Soundcloud vs Spotify - comparison

December 9, 2020

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 well-known music for free or at a monthly charge if you want to listen on your mobile. However, Spotify isn't the only music streaming app available. Soundcloud is also a popular 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. The innovative service completely changed the way people consume music, which also strongly affected the whole music industry. Now, 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 70 million songs. It's possible to use the free version of the app or subscribe to Premium, which allows you to avoid certain disadvantages. The service is available on diverse platforms, has many playlist options, has excellent sound quality, and a clean equalizer. What is more, Spotify can be synchronized with many devices so you can enjoy the music experience anywhere.

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Introducing SoundCloud

Soundcloud is often seen as the YouTube for audio because it enables to share home-recorded material. The project aims to promote musical creation in all its forms. Thus, musicians and singers can post and distribute their work. Music artists, DJs, podcasters, and rappers can be found there by an interested audience. 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, for example, remixes of popular songs based on musical genres like techno. It's possible to create an artist's profile or register as a listener. Artists can fill the catalog with their music, easily accessible to other users who would like to make discoveries.

Soundcloud can also be considered as a social network to promote exchange between creators and users. The paid version launched in 2016 offers over 200 million songs and radio stations - all without advertising.

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Soundcloud vs Spotify - music catalog

Soundcloud has about 200 million songs, while Spotify has about 70 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, where 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. More independent artists on Soundcloud make this service interesting for lovers of alternative musical styles and underground culture. On Soundcloud, users can find tens of thousands of titles and artists without labels that they wouldn't be able to discover otherwise. Thus, Soundcloud is a perfect choice for fans of electronic music, rap, reggae, techno, or punk. 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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Soundcloud vs Spotify - 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 AI tracks your song collection and playlists to make sure each recommendation matches your preferences perfectly.

Soundcloud gathers mostly indie artists, who upload 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. However, when it comes to music recommendations, Soundcloud doesn't have a good algorithm like Spotify. It shows new artists that you should check out, but the system isn't very accurate in your music taste. 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 Soundcloud. 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. The app offers a multitude of options in this section. You can easily create your playlist just by clicking the New Playlist button, or you can subscribe to other user's song selection. If you want to stay up to date on a specific user's playlists, use the "Follow" button at the bottom of the top bar. You will get a notification when the songs are added to the playlist. Both Soundcloud and Spotify let you create public and private playlists, but you can also follow your friends and make collaborative playlists on Spotify.

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, it's easy to make a Soundcloud playlist. 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 share 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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Soundcloud vs Spotify - features

Getting started with Spotify isn't at all difficult. The primary task of this app is to search for music and play it. You can also create playlists so you can make a small music library on your phone. If you want to enjoy all the amazing features offered by Spotify, you must be a Premium subscriber. Then you can, among other things, download music and play it in high quality.

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.

Do you want to listen to music from your PC? Spotify makes it possible! If you have some music on a hard drive, you can transfer it to your mobile using Spotify.

You know it for sure, but it's possible to download music to your device from Spotify, so you can listen to it without being connected to the Internet. However, when you first download music, you should select the highest quality setting. At least if you download via Wi-Fi. Downloading music on your mobile phone is very easy. Just open a playlist and click the "available offline" button at the top of the list.

Some things that you should know

The app must connect to the Internet once a month. Using the "offline mode" setting means that Spotify doesn't connect to the Internet. However, it must connect once in a while to check that you actually have Spotify Premium and to collect data about music so that the rights holders can get paid. If you do not do this, you won't be able to play the music you have downloaded. Also, you can't have music available offline on more than three devices at a time.

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Soundcloud is a paradise both for listeners and creators who wish to experiment or explore new music. The app is ideal if you want to discover new artists before everyone else, and it's perfect for staying connected with independents. Soundcloud users can comment under the playing song, which allows them to share ideas and discuss music. This sense of community participation is everywhere. 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 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.

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Soundcloud vs Spotify - free & premium subscriptions

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

This is what Spotify offers

Spotify is one of the best apps to play music and listen to podcasts. It has innovative features and great music suggestions. You can get most of what Spotify offers for free, but deciding to pay for premium service comes with many serious benefits.

Spotify Free

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. However, it's still possible to search for new music, listen to Spotify radio stations, and create playlists.

What are Spotify's free options?

  • Search for songs (there are over 70 million songs available!)

  • Listen to music on a shuffle mode,

  • Run both mobile and desktop version,

  • Listen to audiobooks and podcasts,

  • What are Spotify's free limitations?

You can't:

  • Listen to music without advertisements,
  • Change songs without limitations,
  • Listen in high quality,
  • Listen offline,
  • Use the Spotify app as a remote control for the desktop versions.

Spotify Premium

Spotify Premium is the perfect subscription offer for most music fans. For $9.99 per month, users can use all Spotify services without limits. So it's possible to listen to music offline and enjoy the better sound quality.

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 Family Plan costs $14.99 and includes six family members. That's about $2.50 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 $12.99 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 Student Membership, but it can be done three times only.

All Spotify Premium subscriptions can be canceled at any time.

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This is what SoundCloud offers

Soundcloud is available for free, but a paid version (Soundcloud Go) also exists. The creation of a free account makes it possible to discover music but with advertisements. Premium Access provides access to more advanced tools and superior audio quality, which is an excellent option if you have a HiFi system or headphones.

What can you do with Soundcloud free?

  • The free version provides you with 200 million songs by emerging artists,
  • There are commercials.
  • What can you do with Soundcloud premium?
  • For $5.99 per month, you have the same offer as Soundcloud free, but with the option to save music, and you will no longer hear any advertisements.
  • For $9.99 per month, you can access an even more extensive music library of 200 million audio files. If you choose a SoundCloud Go + subscription, the first month is a free trial.

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Soundcloud vs Spotify - 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, on Chromecast and Xbox One. As you can see, the app will please you whatever your equipment is!

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Soundcloud vs Spotify - 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" on a computer and "extreme quality" on a smartphone. Almost all 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.

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 to create 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!

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