playlists and personalized recommendations can significantly impact an artist's visibility. However, getting featured on prominent playlists often involves a competitive process and may favor established artists. Spotify also provides tools like Spotify for Artists that allow musicians to track their analytics, track plays, and engage with their fanbase.

SoundCloud can be a valuable platform for emerging artists to gain exposure and build a fanbase. The ease of uploading original content directly to the platform facilitates quick sharing. However, visibility on SoundCloud often relies on self-promotion and community engagement.

Free & premium subscriptions

Both Spotify and Soundcloud offer free and premium subscriptions. What are the differences? Check it out below.


Spotify offers a free tier with ads and limitations on mobile devices, and premium paid subscription plans that remove ads, enable offline listening, and offer better sound quality. Spotify Premium is the perfect subscription offer for most music fans. For $10.99 per month, users can use all Spotify services without limits. So it's possible to listen to music offline and enjoy better sound quality. Additionally, Spotify offers a Family plan for multiple users under one account, a Student discount plan, and a Duo Plan.

If you want to save your money, you can use Spotify for free with certain limitations. Only shuffle mode will be available, and you won't skip commercials. You won't be able to download tracks for offline listening. However, it's still possible to access the full catalog, listen to Spotify radio stations, and create playlists.

Spotify Family

While the single-user premium plan's value may be debatable, it's important to remember that Spotify offers a much cheaper option for families and other groups. The Spotify Family Plan costs $16.99 and includes six family members. That's about $2.80 per user if you use all six accounts.

However, there are restrictions that you must respect when subscribing to this option. All people must live at the same address or have their Spotify profile set to live at the same address.

Spotify Premium Duo

The Duo subscription only applies to the two accounts. Duo plan costs $14.99 and enables its users to listen to music without ads, use the offline mode, and access a special Duo Mix playlist. The Duo playlist is created based on songs that could appeal to both members of the household.

Spotify students

If you are a student, you can get a 50% discount on Spotify Premium, and the deal will be active for exactly one year. After that time, you can renew your Student Membership, but it can be done three times only.

All Spotify Premium subscriptions can be canceled at any time.



SoundCloud offers a free tier with limited storage and features, as well as a subscription service called "SoundCloud Go+" that provides offline and ad-free listening, higher quality audio and access to a broader music catalog.

Creators can also opt for "SoundCloud Pro" plans, which offer advanced tools for uploading and promoting their content.

Soundcloud premium for listeners:

SoundCloud Go+ gives you offline and ad-free listening to everything from mainstream releases to DJ sets and remixes. It costs $9.99/month, but comes with a 1-month free trial.

Soundcloud premium for artists:
As an artist, you can take advantage of the Next Pro plan, which starts at $8.25 per month and comes with the following perks:

  • Unlimited track uploads
  • Custom profile control including track spotlight
  • Track management tools
  • Sharing private tracks with collaborators
  • Advanced fan insights and custom listening reports
  • Exclusive partner offers from Splice and more
  • 3 free Mastering credits each month
  • Premium profile badge
  • SoundCloud for Artists:
  • Getting paid for your music across streaming services
  • Distributing your music to Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, and more
  • Promoting and pitching your music to Sirius XM and more
  • Splitting payments with collaborators

Devices & availability

You can use Spotify on iOS, Android, and Mac, and Windows. If you subscribe to Premium, you can use Spotify on various devices and control them via your mobile app. When Spotify Connect is active, a separate icon will appear. Then you can choose which device you want to use to play music. This function works with devices from Pioneer, B&O, Argon, Yamaha, Sony, and other manufacturers. Spotify Connect is compatible with over 2,000 devices from 200 different brands. The feature is also available to PC and Mac clients.

Spotify also offers Facebook integration to easily share playlists with friends or check what your friends have been listening to. Spotify supports Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Apple TV, Playstation 3/4, Xbox One, most Smart TVs, and Chromecast. Streaming to Airplay and Bluetooth devices is also possible.

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Like its main competitors, Soundcloud can be used through any web browser and applications for Android and iOS. But also on Sonos-connected speakers, Chromecast, and Xbox One.

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Audio quality

Spotify has different sound quality settings depending on the user's subscription and currently used device. Its standard bit rate for listening from a smartphone is 96 Kbps. On the other hand, when listening from your computer, the speed increases to 160 Kbps. If you subscribe to the Spotify Premium version, you will get 320 Kbps audio streaming, which is considered "high quality". Most songs available in Spotify's catalog were recorded in professional music studios; thus, the quality is usually outstanding.

Soundcloud, on the other hand, is a service where every artist can upload their compositions regardless of their quality. So, you can either come across great songs released and produced by artists or encounter phone-recorded sketches of songs. But speaking technically about Soundcloud's audio quality, the service provides only 64 Kbps. High-quality streaming is currently available to SoundCloud Go+ subscribers only (256kbps AAC).

Transfer your playlists from Soundcloud to Spotify

Today everyone wants to stay up to date and enjoy the diverse music streaming options. Thus, if you want to try a new music streaming service, you can take your music collection with you. With the FreeYourMusic app, you can transfer your playlists from Spotify to Soundcloud or Soundcloud to Spotify quickly and easily. FreeYourMusic is an innovative service, thanks to which you don't have to waste your time creating playlists from scratch every time you change the music streaming platform. Our offer is an excellent option for music lovers of all kinds, DJs, music curators, and influencers!


How can I listen to music for free?

Both Spotify and SoundCloud offer free tiers that allow you to listen to music without a subscription. However, keep in mind that these free tiers come with certain limitations, such as ads, lower audio quality, and restrictions on mobile devices.

Which is better SoundCloud or Spotify?

The choice between SoundCloud and Spotify depends on your preferences. If you enjoy mainstream music, curated playlists, and a polished experience, Spotify might be a better fit. On the other hand, if you're interested in discovering emerging artists and exploring a diverse range of user-generated content, SoundCloud could be more appealing.

Is the music on SoundCloud free?

SoundCloud offers both free and paid options. Users can listen to a vast amount of music for free on the platform.

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