Spotify Free vs. Premium: Should You Pay?

September 8, 2021

Have the old CDs, vinyl records, and cassettes been useless to you since they've lost their popularity? Are you ready to use music streaming services?

Music from all the world's artists is available on various platforms.

However, one of the best music streaming services is Spotify. It has an extensive catalog containing everything from well-known classics to new artists. Spotify is a superb choice when it comes to music discovery. It provides suggestions for playlists and new songs that suits your music taste. You'll also find podcasts and audiobooks there.

With a paid subscription, you have no ads, and you can play on any device and download music to listen offline. You can also play specific songs on all devices, and you aren't dependent on the shuffle mode.

But, how much does it really cost? Should you subscribe to Spotify Premium, or is Spotify Free enough for you? In this article, we overview the main differences between these two offers.

What is Spotify Free?

As the name suggests, Spotify Free is a non-paid option. Today, Spotify has over 210 million free users. The reason you can listen to music for free on Spotify is because the service is supported by ads. Many people find them very annoying and prefer to pay for the Premium tier, which costs $9.99/month. If you want to see what Spotify Premium has to offer, start with its 30-day trial. Also, look for promotional Spotify Premium deals. Sometimes you can get 3 months free when you sign up for a Spotify subscription.

free premium spotify

What is Spotify Premium?

What is Spotify premium like? What does Spotify premium offer? These are popular questions in music lovers' heads. With a Spotify Premium subscription, you can listen to your favorite music and podcasts unlimited, offline, and without ads. Because every user and household is different, Spotify has different Premium subscriptions. So is Spotify Premium worth it? Well, it depends on your expectations and needs. Read further to learn the prices and the main differences between Premium and Free plans.

Spotify Premium prices (US dollar)

In the overview below, you'll find the Spotify Premium prices of the moment. This is what you pay for a subscription in 2021.

Spotify Premium: $9.99 per month

If you want to use Spotify Premium on your own, you can buy an individual subscription. In this option, you'll pay $9.99 per month. The individual premium subscription is relatively more expensive than subscriptions that you can share with family members.

Spotify Premium Duo: $12.99 per month

Can Spotify premium be shared? Yes! With Spotify Duo subscription, two people with separate accounts can listen to music. Spotify Duo subscription costs $12.99 per month, although the music service would like to make this subscription one $ per month more expensive. With a Duo subscription, the two users also get a Duo Mix. This is a playlist that combines the favorite music of the two users.

Spotify Premium Family: $15.99 per month

Spotify Premium Family subscription users pay $15.99 per month in 2021 (for US users).

You can use the Family subscription with a maximum of six people, where everyone has their own account. Spotify sets the condition that all users live at the same address, but the service doesn't (yet) strictly check this after your account registration.

Spotify Student: $4.99 per month

Spotify has a special Premium subscription for higher education students. This subscription has the same features as the regular Premium account, but it's a few $ cheaper per month. Students pay $4.99 per month for the subscription.

spotify premium plans

Spotify HiFi coming up

Spotify will also come with a new subscription called Spotify HiFi in 2021. This subscription lets you listen to music without loss of quality, so at the level of a CD. At the time of writing, it isn't yet clear when and for what monthly price Spotify HiFi will be released.

Where is Spotify premium cheapest?

As you can see, the cheapest option is to subscribe to a Family plan, where a maximum of six people can share the cost of $15.99 per month. Thus, in a Spotify Premium Family plan, one person pays only $2,66!

Here’s an interesting fact: Spotify Premium prices differ around the world. So, if you live in Denmark, you’ll pay as much as $14.39/month for the individual plan but below $3 if you’re based in Indonesia. It seems that Spotify charges only what the market will bear. This is why developing countries in Asia or South America will have a lower price.

5 countries where Spotify is the cheapest

CountrySpotify Premium Individual $/monthMonthly income USD


In case you were wondering... yes, you can save money on Spotify subscriptions if you change your location. You can do it by connecting to a good VPN app and then subscribing to a Premium plan on the Spotify's web page. With the VPN service, you can take advantage of the differences in pricing around the world and enjoy a substantial discount. Here's an overview of the cost of a Spotify subscription for different countries in relation to USD (click here to open at original size).


Data: SavingSpot

Spotify Free vs. Spotify Premium - Content

The content is exactly the same in both the free and paid options. There isn't change in the number of songs it allows us to listen to, nor in the podcasts that we can hear from the streaming platform. We find them in the same way: just search for the author or song in the search engine or explore the different playlists created by default, the recommendations that we may like, or the hits of each day or week.

There is no type of variation in the content if you pay or not. Premium account doesn't unlock specific artists or anything like that. You can also go to "explore podcasts" or mark the ones you like the most as favorites in the free version.

However, there is one exception regarding available content. If you don't pay for Premium, new releases may be unavailable for you.

It's all about the money - Spotify Premium pays musicians more than Spotify Free. Thus, some artists can now set up a paywall, making their music available for Premium users only for two weeks after a release. So, if you wish to access all the newest music, this feature may be essential for you and you should pay for Spotify Premium. Also, having a paid version supports artists (because they're getting paid better). If you're curious how much does Spotify pay per stream, we've already written on this topic.

Spotify Free vs. Spotify Premium - Playlists and skips per hour

Probably the most annoying or the main difference between the free option and the paid one (if you use an app) is that you can't choose the song you want but must settle for the random mode of an album or artist.

While Spotify allows you to choose any song from any playlist to start playing it whenever you want and accepts the inclusion of songs in the queue, Spotify Free only has the Random mode for each playlist. In addition, in the Free version, you can change the song when you don't want to listen to one, but you can only do it six times an hour, so you have to select well. If you have a Premium account, you can skip all the songs you want by continuously giving "next" without any limit. Keep in mind that the skips per hour limit applies only to mobile phones and tablets. Things change when you open Spotify in the web browser or in the desktop version. In this case, you can choose a song by double-clicking on the one you want, and it will be played.

Spotify Free vs. Spotify Premium - Advertisements

Spotify Free has ads, and that doesn't happen in any of the paid Spotify plans.

It does not mean that you go to hear advertising every time a song ends, but it is usually every fifteen or twenty minutes. In addition, it allows us to go up to half an hour without ads if we choose. When you open the application, you will see a message that says, "Watch this short video, and you will have 30 minutes of uninterrupted music." This will allow us to have a good time without advertising.

Spotify Free vs. Spotify Premium - Sound quality

Do you need a Spotify Premium account to set up high quality?

Yes and no. Both Free and Premium versions have the option to choose the quality. However, with Spotify Free, the "High Quality" option is limited to 160 kbit/s.

Premium Subscribers can go up to "Very high quality" and enjoy 320 kbit/s.

In addition, by default, in the web browser, Premium accounts have 256 kbit/s audio quality, while in Free, this value is set to 128 kbit/s. So, depending on your hardware and your preferences, the high quality offered by Spotify Free might vary.

The quality control makes it possible to limit data consumption and to save your mobile plan.

Spotify Free vs. Spotify Premium - Music download

Can Spotify Premium play offline? Can you download your music on Spotify Premium?

Well, you can download music in the Spotify premium version. This allows you to create offline playlists which can be listened to on any device, whether you have an Internet connection or not. These offline playlists are stored locally on your mobile phone, and you can listen to them whenever you want until you delete them. Here's how to download songs from Spotify if you have the Premium plan.

Will Spotify premium work on a plane?

Of course, it will! If you have the Premium plan and download your favorite songs or playlist, you'll be able to listen to them on a plane or at any other place with no Internet connection. The only thing you need is a free space on your device.

Can Spotify free play offline? Can you download music on Spotify free?

In the free version, it's not possible to listen to music offline. Why? Because it's not possible to download music on Spotify free.

Spotify Free vs. Spotify Premium - Interface

Although the design of Spotify and Spotify Free is very similar, the interface changes a lot from one version to another. The reduction of options is especially notable: while in Spotify Premium, you have the Home, Explore, Search, Radio, and Your Library tabs, in the Free version, all you have is: Home, Explore, and Favorites.

At the very least, these options show you some of Spotify's coolest features: its recommendations based on your playing history, recently played tracks, playlists, and albums.

Spotify Free vs. Spotify Premium - Settings

The Configuration settings are another section where there is a noticeable change of possibilities between one version and the other. In Spotify Free, you are only allowed to check the amount of mobile data used and the space occupied by the application. In addition, you can set a monthly data limit from 250MB to 3GB in more or less proportional sections. If you have a premium account, there is the Data Saving mode, Offline mode, Filters, Volume levels, Audio quality, integration of tools such as Behind the lyrics, Social options, and more! It's thus clear that the Free version has a lot less to offer compared to the Premium.

Spotify Free vs. Spotify Premium - Smart speaker compatibility

Spotify stopped allowing its "free" subscribers to send content to Google smart speakers. In addition, in February 2021, it was announced that Spotify removed the option that allowed to send audio from the phone to Google Home.

Also, Spotify Free doesn't allow listening to music remotely, via connected devices, such as a Chromecast, the television, a speaker with WiFi, or the computer connected with the same session. Spotify Connect doesn't exist in the Free version.

Spotify Free vs. Spotify Premium - Personalized playlists and curated content

Both personalized playlists and curated content work the same for Spotify Premium and Free. Of course, it doesn't apply to Family/Duo mixes because these playlists are available to Premium users only. So, even if you're not paying a single cent, the app still displays your favorite music according to your music taste and habits. In addition, daily Mix collections or Discover Weekly mix are available regardless of subscription type.

Spotify Free vs. Spotify Premium - Music sharing and social features

Whether or not you have a Spotify Premium subscription, this music streaming service provides you with great social features. So, both Free and Premium users can create and share links and then post songs to their favorite social media platforms. Users can also co-create playlists with each other, and such collabs also don't require having a Premium account.

Should you buy Spotify Premium?

Spotify free is good enough but if you can afford to pay $9.99 monthly, you'll love streaming music with Spotify Premium (you can also get it for a fraction of this cost, as we discussed in this article). From our experience, once you go Premium, you’ll never look back! You’ll get used to ad-free listening and unlimited skips.

why go spotify premium


  • Access to over 80+ million songs, plus podcasts and audiobooks
  • Ad-free music
  • Download music and podcasts for offline listening
  • Higher music quality
  • Unlimited skips

Transfer your playlists from and to Spotify

If you're already subscribing to other music service and want to switch to Spotify, you can quickly transfer your playlists to the new platform. FreeYourMusic moves your songs, albums and playlists across streaming services.

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