Spotify and Soundcloud are two of the most popular music streaming services for music lovers available. If you’re looking for a music streaming service, either as a listener or as a creator to share your music, you’ve probably considered using both.
However, which music streaming service is best? Should you use Spotify or Soundcloud? In this article, we will compare and contrast the two biggest music streaming services. (Also see, ‘4 Best Podcast Listening Apps‘)
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What Is Spotify Streaming Platform?
Spotify is a popular music streaming service that brings together both music and podcasts. It has over 400 million active monthly users and 180 million have a Spotify premium subscription. It allows music lovers to follow artists, keep track of tour dates, and new music releases.
Once you have built a library of your favorite artists and songs, Spotify will give you tailored recommendations depending on your tastes. (Also see, ‘How To Hide A Podcast On Spotify‘)
What Is Soundcloud Music Streaming Service?
Soundcloud was established in 2007. Being an open platform, Soundcloud focuses on listeners and artists in the music industry from all skill and experience levels. It has 76 million registered users. As long as you own the rights to a track, say an independent music track, anyone can upload music to Soundcloud.
As a creator, you can monetize your uploads and connect with fans.
Both Spotify and Soundcloud have a free version for users. The Spotify free version is supported by ads and has some limited features. You do have access to all of the playlists and albums that Spotify has but music can only be played in shuffle mode with only six skips per hour.
You can’t, however, download songs for offline listening so you will need to be connected to the internet to listen.
The free version of Soundcloud gives you access to all of the songs on the platform but only allows creators to upload up to three hours of music and limits the statistics available. For listeners, there are ads and you can’t download songs for listening offline on the free version.
Spotify Premium costs $9.99 per month for a single membership but also offers both Duo and Family accounts for $12.99 and $15.99 respectively. There is also a student option on Spotify Premium that costs $4.99 per month.
Soundcloud has two levels of premium membership. The first is Soundcloud Go, which costs $4.99 whereas Soundcloud Go+ costs $9.99.
If you’re just listening to music on your phone with standard earphones, then the differences in sound quality between Spotify and Soundcloud are negligible and aren’t something you should be concerned about. (also see, ‘How To Listen To A Podcast On iPhone‘)
However, if you’re listening through high-quality equipment (see also ‘Windscreen Vs Pop Filter‘) and headphones, then sound quality is very important.
For free users, Soundcloud offers music with a streaming quality of 128 kilobits per second, whereas the free tier of Spotify streams at 160kbps. If you’re planning on sticking to the free services only, then Spotify has better sound quality.
The premium tiers of both services offer higher music quality streaming. With Spotify, you can turn on high music quality streaming so that you can download songs or stream in up to 320 kbps. Soundcloud Go+ also offers streaming in 320kbps so the premium tiers of both services match up well.
Size Of The Catalog
Currently, Spotify has more than 80 million songs available for users to listen to. In contrast, Soundcloud has more than 200 million songs available. (Also see, ‘How To Loop A Podcast On Spotify‘)
Although Soundcloud has over twice as many songs in its library that Spotify does, the best catalog for you will depend on what type of music you are hoping to listen to.
Spotify concentrates on mainstream music from established artists and has a wide range of songs from popular artists around the world. While Soundcloud does have some tracks from these artists, its focus is more on new and independent artists.
When it comes to audio other than songs, Spotify is the best option. Soundcloud only carries music but Spotify also has over three million podcasts.
As we just mentioned, Soundcloud has a large library of music from new and independent artists. If you are a new creator that is looking to get your music out there, establish a fanbase, and get some useful statistics, then Soundcloud is a great place to start.
Even at the free tier, you can upload up to three hours of music, although you won’t have full access to the useful analytical tools that Soundcloud provides. If you upgrade to a premium tier, then you can get comments from listeners and interact with them, also.
Spotify has more options for earning money as it pays for streams and also allows creators to add merchandise and ticket selling options. However, it’s not a friendly platform for new artists and is best suited for professional musicians.
Apps And The User Experience
The Spotify app is very easy to use. It has a very user-friendly interface and even new users will quickly be able to navigate and find their favorite artists, build playlists, and get recommendations. The web version of Spotify is very similar and just as easy to use.
Spotify also has apps that are available for a wide variety of other platforms. You can download Spotify to games consoles, Smart TVs, and computers, and use it with appliances such as Amazon’s Alexa with ease.
Soundcloud has a good app and browser version also but isn’t available for download to your computer. Unlike Spotify, Soundcloud also can’t be downloaded to other devices such as game consoles.
If you’re looking for a streaming service to use on your phone or web browser, then both Spotify and Soundcloud offer good user experiences. However, Spotify has more integration with other devices.
There are many similarities between Spotify and Soundcloud. They both offer both free and paid tiers and have very similar streaming qualities. Soundcloud has more songs on its platform whereas Spotify also has a large library of podcasts available.
If you’re a new and fresh creator looking to share your music then Soundcloud is the best choice for you. We would also recommend Soundcloud if you want to discover independent music. However, for listeners that want to access popular and mainstream music, Spotify is the better service.