How good is Spotify
Spotify put to the test: music streaming veteran and podcast innovator
A huge selection of music, podcasts and audiobooks has made Spotify the top dog in the streaming market. In the test you will find out whether this speaks for the quality of the service, or whether pure habit is the reason for Spotify's success.
Spotify in the test
Solid music service with broad platform support but room for improvement
Spotify convinces with a solid offer for users who don't just want to be showered with music. The broad platform support is exemplary, the Spotify Originals nice-to-have. Adding your own songs, however, is a real horror. The radio play and audio book area also seem a bit untidy and lost. Overall, Spotify cannot hold its own against strong competitors like Deezer from our point of view. The "all-listeners" who are not looking for music in the highest possible quality, but also want to listen to podcasts, audio books or radio plays, will get their money's worth.
We liked that
- Broad platform support
- Exclusive in-house productions
- Large selection
We didn't like that
- Complicated import of your own music
- Some of the content cannot be found intuitively
- No music videos
Music streaming services put to the test
Music streaming services give you access to millions of songs, audiobooks and more. We have compared the most popular providers and show you where their strengths and weaknesses lie. »For a detailed comparison of music services
Spotify is a living fossil in the music streaming market. The music service started in 2006 and has been the undisputed market leader for many years. Over 70 million songs, radio plays as well as audio books and podcasts - the range is large and diverse. With over 400 million active users, the music service leaves the competition for Apple Music and Amazon Music far behind. But what can Spotify do that the other services can't?
The most important information at a glance
- Over 70 million songs
- Wide range of music, podcasts, audio books and radio plays
- Exclusive podcast productions
- Broad platform support
- Spotify is also free to use
Costs and packages
The widespread use of Spotify is certainly based on the free tariff. For many years, the music service has offered a free basic tariff that is financed through advertising. Users can listen to their favorite music here and pay no money for it. However, there are some restrictions, of course, because Spotify is of course interested in selling its premium subscriptions.
Individual songs within a playlist can only be played back in a random mode on mobile phones and tablets, whereas direct playback works on the desktop. In addition, a maximum of six tracks per hour can be skipped. In addition, there are advertisements and a lower audio quality of a maximum of 128 kilobits per second in the web player and 160 kilobits per second in the Spotify app or in the Spotify web player. In addition, there is no offline mode, music can only be streamed on Spotify Free, so in the event of a Spotify malfunction you will receive nothing.
|Up to 6 accounts||✘||✘||✘||✔||✘|
|Unlimited title jumping||✘||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Every song can be played directly||Only on the desktop||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Audio quality||Up to 160 kilobits per second (AAC)||Up to 320 kilobits per second (AAC)||Up to 320 kilobits per second (AAC)||Up to 320 kilobits per second (AAC)||Up to 320 kilobits per second (AAC)|
|Means of payment||Not required||Klarna, PayPal, credit card, direct debit, mobile phone bill||Klarna, PayPal, credit card, direct debit, mobile phone bill||Klarna, PayPal, credit card, direct debit, mobile phone bill||Klarna, PayPal, credit card, direct debit, mobile phone bill|
|price per month||Free||9.99 euros||4.99 euros||14.99 euros||12.99 euros|
If you want to bypass the restrictions, you can use the Spotify Premium tariff. This dispenses with advertising and at the same time offers higher audio quality with up to 256 kilobits per second in the web player. Within the app you will hear at 320 kilobits per second. Anyone who uses Spotify Connect can also listen to music, podcasts and the like at 320 kilobits per second. In addition, all the restrictions of Spotify Free are removed. The premium subscription costs 9.99 euros for individual users; students receive a 50 percent discount on the monthly fee, for a maximum of four years.
For families, Spotify offers the Family tariff. This can be used by a total of six people at the same time. In this tariff, families can create a common playlist, the so-called family mix. There is also the option to ban inappropriate content. Most recently, Spotify has also offered the "Duo" tariff, which is aimed at couples who live together. Two people can use Spotify with separate accounts and pay a total of 12.99 euros per month. As with the family tariff, Duo also has a common playlist, the "Duo Mix". You can try out all premium tariffs within the first 30 days in the form of a trial subscription. If you are not convinced, you can simply switch back to Spotify Free or delete your Spotify account.
Use Spotify family subscription with friends
Family tariffs are often used by users among friends and acquaintances. Spotify regulates this very clearly in its general terms and conditions. Here it says: "To be able to use the Premium Family subscription, the main user and the up to five (5) holders of sub-accounts must be family members who have their place of residence at the same address.". Farther: " Under no circumstances are you permitted to: ... share your password with or use someone else's username and password."It is not known whether disregarding the rules will lead to dismissal or other consequences.
Spotify is included in the Telekom StreamOn and Vodafone Music Pass options. This means that no data volume included in the tariff is used for mobile streaming. This is not the case with other providers and your surfing volume is burdened when streaming over the cellular network - how much depends on the selected quality.
Spotify runs on these devices
Spotify underlines its market position with the broad support of devices. In addition to apps for tablets and smartphones, there is also software for macOS, Windows, Linux, Windows Mobile, Chromebook and Amazon devices, for example via Alexa control. In addition, Spotify can also be used as a web player in the Internet browser.
Even on the popular game consoles, it is no problem to use Spotify. Both Sony and Xbox offer a Spotify app on their current consoles. Whether PS4, the new PS5, Xbox One or Xbox Series, all consoles offer an app that even allows you to listen to music in the background.
There is almost no device for which there is no Spotify app, as the following table shows:
|Desktop and laptop||Windows, web player via internet browser|
|Smartphones and tablets||Android, iOS|
|Wearables||Fitbit, Apple Watch, Gamrin, Samsung Galaxy Watch, Fossil|
|Voice assistants||Samsung Bixby, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri|
|TV and game consoles||PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, Xbos Series X / S, Nvidia Shield, Android TV, Apple TV (from 4th generation), Amazon Fire TV, Sky Q, Roku, Google Chromecast, LG, Hisense, Sony, Samsung, Philips|
|Audio systems and audio streamers||Harman Kardon, Technics, Linn Kilmax, Yamaha, Onkyo, iEast, Legrand, Integra, Hegel, Denon, Mitchell & Johnson, McIntosh, Bluesound, Block, Argon, Arcam, Anthem, Sony, Majority, Russound, Aurender, Grundig, Google Chromecast Audio, Tiny Audio, Gramofon, Müzo, Kitsound, Rocki, AudioCast, Asus, Revox, Harman Kardon, Cocktail Audio, dCS, Bluesound, Pro-Ject, Creston, Axium, Noxon, Electrocompaniet, Basealte, Clint, Teufel, Audac|
|Smart and wireless speakers||Google, Sonos, Bose, Amazon Echo, Harman Kardon, Libratone, Bose, Audio Pro, Sony, Ultimate Ears, Fabriq, Polk, Keecker, Tivoli, KitSound, GGMM, Sugr, JAM, Invoxia, Bluesound, iLive, Eufy, Braven, Energy Sistem, 808 Audio, LG, i-box, Denon, Ikea Symfonisk, B&O, Marshall, Samsung, JBL, Urbanears, B&W, Jooki, Panasonic, Como Audio, Teufel, KEF, Lenco, Laser, Klipsch, Kapsch, Vifa, Wren, Steljes, Teenage Engineering, Technisat, Roberts Revival|
|cars||CarPlay, Android Auto, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Mini, Tesla, Volvo|
Spotify on smart speakers
However, the same functions are not available to you on all devices. There are striking differences, for example, when using Spotify on smart speakers. Owners of Google Home and Amazon Alexa speakers can also control the service by voice without a premium subscription. The voice control also works with many other smart speakers from other manufacturers, but a premium subscription is required.
Smart speakers in comparison (2021): The best models in the test
The voice assistants Bixby and Siri can also be used with the streaming service, but only on devices with the Spotify app installed. It doesn't work on the smart speakers from both manufacturers.
With Spotify Connect, the music service offers an additional function for over 300 products from around 80 hardware manufacturers. With Spotify Connect, you don't stream your music to other devices via Bluetooth, but rather it is accessed directly from the server and played back at 320 kilobits per second. The smartphone only serves as a kind of remote control. You select the appropriate device, such as the smart speaker, in the app and control the music. Compatible devices are marked accordingly within the Spotify app. As a rule, Spotify Connect requires a premium subscription, but owners of Sonos speakers can also use the function with the free tariff. You can read everything you need to know about Spotify Connect and how you use it in the linked article.
Music selection and playback of your own songs
In total, Spotify currently offers around 70 million songs, a music catalog of the same size as other providers on the market, with around 40,000 songs added every day. Napster and Apple Music were ahead of the game for a long time, but Spotify has now closed the gap. You will find all known artists on Spotify. Even rather unknown musicians appear in the music catalog and get their own artist page. In contrast to many other streaming services, Spotify also manages to present smaller artists in a clear manner. The artist Lo, for example, who is relatively unknown with 18,517 monthly listeners, is not confused with other artists on Spotify.
Regardless of whether you use an iPhone, iPad or an Android device, the music streaming service Spotify offers a number of setting options. In this guide we will show you how to set up your Spotify.
If you find gaps in the music offer, you can fill them by adding your locally saved songs and albums. However, this does not work as comfortably as with other music services, for example Apple Music or Deezer. Adding your own music is actually quite cumbersome and complicated. First you have to open the Spotify software on your PC, activate "Local files" in the settings and add the corresponding source directory. Then individual songs have to be added to a playlist. The songs will now be uploaded. You then have to download the corresponding playlist on your smartphone or tablet, only then will you have access to your content - unnecessarily complicated. Tip: Should you switch to Spotify from another music service, you can use SongShift to transfer your playlist to Spotify.
Audio books and radio plays
Spotify not only offers music, but also audio books and radio plays. These can be found in the "Search" category. However, there is no separation between the two areas here. In the "Audiobooks" area, radio plays and audio books are mixed up with new releases, while in "Children", radio plays are mixed with children's songs and the like. The offer is just as extensive as with other services. For children and the young at heart, there are Die Drei ???, Benjamin Blümchen, Bibi and Tina or TKKG. Various audio books can be called up on Spotify. However, you will usually not find the latest titles, as audiobooks are often initially available for purchase on other platforms for a fee.
What we don't like about the whole area is the visual processing and the lack of categorization. The audiobooks have playlists on the subject of "youth", "crime & thriller" and a few more, but there are simply no main categories in which the user can display all audiobooks in a certain category. This works a little better with radio plays, as there are playlists from certain radio play series such as the Five Friends or Sherlock Holmes. The individual episodes can then be found within this. However, there is a little trick you can use to find radio plays and audio books better, to display charts or content from certain publishers. You can do this using the search function. Nevertheless, we find this an unnecessary step and not very intuitive, especially for new users.
With current releases, you have to hope that the authors will provide a free version of their audio book. Sophie Passmann, for example, made her current book "Complete Goosebumps" available for release in an author reading.
Podcasts play a central role at Spotify and the category is also much tidier for the music service. You can find all known national and international podcasts. On the one hand, these are divided into various categories, on the other hand, there are podcast playlists according to specific topics such as "Interesting facts & information" or "Human abysses". In addition, Spotify also produces its own exclusive podcasts, the best known in Germany is certainly "Fest und Flauschig" by Jan Böhmermann and Olli Schulz. In addition to pure audio podcasts, the first video podcasts are now also available. The range is still manageable, but should continue to grow in the future. Users have the choice of whether they want to access the content in video form or still as pure audio.
The exclusive international podcasts include "Renegades: Born in the USA", in which Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama talk together about their past and the present. If you want to be always up to date when it comes to podcasts, you are definitely in the best of hands with Spotify. Independent podcasts like "Baywatch Berlin" and "Guest List Geisterbahn" can be found there without any problems and on time for the release.
There are no classic music videos on Spotify. So far, so-called "canvas" have only existed on Android and iOS devices, which can be optionally activated or deactivated. These are three- to eight-second mini-videos that run in a loop. However, these mini videos are only available for a fraction of the available songs.
Spotify uses the AAC format for music streaming and streams in different quality levels. In the free tariff on the desktop, a maximum of 128 kilobits per second is delivered in the web player, with the PC software and the app it is a maximum of 160 kilobits per second. In the premium tariff, the web player offers a significantly higher audio quality of 256 kilobits per second, but is still limited compared to the apps for mobile devices and computers. You get the highest quality only outside of the web player.
Within the mobile app, the quality is even higher in the highest setting at 320 kilobits per second. Here Spotify relies on the same quality as Tidal in its premium tariff. In a direct comparison, no differences can be found here. The music service also delivers 320 kilobits per second via Spotify Connect to selected devices such as speakers or game consoles. So if you don't use Spotify in the app, you get the best available sound quality with the supported external playback devices.
The audio quality is good and is sufficient for "normal" speakers or headphones. Anyone looking for music streaming for high-quality equipment is better off with the lossless tariffs from Deezer and Tidal. Spotify does not offer a counterpart for this, as you can read in our sound quality comparison.
Data usage per average long song
- Normal (94 kilobits per second): around 2 megabytes
- High (160 kilobits per second): around 3.5 megabytes
- Very high (320 kilobits per second): around 5 megabytes
Operation and additional functions
Spotify has a uniform appearance across all devices.However, there are slightly fewer categories to choose from on the mobile apps than on the desktop software. The start page, search function and your own library are available on smartphones and mobile phones; on the computer there is also the "Radio" category with various artist playlists and direct access to areas such as "Last heard", podcasts "or favorite albums and songs and Co. Overall, however, the differences are hardly significant, Spotify can be used well on all platforms.
Submenus on the individual pages give you access to many sub-functions, for example to save music, store it in playlists or share it with other users. The search delivers results quickly, even spelling mistakes are forgiven. Overall, the operation works flawlessly and quickly. The individual artist pages are well structured. In addition to a short biography, you will find popular songs, new releases, features, albums and suitable artist playlists here. You can also find concert dates or current offers, for example a printed T-shirt from a band.
You can add a maximum of 10,000 songs to playlists, and a maximum of 10,000 songs can also be downloaded for offline mode. Until recently, this limit applied to the entire media library. Spotify has now abolished this restriction. You can now add any number of songs and albums to the music library. If you have forgotten your Spotify password, you can reset it via your email address without any problems. A cancellation of the premium subscription is also easily possible via the settings in the app or the desktop version.
The app also includes a 6-band equalizer, with which you can adjust the music according to your wishes. There are various presets such as "Classic", "Pop" or "Voice Boost", and of course you can also adjust the equalizer manually yourself. The equalizer can also be used on podcasts. There is also a separate switch with which you can activate or deactivate this.
More sound functions
In addition to the equalizer, there are other settings for optimal listening enjoyment. For example, you can manually set a crossfade with which songs are faded over within a specified period of time. The "Automix" function is available for seamless transitions. In addition, you can activate an automatic volume adjustment, in which all titles are played at the same volume as possible.
Subscribers to the Spotify Premium plan can also simply download music and listen to it offline. This can be done quickly and easily. You will find a corresponding symbol for the download on the corresponding playlists and albums. For individual songs you have to take the detour via a playlist. As soon as you create it, you can download it - it's a shame that it doesn't work any other way.
Block inappropriate content
Inappropriate content can also be blocked in the settings of the music platform. This applies above all to music that is labeled "Explicit", that is, it may contain swear words.
Spotify works with the Genius song database and provides lyrics for selected songs and playlists. However, the number is still clear and only available for known titles. Here the lyrics are adapted to the music and you can sing along or read along.
Recommendation system and social networks
Spotify makes a lot of music and podcast recommendations to users as well as the competition. On the start page you will find playlists by mood, for commuting, for at home, podcasts for sniffing, popular artists or albums and much more. Overall, the selection is very wide, the whole thing is rounded off by the very personal recommendations.
Spotify learns what you like from your musical tastes and provides a separate area on the home page with additional content such as "News for you", personal mixtapes from your own listening history and more. In addition, you can also follow artists and playlist creators and be informed about new additions.
The streaming service has its own social network. Users can network with others on the platform and share their favorite songs, albums or playlists with others. It is also possible to connect to Facebook.
You can go deeper into the music archive via artist, song or playlist radio stations. It is based on an algorithm that delivers similar music to sounds that have already been heard and is also available in the form of genre radio stations. It worked reliably and well in the test. Of course, every now and then there are also titles that do not necessarily meet your own musical taste. You can mark songs with a heart, so Spotify learns which tracks you like and improves the music suggestions. How you can discover new music in Spotify, we explain to you in the linked manual.
The "Spotify Lite" app is available exclusively for Android users. The application is aimed at customers with little data volume, older cell phones or a poor internet connection. The app is initially comparatively small and only around 10 megabytes in size. In contrast, there are around 90 megabytes for the regular app. In the settings of Spotify Lite you can set a maximum consumption, before which the app will always inform you - practically with little data volume. In addition, Spotify promises that the Lite version even works with very slow connections and can play music reliably.
With the range of functions you have to accept few restrictions with Spotify Lite. Overall, less music is suggested to you, so users should use the integrated search function and simply search for other content. What is also missing is an offline mode. Overall, however, the approach is exemplary and the restrictions manageable. Spotify Lite has a special approach and could actually be really useful, especially in countries like Germany, whose mobile infrastructure is below average.
Spotify Lite could also be interesting if you want to keep an eye on your data usage while on vacation or if you expect particularly bad connections on a hiking excursion. If you want to use Spotify abroad, Spotify Lite could also be useful.
Spotify for Artists
With Spotify for Artists there is a separate area for artists who want to offer their music on Spotify. These receive, among other things, various tools such as song statistics or analysis tools with which the target group can be examined. In addition, there is a large and detailed help area where artists can find information, for example, on how they can best market themselves and their music on Spotify. According to the SoundBetter website, Spotify pays artists $ 0.0032 per stream, which is about 0.0029 euros.
Spotify now offers its own app for children with Spotify Kids. However, this can only be used by subscribers to the Spotify family tariff. Parents can set restrictions within the app and filter content by age group. Children only have access to age-appropriate music and radio plays. According to Spotify, these are carefully checked and selected by its own editorial team.
Advantages over other services
What sets Spotify apart from other services, what are the advantages? We list the unique selling points of the platform below.
- Wide range of music, radio plays, audio books and podcasts
- Exclusive podcast originals like "Fest und Fluschig"
- Very broad platform support
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