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Spotify Free vs Premium: To Upgrade or Not?

Spotify, one of the music streaming giants, offers millions of tracks at your fingertips. As you explore the app, a crucial decision awaits – Spotify Free or Premium? In this article, we'll look at the features of Spotify Free as well as what Spotify Premium has to offer. From advertisements and offline play to unique features, we break down the essentials. This will allow you to make an informed decision.

spotify free vs premium

Part 1: What Does Spotify Free Offer?

Spotify Free is a fantastic entry point for music lovers who want to explore the world of streaming without paying a subscription fee. Even though it comes with certain limitations, such as ads and skip restrictions, it provides a taste of the Spotify experience and serves as a platform for discovering new music.

  • Cost: Zero
  • Music Library: 100 million songs
  • Advertisements: Audio ads are played every few songs or around every 15-30 minutes of listening time.
  • Skip Limits: Up to 6 skips per hour within a playlist or album.
  • Online Streaming: Primarily supports online streaming only.
  • Audio Quality: Spotify Free version typically streams music at a standard bitrate of 160 kbps (kilobits per second).

Part 2: What Does Spotify Premium Offer?

Spotify Premium is a subscription-based service with additional features and benefits compared to the free version. By subscribing to Spotify Premium, users can enjoy an enhanced and ad-free music streaming experience. Here are some key features of Spotify Premium:

  • Cost: Fee varies by subscription plan.
  • Music Library: 100 million songs.
  • Ad-Free Listening: Audio ads are played every few songs or around every 15-30 minutes of listening time.
  • High Audio Quality: Up to 320 kbps.
  • Offline Mode: Download music, playlists, albums, and podcasts to mobile devices or computers for offline playback.
  • Unlimited Skips: Premium users can skip an unlimited number of tracks.
  • Exclusive Content: Early releases, bonus tracks, exclusive artist interviews, audiobook streaming, and Spotify Connect feature.
spotify free vs premium

Part 3: Main Features Comparison of Spotify Free and Premium

Spotify Free offers ad-supported music streaming with limited features and skips, while Spotify Premium provides an ad-free experience, unlimited skips, offline playback, and higher audio quality for a certain subscription fee.

Spotify Free Spotify Premium
Songs and Podcasts Over 100 million and 5 million podcast titles
Audiobooks Listening 15 hours/month of listening time
Personalized Playlists Yes, with ads ✔️
Highest Quality Mobile: 96 kbps❌
Desktop: 160 kbps❌
Web player: 256kbps❌
Mobile / Desktop: 320 kbps✔️
Ads ✔️
Mobile Playback Shuffle On-demand
Selectively Play ✔️
Skip Numbers 6 times/hour Unlimited
Download Podcasts ✔️ ✔️
Download Music ✔️
Spotify Connect Yes
Subscription Fee $10.99/$14.99/$16.99/$5.99

1. Music Catalogs

In general, both free and premium users enjoy equal and full access to all categories on Spotify library, boasting over 100 million songs, 5 million podcasts, and other audio content. This means there is an abundance of content available without the necessity of spending any money.

2. Audio Quality

Spotify Free delivers standard sound quality at 160 kbps on desktop and 128 kbps on mobile. Spotify Premium users enjoy superior audio quality at up to 320 kbps on desktop and mobile. The web player, however, provides a maximum bitrate of 256 kbps for the highest audio quality.

3. Download and Offline Listening

The download feature, the ability to download favorite songs, playlists, and podcasts for offline listening, is only open to Premium subscribers. For frequent travelers who frequently lack Wi-Fi or mobile data, Spotify Premium proves to be an excellent option.

4. Shuffle and On-demand Playback

On desktop, Spotify Free users enjoy on-demand playback with occasional ads. However, on the mobile side, Free users are limited to shuffle play for albums and playlists and are restricted to six skips per hour.

Premium users have the privilege of on-demand playback, enabling them to choose specific songs, albums, or playlists without the constraints of shuffle play or skip limitations, whether on a desktop or mobile phone.

5. Advertisements

Spotify Free users encounter intermittent advertisements that play between songs. These ads vary in format, ranging from short audio clips to display ads on the platform. Spotify Free users do not have the option to skip these ads, and the frequency of ads may increase during longer listening sessions. Upgrading to Spotify Premium eliminates these interruptions, offering an ad-free listening experience.

6. Price

Spotify Free is offered as a no-cost option. On the flip side, Spotify Premium demands a fixed payment of $10.99 per month for an individual subscription. Users can get an annual Spotify Premium by purchasing with a gift card. Other three alternative plans are provided: a family plan, accommodating up to six people at $16.99 per month, a duo plan for two individuals priced at $14.99 per month, and a student plan offered at $5.99 per month.

spotify free vs premium

7. Exclusive Premium Features

Premium subscribers can enjoy a monthly allocation of 15 hours of audiobook listening time from Spotify's extensive audiobook catalog. With over 200,000 titles spanning various genres and classics, the audiobook subscriber catalog offers a wide range of options for Premium users to explore.

Please note that the plan manager in Duo and Family subscriptions has control over access to this feature.

One more Spotify Connect feature is given only to Premium members so that they can use the Spotify app as a remote control and play Spotify music on other devices, such as speakers or TVs.

Part 4. FAQ about Spotify Free and Premium

1. Can I try Spotify Premium before committing to a subscription?

Yes, Spotify often offers free trials for Premium. Keep an eye on promotions and special offers, as they may provide an opportunity to experience Premium features without immediate cost.

Related Article: How to Get Spotify Premium Free?

2. What happens if I cancel my Spotify Premium subscription?

Back to Free, but you keep your playlists. It's like returning from VIP to the regular section, but you don't lose your favorite spot.

Related Article: How to keep Spotify downloaded content after the Premium period has expired?

3. Can I use Spotify Premium on multiple devices?

No. Spotify allows you to log in to your account on up to five devices, and you can play music on one device at a time.

But you can manage to download songs from Spotify as MP3 and store Spotify music downloads locally. Then it is possible to transfer and play Spotify music on multiple devices without limit.

4. What is the difference in audio quality between Spotify Free and Premium?

Spotify Free offers standard audio quality streamed at a bitrate of 160 kbps, while Spotify Premium provides higher audio quality at a bitrate of 320 kbps.

5. Can I download songs for offline listening with Spotify Free?

No, the ability to download songs for offline listening is a feature exclusive to Spotify Premium. Free users can only stream music online.

Workaround: How to Download Music from Spotify Free?

Sidify Music Converter

Sidify Music Converter

  • okDownload Spotify music without Premium required.
  • okDownload Spotify music/podcasts/audiobooks to MP3, AAC, FLAC, WAV, AIFF or ALAC;
  • okPreserve the quality of the original sound; Keep ID3 Tags and all metadata;
  • ok1-click to burn Spotify music to CD, 10x conversion speed;
  • okHighly compatible with the latest Windows & macOS PC.

If you are looking for a tool to convert any streaming music (such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, YouTube, YouTube Music, SoundCloud, DailyMotion …) to MP3, Sidify All-In-One is the go-to choice.


In deciding between Spotify Free and Premium, consider your priorities. Free offers access to ads and standard quality. Premium ensures ad-free, high-quality streaming at 320 kbps. If ads and enhanced sound matter, go Premium. For casual listeners, Free may suffice. Choose based on your budget and music experience preferences.

Important Notes

Sidify strictly complies with the US copyright regulations. We adopt a leading technology to record the unencrypted audio data which is outputted to the system sound device, with the highest quality.

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