Spotify Free vs. Premium: Should You Pay?

April 22, 2024

When it comes to streaming music, Spotify is a big player. But here's the thing: they offer two options, Free and Premium.

On the one hand, you can use Spotify for free and stream all songs. On the other hand, there's Spotify Premium, which costs money but promises no ad interruptions, better sound, and user experience. With a paid subscription, you have no ads, and you can also select playlists 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.

The question is: Do you really need to pay for premium features, or is Spotify free good enough? 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 551 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 $10.99/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.

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What is Spotify Premium?

What is the Spotify Premium cost? Because every user and household is different, Spotify has different Premium subscriptions. 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 2023. Spotify occasionally offers trials and promotions, so you can keep an eye out for those to experience free Spotify Premium features for a limited time.

Spotify Premium: $10.99 per month

If you want to use Spotify Premium on your own, you can buy an individual subscription. In this option, you'll pay $10.99 per month for one account. The individual premium subscription is relatively more expensive than subscriptions that you can share with family members.

Spotify Premium Duo: $14.99 per month

Can Spotify premium be shared? Yes! With Spotify Duo subscription, two people with separate accounts can listen to music. Spotify Premium Duo subscription costs $14.99 per month. With a Premium Duo subscription, the two users also get a Duo Mix. This is a new playlist, that combines the favorite music of the two users.

Spotify Premium Family: $16.99 per month

Spotify Premium Family subscription users pay $15.99 per month in 2023 (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 streaming service itself doesn't (yet) strictly check this after your account registration.

Spotify Student: $5.99 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 dollars cheaper per month. Students pay $5.99 per month for the subscription.

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As you can see, the cheapest option is to subscribe to a premium Family+ plan, where a maximum of six people can share the cost of $16.99 per month. Thus, in a Spotify Premium Family plan, one person pays only $2,83!

Where is Spotify premium cheapest?

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

Country Spotify Premium Individual $/month Monthly income USD
India $1.58 139.87
Argentina $2.06 1,030.49
Vietnam $2.54 162.39
Philippines $2.56 274.04
Brazil $2.87 699.76

Data: bit.ly/SpotifyPricesMap

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).

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Data: SavingSpot

Content

The core interface of the Spotify app is generally the same for both the Free and Premium versions. The basic layout, navigation, and features are consistent across both plans.

The music library is also exactly the same in both the free and paid options. There isn't a change in the number of songs it allows us to stream, 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. A premium account doesn't unlock new features or 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 new music available for Premium users only for two weeks after a release. So, if you wish to access all the latest releases from favorite artists, 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.

Playlists and skips per hour

Premium users might have more flexibility in creating and editing playlists, but the basic playlist creation and management functions are available to both Free and Premium users.

Probably the most annoying or the main difference between the free option and the paid one is that free users might be limited to shuffle play for some content, while premium subscribers have on-demand playback.

While a Spotify Premium subscription allows you to choose any song from any playlist to start playing whenever you want and accepts the inclusion of songs in the queue, Spotify Free plays a random song from the 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 use it sparingly. 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 full desktop app version. In this case, you can choose any song by double-clicking on the one you want, and it will be played.

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 audio advertising every time a song ends, but it is usually every fifteen or twenty minutes. These ads typically last around 15 to 30 seconds and can promote various products, services, or announcements. In addition to audio ads, you might also see visual ads within the Spotify app interface. These ads could appear in the form of banners, images, or video ads in between the elements of the app, such as playlists or the home screen.

Sound quality

Do you need a Spotify Premium account to set up higher sound 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 stream music at 320 kbit/s.

In addition, by default, in the web browser, Premium accounts have 256 kbit/s audio quality, while in the free tier, 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.

Premium subscribers can adjust audio quality settings, whereas Free users might have limited options in this regard. The quality control feature makes it possible to limit data consumption and save your mobile plan.

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, and Cross Fading! It's thus clear that the Free version has less to offer compared to the Premium.

Spotify HiFi coming up

Spotify is also planning to come with a whole new music subscription - called either Spotify HiFi or Spotify Platinum. This subscription lets you stream 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.

Music download

Premium users have the ability to download music for offline listening, which is not available to Free users.

You can download music from the Spotify premium version. This allows you to download songs and 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.

Supported devices

In essence, while both Spotify Free and Spotify Premium work on similar devices, the Premium plan offers added features and benefits that enhance the overall music streaming experience across all compatible devices.

Both Spotify Free & Premium is available on a wide range of devices, including:

  • Desktop Computers and Laptops: You can use the Spotify app on Windows, macOS, and Linux computers via web browsers or the dedicated desktop app.

  • Mobile Phones and Tablets: Spotify's mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices, allowing you to listen on the go.

  • Tablet Devices: You can also use the Spotify app on larger tablet devices, both iOS and Android.

  • Web Browsers: Spotify can be accessed through web browsers on various devices, such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.

  • Smart TVs and Streaming Devices: Some smart TVs, set-top boxes, and streaming devices have built-in Spotify apps, allowing you to listen on your TV.

  • Game Consoles: Spotify can be used on select gaming consoles like PlayStation and Xbox.

  • Car: Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, or Spotify's own Car Thing device

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 mixes or Discover Weekly are available regardless of subscription type.

Music sharing and social features

Regardless of your subscription status on Spotify, the music streaming service offers an array of impressive social features. This means that both Free and Premium users have the ability to create and share links, allowing them to post songs on their preferred social media platforms. Collaborative playlists are another standout feature that doesn't necessitate a Premium account – users can team up and curate playlists together. Additionally, linking Spotify accounts to Facebook is an option available to all users, enabling them to view their friends' listening activity and share their own musical preferences. It's worth noting that Spotify Wrapped, a popular feature, is also accessible to all users, irrespective of their chosen plan.

Should you buy Spotify Premium?

Spotify free is good enough but if you can afford to pay $10.99 monthly, you'll love streaming music ad-free, 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

PROS OF SPOTIFY PREMIUM

  • Access to over 100+ million songs, plus podcasts and audiobooks with no limitations: Premium lets you play any song in Spotify's vast library on-demand. Free users might be restricted to shuffle play in some cases, limiting their control over what they listen to.

  • Ad-free music: One of the major perks of Spotify Premium is the absence of ads. You won't have to deal with interruptions from commercials while enjoying your favorite tracks.

  • Download music and podcasts for offline listening: With Premium, you can download your favorite songs, albums, or playlists and listen to them offline. This is great for times when you don't have an internet connection or want to save on data usage.

  • Higher music quality: Premium subscribers get access to higher-quality audio streams. This means your music will sound crisper, clearer, and closer to how the artist intended it to be heard.

  • Unlimited skips: Free users are often limited in the number of skips they can use to move between songs. Premium removes this limitation, giving you the freedom to skip tracks as much as you want.

  • Exclusive Content: Some artists release exclusive content on Spotify, such as early releases or special tracks, which are often available only to Premium users.

  • Cross-Device Syncing: With Premium, you can seamlessly switch between devices without losing your place or having to search for your favorite songs again.

Transfer your playlists from and to Spotify

If you're already subscribing to other music services 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.

Migrate from and to any music services

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