YouTube Music vs Spotify 2023

October 23, 2023

These days, most people use some kind of music streaming service, but which one is the best? In this article, we want to review YouTube Music and compare it to Spotify. Each of these two has its advantages and disadvantages. Youtube Music vs Spotify: which streaming app should you choose? Read further to find out!

Spotify: A Genuine Leader

Spotify is one of the pioneers of the business. The company was created by the Swedes Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon to fight piracy. The solution was to offer a free streaming service in exchange for listening to and watching ads and skipping a limited number of songs.

Spotify took the opportunity to forge a solid reputation and, above all, to become the most popular music streaming service. As of 2023, the Spotify platform is available in 183 countries (out of 195 countries in the world today). More than 518 million people use Spotify worldwide.

The platform works on most systems (iOS, Android, web player, Windows, macOS, Linux, and game consoles) and can be used with Bluetooth speakers. These functions allow you to efficiently juggle from one application to another while enjoying your favorite songs, playlists, and suggestions.

Spotify app has a significant advantage over many other music streaming services of having a free tier. This smart move by the Swedish music giant is all about attracting new users and nudging folks to level up to its Premium offer.

YouTube Music: Google's new hope

Unlike its rival Apple, Google is still developing in the field of music streaming. After Google Play Music launched in 2011, which has never really convinced users (the American giant has never communicated its number of subscribers) - Google is trying its luck again with YouTube Music. While the two offers have existed simultaneously for a long time, the new formula has replaced Google Play Music at the end of 2020. This change allows Google to offer a more straightforward strategy with a single music streaming platform. But is YouTube Music worth subscribing to?

With the dedicated YouTube Music app, Google can finally reach new heights when it comes to music distribution. YouTube Music has a great choice of music, and the platform indicates that it has "thousands of playlists, millions of official titles, albums, radios" as well as music videos. This young and ambitious service blends audio and video into its offer.

The YouTube Music app is available on Android and iOS. However, there isn't an (official) desktop application for Windows or macOS: you will have to be satisfied with the web version.

Sound Quality


Spotify uses the free Ogg Vorbis format with a speed that will vary depending on your offer and chosen options. Spotify explains that the standard quality of the desktop app is the Ogg Vorbis format, 160 kbit / s. Premium subscribers can enjoy high encoding at 320 kbit / s. On iOS or Android, smartphones, and tablets, Spotify offers differs when it comes to audio quality:

  • Low: a bit rate of approximately 24 kbit / s (HE-AACv2 format).

  • Normal: a bit of around 96 kbit / s (Ogg Vorbis format).

  • High: a bit rate of 160 kbit / s (Ogg Vorbis format).

  • Very high: a bit rate of 320 kbit / s (Ogg Vorbis format).

  • Automatic: varies depending on your network connection

Spotify offers AAC format up to 256 kbit / s (128 Kbits / s for Spotify Free) if you use the web player. Note that the higher the quality of the streaming, the more data consumption is needed. Therefore, whenever possible and depending on your plan, it's best to opt for the highest configuration to enjoy the best quality.

In 2021 Spotify annouced the plan to introduce HiFi audio. Despite the buzz, as of today, it's like waiting for that favorite band to drop a new album – we're still on the edge of our seats.


When it comes to YouTube Music sound quality, the music service offers three audio quality options:

  • Low: bit rate up to 48 kbit / s for AAC files (takes up less space / uses less data)

  • Normal: (default setting): up to 128 kbit / s for AAC files

  • High: up to 256 kbit / s bit rate for AAC files (better audio quality for YouTube Music, takes up more space / uses more data)

  • Always high: (via Wi-Fi) which keeps high quality even if the connection is poor ( 256 kbit / s bit rate for AAC files)

To sum up: Spotify offers a better sound quality in the paid plan. Unless you're an audiophile, it should be enough. Even though Spotify promises to deliver Spotify HiFi with lossless, CD-quality audio, we might wait a while for it to come to fruition.



Compared to YouTube Music, Spotify has much more ads and commercial breaks in the free version. There is also a limited number of times that you can skip tracks, and you can only listen to playlists on shuffle. The free version offers the same music and you get access to the whole Spotify library. However, the audio quality is capped at 160kbps and no music download for offline listening is allowed.

To take advantage of all the functionalities of Spotify, you must pay $10.99.

It allows you to listen to the titles of your choice without advertisements and skip as many songs as you want. Spotify Premium also gives access to offline listening (the ability to download songs) and the highest sound quality.

Recently, the Swedish company created a Duo Premium formula at $14.99 per month. This subscription, specially designed for couples, allows you to have two Premium accounts if you live in the same house. Moreover, Duo Premium users can find the same advantages (stream music without ads, offline mode, etc.) with the addition of a Mix Duo playlist that brings together songs from the musical tastes of both users.

Spotify also has a Family offer which costs $16.99 per month, and six people can use it. In this case, each user will have his account. Spotify Premium's Family Play also offers access to Spotify Kids.

The Family Premium and the Duo Premium offer are reserved for people living in the same house.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that Spotify also has a Student offer for $5.99 per month.

YouTube Music

YouTube Music is a subscription-based app. YouTube Music's free option is available but only as a one-month trial. To download music and play songs in the background, you must buy a Premium version of YouTube Music, which costs $10.99 per month. With this package, you can also choose between listening to music only or displaying the clip of the song (if available).

YT Music offers an ad-free family subscription for $16.99 per month, and the plan can be used by up to six accounts. There is also a student's Premium, which costs $5.49. What's really interesting is the plan providing access both to YouTube Music and YouTube Premium. Paying just $2 per month more, users can access all of YouTube Music Premium features and play regular YouTube videos without ads. This subscription costs $13.99 per month ($17.99 per month for families and $6.99 per month for students).

To sum up: Spotify and YouTube Music have the same pricing for the individual plan ($9.99) and Family ($16.99). YouTube Music has a cheaper Student plan than Spotify ($5.49 vs $5.99) For $2 extra, you can get access to both YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium. This is a no-brainer for anyone considering paying for a YouTube subscription (which comes with no ads, background listening, and offline listening).

Library and Content

Both Spotify and YouTube Music offer unique features that cater to different aspects of the music experience. Let's take a closer look at their music libraries and what sets them apart.


Spotify has become synonymous with music streaming, boasting an extensive music library that caters to a wide range of tastes. With millions of tracks spanning various genres, from classic hits to the latest chart-toppers, Spotify offers an impressive array of options for music enthusiasts. Spotify users enjoy over 100 million tracks, 5 million podcast titles, and 350,000 audiobooks on Spotify.

Speaking of which, what truly sets Spotify apart is its integration of podcasts. Whether you're into true crime, comedy, self-improvement, or niche interests, Spotify's podcast collection is an additional treasure trove waiting to be explored. Spotify shines with its podcast selection, offering a platform for creators to share stories, insights, and entertainment beyond the realm of music. It's the perfect companion for multitasking, whether you're commuting, working out, or just relaxing at home.

YouTube Music

YouTube Music's library boasts a diverse selection of tracks, and its integration with the larger YouTube platform means you can stumble upon rare tracks, live performances, and covers that may not be available on other music streaming services.

When it comes to music catalogs, both YouTube Music and Spotify have a large selection to choose from, and it's not hard to find something cool to listen to on either of the two platforms. But where YouTube Music marks a point, at least in this area, is thanks to exclusive content such as concerts, live performances, instrumentals, unreleased tracks and remixes not found on other platforms in the world.

Granted, Spotify hosts concerts and live events that are then available on-demand, but that's nothing compared to the YouTube platform. This is why when you transfer playlists from YouTube Music to Spotify, a lot of songs might be missing because Spotify simply lacks a lot of music content. Even though Spotify has a huge catalog of more than 100 million tracks, you will be surprised to discover that not everything can be found there. For example, many users moved from Spotify to YouTube Music when k-pop songs disappeared due to Spotify vs. KakaoM conflict.

YouTube Music not only delivers the tunes but also lets you watch music videos. This unique feature adds an exciting dimension to the listening journey. It's like having a backstage pass to concerts and music videos, right from your device. So while Spotify is dominating the realm of podcasts, YouTube Music content wins with music videos.

To sum up: Spotify is rich in podcasts, but YouTube has a bigger music library (videos, fan covers, remixes, mash-ups).

YouTube uses its video clips to stand out from the crowd

YouTube Music launched a feature that will likely never be available on other music streaming apps: the ability to instantly switch between the audio version and the video clip of a song. This feature is available for YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium subscribers and can be useful in some situations. Currently, Google has been able to link the audio and video versions of 5 million songs, which is already a lot. And that should cover all of the popular songs on the service.

YouTube Music - music videos.JPG



Spotify's interface is all about simplicity and ease of use. The home screen welcomes you with your most recently played music, personalized playlists, and recommendations based on your listening data. The top navigation bar provides quick access to key sections like Home, Search, Your Library, and Premium features.

One of Spotify's standout features is its playlist organization. You can easily create playlists, and sort them by mood, activity, or genre. The "Your Library" section neatly houses your saved albums, songs, and podcasts for quick access.

Now on to the bad: on the free tier of Spotify's mobile app, you can only listen to playlists on shuffle mode. This limitation can be frustrating if you want more control over your music. Similarly, while you can select multiple songs on the desktop app, this option is not possible on the mobile device (even if you're a Spotify user with a premium subscription.)

YouTube Music

YouTube Music's interface takes a visual approach to music discovery. The home screen showcases your recent activity, personalized playlists, and recommendations based on your listening history. It prominently features album covers and music videos, adding a dynamic and visually engaging touch.

A unique feature of YouTube Music's interface is the integration of music videos. When playing a song, you can easily switch to its corresponding music video with a single tap, adding a visual layer to your music experience.

Some users have noted that YouTube Music's algorithmic recommendations may not be as accurate or personalized as those of Spotify.

More to Consider

Music Discovery Features

When it comes to music discovery, both Spotify and YouTube Music offer their own take on the personalized playlists game. Spotify's "Discover Weekly" and YouTube Music's "Discover Mix" are designed to introduce you to new music you might love.

YouTube Music offers three personalized playlists: Discover Mix, New Release Mix, and Your Mix. Drawing from your listening habits, YouTube history, and liked videos, YouTube Music creates a playlist that offers a blend of new music and tracks you've yet to explore.

However, Spotify is well-known for its recommendation algorithms and there is no other service that can beat them. When it comes to music discovery, Spotify wins with YouTube Music. One of the best Spotify features is the "Discover Weekly" playlist, based on your listening habits. It's like a musical treasure chest that opens up every Monday. Music curation and suggestion are something that Spotify does extremely well.

Searching and Sorting

As Google is the best search engine in the world, Spotify remains behind YouTube Music when it comes to searching and sorting possibilities. Why? With YouTube Music, users can filter their search results, which can be sorted by artist, album, songs, or playlists. Spotify does have a similar option for whole categories, but you can't filter them; you have to scroll down to see the results for each group. YouTube Music search algorithm is really great. It's no surprise that YT Music was the first to introduce the option to search a song by its lyrics (Spotify followed and rolled out this feature in late 2020).

YouTube Music filters.JPG

Advantages of YouTube Music

Is YouTube Music good? Check its advantages below!

  • Rich in content: YouTube Music not only gives you the possibility to listen to official music, but also remixes, remakes, video clips, covers, live gigs, or concerts.
  • Bundled with YouTube Premium: You get access to YouTube Premium for only $2
  • An advanced search engine: Being a Google application, YouTube Music has the advantage of having an intelligent search engine whose opportunities are expanding every time. In this case, Google is implementing the option to make YouTube Music searches more precise. That is, if you don't remember the title or the artist, you can search by the lyrics or simply "that rock song that talks about love."

Advantages of Spotify

  • Simple interface: If Spotify has always stood out for something, it's because of the simplicity of its interface and how easy it's to navigate. Many users like it because it's a comfortable and simple application.
  • The weekly Discovery list uses a great algorithm: every Monday, Spotify launches a list with random music from Weekly Discovery that, based on the listening habits of each user, plays similar songs. The algorithm used for this playback is excellent and makes Spotify stand out from competitors.
  • Robust podcast selection: Podcasts are getting increasingly popular and Spotify carries almost 5 million of them (and growing!)

Transfer Your Playlists

With the FreeYourMusic app, you can quickly and easily transfer playlists from Spotify to YouTube Music or from YouTube Music to Spotify. Don't limit yourself to just one music streaming service. FreeYourMusic can also generate music video playlists, which can be very handy if you're a YouTube Music subscriber.

You can download FreeYourMusic to your mobile or desktop device. We're available on MacOS, Windows, iOS and Android!

Spotify And YouTube Music – Final Words

Both Spotify and YouTube Music continue to grow day by day and have more and more active users. These are ones of the best music streaming platforms but which service should you choose?

If you want to use a free service and don't mind ads, Spotify's offer is the most attractive. It prevails as one of the best and most polished streaming platforms of all time. The organization and recommendation of playlists are better on Spotify than on Youtube Music Premium. For true music lovers, Spotify Premium would be the most convenient choice.

However, regarding the Premium service, the YouTube app stands out because of the mixed option of having access to music and video streaming for a similar price. A notable bonus is the comfort of not having to view ads using classic YouTube for just 2 dollars more. Since YouTube Music is bundled with YouTube Premium membership, this might be a very attractive option for YouTube subscribers.

So, to sum up: Spotify is a great solution for most people, but if you want to enjoy both songs and videos, YouTube Music will be more suitable.

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