What is Spotify? Music, pricing, and features explained


Spotify is the primary title that involves thoughts once you consider music-streaming apps. Adore it or hate it, Spotify is at the moment the most well-liked music-streaming service, boasting 515 million customers and greater than 210 million subscribers, placing it forward of opponents like Apple Music. However what precisely is Spotify, and the way does it actually work? We’re answering all of your questions with this deep dive into what you possibly can count on from Spotify. 

What’s Spotify?

People with headphones listening to Spotify on a MacBook.

If you happen to spend even slightly time on-line, you’ve in all probability heard of Spotify. It’s a well-liked free and paid music-streaming service based in Stockholm in 2006 by Swedish mates Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. Enjoyable truth: the title occurred by fluke when the companions have been shouting names forwards and backwards from completely different rooms in Ek’s Stockholm flat, and Ek misheard certainly one of Lorentzon’s recommendations as “Spotify.” They later backtracked the which means as a mixture of spot and establish, and there you might have it. 

Spotify as we speak is a behemoth of a streaming service that additionally provides entry to podcasts, movies, and extremely tailor-made playlists pushed by your distinctive utilization. With a number of plan tiers to select from, Spotify’s free model enables you to hearken to limitless music, podcasts, and even movies, so you possibly can discover your style with out shelling out a factor, however you do must endure adverts and restricted performance (extra on that under). It does supply rather more strong paid choices (extra under, too), however the free model is greater than sufficient for the informal listener. 

Spotify can be fairly device-versatile, so you need to use it in your smartphone, pill, laptop, laptop computer, TV, smartwatch, gaming console, and even in your automotive. You get the anticipated, intuitive controls like play/pause, subsequent/earlier, loop a tune/playlist, and save favorites. However that’s not all. There’s loads that Spotify provides, so let’s break down what you possibly can sit up for. 

Spotify options: music, podcasts, and extra

Spotify's Discover Weekly page on the desktop app.

Spotify has a large library of content material that includes over 100 million songs throughout each conceivable style and 5 million podcasts so there’s one thing for each listener right here. You’ll be able to make your own playlists and share them with anyone, however the enjoyable half is that the app will even make some playlists tailor-made to your style, so that you all the time have one thing new to discover. Spotify is all about discovery, although, and few others do that as effectively. Uncover Weekly playlist provides you new stuff to strive primarily based in your previous listening selections, whereas Day by day Mixes and the Launch Radar enables you to discover new songs out of your favourite artists primarily based in your listening habits. Spotify just lately added a brand new AI-driven feature called DJ that creates a kind of radio station round your musical tastes that’s voiced by Xavier “X” Jernigan, Spotify’s head of cultural partnerships. It’s a enjoyable new method the streaming big helps customers with discovery.  

Wish to discover music to match an event? You’ll be able to filter the search primarily based on style and temper to search out particular person songs, public playlists, Spotify playlists, complete albums, and even podcasts. You’ll be able to create collaborative playlists to get a mashup of your and your pals’ music tastes, which makes Spotify extra social than different music streaming apps.

One other contact of social integration is the Fb login choice and the power to trace what your pals are listening to so the entire expertise feels a bit extra communal. Spotify has additionally added the lyrics for songs proper within the app, so you possibly can have a enjoyable karaoke evening with out having to depart your sofa.

The content material on Spotify tends to swing native, so you possibly can entry regional songs and holiday-themed content material primarily based in your registered location. For instance, a person within the U.S. might discover English chartbusters and Christmas songs on the homepage, whereas a person in India might discover Bollywood songs and Diwali aartis. This doesn’t imply you possibly can’t entry international content material, although. Anybody from anyplace can entry many of the library, and your suggestions will begin matching your listening patterns over time.

Spotify additionally does a fairly good job at maintaining with what customers would possibly need in its UI, with a recent redesign (its first in a decade) bringing in additional of an Instagram- or TikTok-like scrolling interface to the cell app, whereas additionally including video clips and audio previews for songs.    

Spotify plans: Is it free? 

Spotify Premium on a computer with headphones plugged in.
Guillaume Payen/Getty Photos

Spotify has a free, ad-based model that offers you full entry to the present library, however you must sit by way of advert breaks. Some customers keep away from this drawback with an advert blocker, however you may as well subscribe to Spotify Premium if you need the adverts gone, along with receiving some cool options like tune downloads and limitless skips. 

In July of 2023, Spotify upped its prices across the board. Spotify plans begin at $11 monthly for particular person customers and $15 monthly for 2 folks dwelling in the identical home. This may be helpful for {couples}, roommates, or mates sharing a subscription plan whereas nonetheless sustaining separate profiles.

Households can get six accounts for $17 a month so long as everybody stays in the identical home. One of the best a part of utilizing the Household plan is that you could block express music and get entry to Spotify Youngsters, which has enjoyable, age-appropriate content material for youths, so no extra supervision is required.

Lastly, you might have the Pupil plan for $6 a month, which provides you Hulu (ad-supported) and Showtime subscriptions together with the standard ad-free listening, obtain choices, and limitless skips. 

How do Spotify downloads work?

How to download music and podcasts from Spotify: Downloading a plpaylist.

Whenever you “download” songs on Spotify with a premium subscription, they’re accessible for offline listening however can’t be exported to different gadgets. So you possibly can’t actually purchase the subscription for one month, obtain all of the songs, and delete the app. That you must use the app or the online participant to entry the content material, even should you’re listening offline. The downloaded songs are saved in your gadget, so ensure you even have the free area accessible earlier than getting a subscription for offline listening. 

Spotify streaming high quality 

How to download music and podcasts from Spotify: Setting download quality.

Spotify enables you to select your streaming high quality, so you possibly can choose between burning by way of extra information with high-quality music or switching to decrease high quality in case your connection is weak. Spotify Free will get you 128Kbps AAC on the internet participant, whereas Premium boosts this to 256Kbps.

Desktop, cell, and pill streaming begins at 24Kbps on the Low mode and goes as much as 160Kbps when set to Excessive. Premium additionally begins at 24Kbps on the Low mode. however goes as much as 320Kbps when set to Very Excessive, providing you with a lot better sound high quality. The large query many individuals might need is that if this high quality degree is any good. That basically relies on you. CD-quality sound is the same as 1,411Kbps, however most individuals both can’t inform the distinction or don’t care. High-resolution audio, like tracks which might be accessible with providers resembling Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music, Deezer, and Qoboz, are sometimes labeled as “better-than-CD” high quality and are vastly superior in sound high quality. If essentially the most pristine and detailed sound you will get is an important factor to you, you would possibly wish to look elsewhere. 

Podcast high quality is customary at 96Kbps on most gadgets besides the online participant, the place it’s boosted to 128Kbps. On the Low mode, this will go right down to 24Kbps to avoid wasting information. 

Spotify Wrapped

Spotify Wrapped for 2021.

One of the crucial common and extremely anticipated options for Spotify customers is the Spotify Wrapped roundup on the finish of every 12 months. This can be a colourful, social media share-worthy evaluation of what you listened to that 12 months. It appears to be like at your most-played songs, favourite artists, and most-listened-to genres. Individuals from all around the world share their rankings on social media, making it go viral each December. 

Spotify additionally creates a playlist containing your prime songs of the 12 months so you possibly can hearken to your favourite tracks on repeat. Together with your individual information, you may as well see what folks as a collective listened to essentially the most and stream the highest tracks of the 12 months. Nonetheless, should you can’t look forward to the top of the 12 months, you possibly can all the time use a website like Stats for Spotify to zero in in your habits all 12 months lengthy. 

Spotify options

An iPhone with the Rolling Stones playing on the Tidal app.
Derek Malcolm/Digital Traits

Whereas Spotify is one of the best music streaming service proper now, there are fairly a couple of options so that you can select from if Spotify isn’t your factor.

Apple Music

Spotify’s greatest rival, Apple Music provides an enormous library of content material and podcasts, similar to Spotify, though its podcasts are accessed by way of Apple’s separate app, merely referred to as Podcasts. Its Particular person plan is a greenback greater than Spotify’s at $11 monthly, and it doesn’t have a free tier in any respect, nevertheless it differs most from Spotify, as talked about above, with its inclusion of hi-res lossless tracks, in addition to music in its immersive Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio formats. Apple Music has just lately added a couple of new options that is likely to be interesting to these making a selection, together with its new “Sing” feature that permits you and your pals to show Apple Music right into a karaoke machine. And for classical music buffs, there’s the brand new Apple Music Classical app, which options the most important catalog of classical music on the earth.  

Amazon Music

Amazon Prime subscribers would possibly need to try Amazon Music, which options about 100 million songs and a variety of podcasts. The service has a free ad-supported tier, a no-ad tier if you have already got an Amazon Prime membership, and provides a number of choices for the hi-res lossless tier it calls Music Limitless. That begins at $11 monthly, too ($5 monthly on prime of a Prime membership). The interface is much like that of Spotify, is colourful and simple to make use of, and means that you can do related issues like create and share playlists. Apps can be found for Android, iOS, and desktop.

YouTube Music

YouTube Music is one other nice choice for YouTube followers. The service has a free ad-based tier, and for $10 monthly ($100 yearly), you possibly can subscribe to YouTube Music Premium, which removes them and means that you can hold music streaming whereas your gadget’s display screen is locked (you possibly can’t try this whereas taking part in music by way of the conventional YouTube app). YouTube Music has a formidable library of songs, becoming a member of its rivals at 100 million, and it only recently began including podcasts to the roster. One caveat to notice is the sound high quality problem — at the moment, YouTube Music tops out a just 256Kbps, decrease than Spotify’s highest bit fee. 

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