Apple Music Top streaming quality: 256 kbps One hour of streaming eats through: 115.2 megabytes (MB) of data Streaming time until 1 gigabyte (GB) of data is used: 8.7 hours Spotify. Change music quality. Turn music quality up to hear the finer details or turn it down to save data. Note: You can’t change audio settings when using Spotify Connect to play on another device.
First there were cassettes. Then there were CDs. Audio files were next, and now, Spotify is one of the most popular ways to listen to music. An endless supply of music is awesome for audiophiles and anyone who likes being able to listen to what they want at a moment’s notice, but it can also consume quite a bit of data. That’s why it’s important for listeners to know exactly how much their playlists could cost them in data.
The bigger the cache, the more tracks and track fragments Spotify can store on your computer, which means less downloading for you and less use of network resources for Spotify (1GB holds around 200 tracks).
How Much Data Will a Typical Song on Spotify Consume?
If the listener has Spotify on its default setting, a 3-minute song consumes 2 megabytes (MB) of data or more. That means if they listen to songs for an hour straight, it will consume about 40 MB. At 10 hours of listening, Spotify will have used about half a gigabyte (GB).
This makes it critical that the listener has a data plan that can cover their needs. There are still some cell phone plans on the market that provide a mere 100 MB of data each month, which would only be enough for three hours of music.
Now, there are different quality settings on Spotify, and the amount of data used depends on the quality of the song. A listener can see what their Spotify music quality is set at by tapping Your Library, then Settings, and then Music Quality.
There is normal quality, which streams songs at about 96 kilobits per second (kbps). High quality streams at about 160 kbps and extreme quality streams at about 302 kbps. By default, Spotify is set to automatic quality, where it sets a quality based on the listener’s connection. Automatic quality is always at least 96 kbps.
Normal quality is when a 3-minute song will use 2 MB of data. On high quality, it will use 3.5 MB, and on extreme quality, it will use 7.5 MB. However, these numbers decrease when playing songs the user has already listened to before, because Spotify caches those songs.
What Is Typical Monthly Data Usage with Spotify?
If the listener uses Spotify for 30 minutes per day, it will consume 0.5 GB on its normal quality setting and 2.2 GB on its extreme quality setting. One hour of listening per day will use 1.2 GB for normal quality and 4.5 GB for extreme quality. Two hours per day will use 2.4 GB for normal quality and 9 GB for extreme quality.
What About Offline Playlists?
Although the free and premium versions of Spotify use the same amount of data, Spotify Premium also allows the user to download up to 3,333 songs. That’s a per-device limit, and they can do this with up to three devices. After downloading songs, it doesn’t require an internet connection or any data to play them.
How Does Spotify Data Use Compare to YouTube Data Use?
Since YouTube provides video content, it will use more data than Spotify. On their lowest quality settings, one hour of Spotify streaming will use 40 MB of data, whereas one hour of YouTube streaming will use 100 MB of data. On their medium quality settings, Spotify uses 70 MB and YouTube uses 250 MB. On their high quality settings, Spotify uses 150 MB and YouTube uses 750 MB.
How Can a Listener Use Less Data with Spotify?
Keeping data usage on Spotify to a minimum is easy with its quality settings. The listener simply needs to tap Your Library, Settings and Music Quality. Then, they can choose either automatic or normal.
The listener can also opt to only download music through Wi-Fi networks by turning off the Download Using Cellular option. This option is available in the same area as the Music Quality controls.
Of course, Spotify Premium users can save data by downloading songs when connected to a Wi-Fi network, since they won't need to use any data to play those songs going forward.
Spotify is probably the single most used application to stream music around the world.
With the Spotify app, you are able to add songs to your library so that you don’t have to search for them over and over again. For Spotify Premium users, you can even download the songs that you have added to your library for offline listening.
The Spotify catalogue is vast with over 30 million songs so far, and is still constantly expanding as new tracks continue to be released.
That begs the question, with millions of songs available at your fingertips, how many can you actually have in your library at any one time?
The Spotify Library Limit
The answer is – 10,000 songs.
That’s how many you can have in your library under “Your Music”, and for many years, this has been seen as a point of contention for users. For years, the internet has called on Spotify to scrap this limit, and this is a well-discussed issue in many tech portals, forums, and even in Spotify’s own support forums.
But Spotify is defending its decision to uphold this limit.
In a well-documented thread in its support forums that started way back in 2014, here’s Spotify’s official response:
“At the moment we don’t have plans to extend the Your Music limit. The reason is because less than 1% of users reach it. The current limit ensures a great experience for 99% of users instead of an “OK” experience for 100%.”
So what happens when you do hit the limit? You will simply get the following message, “Epic collection, friend. There’s no more room in Your Library. To save more, you’ll need to remove some songs or albums.”
Offline Downloads Have A Separate Limit
However, that 10,000 song limit is only applicable to the tracks you saved under “Your Music” for online listening.
If you are on Spotify Premium and hope to download all of those 10,000 songs for offline listening – tough luck. That’s because Spotify is limiting you to only about a third of them on one device for up to three devices.
Officially, you are only allowed to download 3,333 tracks per device, for a grand total 9,999 tracks in three different devices – one shy of that magical 10,000.
So, if you are just surviving on your smartphone, you will have to live with a third of your song library.
The Argument For Removing That Cap
Derek Mead of Motherboard wrote a considerably persuasive argument as to why Spotify should reconsider that track limit in order for the company to grow.
Fresh off its billion dollar funding last year, many were excited at what Spotify would bring to its music streaming service. But there were also those who first wanted prevalent issues solved – and the track limit was thrust into the spotlight once again.
Like most of us, Derek is a paying member who has a Spotify Premium account. Unfortunately, he belongs to that 1% of users Spotify was talking about, who have hit 9,999 songs in his library.
He laments that because Spotify has grown into a position of dominance, current users of its services might suffer in the long term because Spotify simply refuses to fix simple issues like that track limit.
Chris Welch of The Verge just last week also joined the 1% club, as he also shared his take on why Spotify should make the change.
How Much Does Spotify Cost
For him, Spotify should listen to the hardcore users of its service, because the reality is that a 10,000 limit isn’t quite enough for a lifetime of songs if they expect users to use it through their lives – and all it takes for Spotify is a little engineering work.
But It Won’t Matter To Everyone Else
On the other side of the coin, I guess it’s obvious why Spotify won’t budge on this issue – because it simply isn’t affecting a significant enough of users for them to actually make the change.
How Much Space Does Spotify Take Up
Just look at anyone around you right now, chances are, you won’t find anyone who is anywhere near the 10,000 song limit.
While it is worrying that a company is not paying attention to 100% of its users, just making the larger majority happy with new features and song selections makes more business sense.
Either way, Spotify sits atop the music streaming throne and people will still continue to use it regardless.
How Does Spotify Premium Work
In the mean time, the company is gearing up for its planned expansion into Vietnam and Thailand after recently settling a class action suit.