Spotify Free vs Premium price, features and audio quality

Spotify is one of the most popular and best music streaming services around but what's the difference between Spotify Free and Premium? Here we explain how they compare in price, features and audio quality. See: Best streaming music services 2015 UK.

We're going to focus on the Free and Premium versions of Spotify here but it's worth noting that there used to be an Unlimited option which is now obsolete. It's also worth pointing out that Spotify offers student discount via Unidays or NUS Extra plus a family package which offers 50 percent off each extra account. See: Spotify alternatives.

Spotify Free vs Premium: Price

As the name suggests, Spotify Free is available to anyone at no cost – we'll explain why below in the features section. If you want to subscribe to Premium then it will set you back £9.99 per month. If you're not sure whether you want to sign up, you can try Spotify Premium on a one month free trial.

Also check out: Deezer vs Spotify comparison.

Spotify apps

Spotify Free vs Premium: Features

The reason you can listen to music for free on Spotify is because the service is supported by ads. Every few tracks you play, a short advert or two will be played. It works in the same way as adverts on TV and makes it sustainable for the company. You can use the desktop and web interfaces but the mobile app will only let you listen on shuffle mode or pre-made playlists. See also: Spotify vs Google Music comparison review.

Upgrading to Spotify Premium will remove all adverts so you can listen without interruption – but that's not all you get for your money. You can listen to anything you want, wherever you want (even abroad) via any Spotify interface (desktop, web or app).

Another bonus is the ability download music for offline listening. A Premium subscription allows you to download/sync up to 3,333 tracks on up to three devices.

There's also superior audio quality which we'll explain below.

Spotify Free vs Premium: Audio quality

Spotify uses three different quality settings for streaming, all in the Ogg Vorbis format. 96 kbps is the standard bitrate for mobile, which then jumps to 160 kbps for desktop and web player 'standard quality' and 'high quality' on mobile.

If you pay the monthly fee for Spotify Premium, you'll get 320 kbps which is 'high quality' on desktop and 'extreme quality' on mobile.

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.


Spotify Free is good but the benefits of Premium are tempting at £9.99 per month. Hopefully we've helped you reach a decision on which to choose.