What's the Difference Between Spotify Free vs Premium 2024

By Charles Davis Updated on 2023-11-29 / Update for Spotify Tips

Spotify is undeniably one of the most popular music streaming services, offering two plan options: Spotify Premium and Spotify Free. In general, both Spotify free and paid users can listen to over 100 million songs on the music library. But Spotify Premium offers users more benefits. Many music lovers wonder that is Spotify Premium worth it if they upgrade to the plan.

If you are also in such a dilemma in choosing one Spotify plan, please look no further than this post. We will walk you through the differences between Spotify and Premium from all aspects. Also, you can skip to Part 10 directly to view the comparison table of Spotify Free vs Premium to make a quick decision.

spotify free vs premium

Part 1. What Is Spotify Free vs Premium

The main differences between Spotify Free and Spotify Premium are price, supported devices, listening experience, and offline features. When it comes to Spotify Free, users will be able to listen to all 100 million tracks, most albums, and playlists free of cost, except for some exclusive albums that are only accessible to Spotify Premium. Besides, it will pop up ads while listening for the free users.

Spotify Premium users enjoy full features such as offline mode, and wider size of compatibility with the Spotify Connect feature that the free plan lacks, however, with charge. The paid plan enables users to go for a $10.99/month individual plan every month. Spotify also gives students a discount of 50% off as long as they provide a student ID. Here is a table that describes all premium plans on Spotify:

Plan Annual Plan Premium Individual Premium Duo Premium Family Premium Student
Price $60/year $10.99/mo $14.99/mo $16.99/mo $5.99/mo
Account 1 premium account 1 premium account 2 premium accounts 6 premium accounts 1 verified account
Free Trial / 3 months / / 1 month

You can choose a free Premium plan trial for 30 days before making the decision on whether you want to go for the Premium subscription or not. It's important to note that the subscription will cancel automatically after 30 days.

See Also: Best Ways to Get Spotify Premium Free

See Also: How to Get Spotify Premium Free Trial for 3 Months

Part 2. Spotify Free vs Premium: Sound Quality

Spotify applied specific and encrypted OGG Vorbis format in all genres of its Spotify tracks. Plus, for streaming Spotify music, there are 4 levels of quality settings for the Spotify Free plan. But when listening to podcasts, both Spotify Free and Premium users stream at 128kbps on Spotify web player and 96kbps on all select devices.

  Spotify Free Spotify Premium
Sound Quality

Automatic Mode: Based on the network connection

Low Quality: 24 kbps

Normal Quality: 96 kbps

High Quality: 160 kbps

Very High: 320 kbps

📌 Verdict: Spotify Premium wins for its higher audio quality. However, except for audiophiles, most listeners won't notice the quality difference between Spotify Free and Premium.

Part 3. Spotify Free Users vs Premium Users

Up to now, according to the Spotify Third Quarter Earnings 2023 Reporter, Spotify currently boasts around 574 million total users worldwide, among which approximately 226 million users have subscribed to Spotify Premium while about 348 million users opt to use a free account.

That means, approximately 50% of Spotify users opt to pay for Spotify Premium service to get full features.

Part 4. Spotify Free vs Premium: Music Library

Both Spotify basic and paid users can stream a size of over 100 million songs with around 6,000 added daily tracks and 5 million podcasts. Spotify also provides 375,000 audiobooks for people who live in the UK, US, IE, CA, AU, and NZ. But Spotify Free users need to purchase the audiobooks. In contrast, Spotify subscribers can access and listen to audiobooks for 15 hours monthly from its 200,000 audiobook catalog without purchasing the title.

Also, there are some differences between Spotify Premium and Free listeners when it comes to newly released tracks and curated content.

For New-Released Songs

Actually, because Spotify free listeners pay less per stream for artists than Premium users, Spotify has set up a paywall. That means, only waiting for two weeks after a release, free Spotify music listeners can access new-released songs with ads and limited skips. But Spotify paid subscribers have full access to the whole Spotify library. They can enjoy additional newly released songs immediately, expert-curated playlists, etc. without any annoying ads.

For Spotify Wrapped

What makes Spotify stand out from other music services is both free and paid Spotify users are endowed with annual Spotify Wrapped. It offers every Spotify user a personalized summary of their listening habits and music preferences over the past year. It includes information such as top artists, most-streamed songs and podcasts, total listening time, genres, and more.

But what makes Spotify Premium subscribers apart from free users is that subscribers can get their Spotify Wrapped earlier with additional insights. For example, they can view their top songs and artists by season and listen to a personalized Wrapped playlist.

For Curated Content

Except for Spotify Duo and Family plan, Spotify Free and Premium customers can enjoy personalized playlists made by Spotify tailored for you. The Daily Mix and Discover Weekly work the same for Spotify Free users as the premium subscribers.

Yet, people who have a free Spotify account will encounter unlimited skips when they select tracks from 15 curated playlists, including the playlist of 'Discover Weekly', 'Daily Mix', 'Alternative R&B', and other popular or algorithmically-curated playlists.

📌 Verdict: Spotify Premium wins this round.

Part 5. Spotify Premium vs Free: Listening Experience

When choosing one of Spotify's services, many music lovers will pay more attention to the listening experience. For instance, whether they would experience annoying ads while listening, if they could download songs from the music service for offline listening, etc. Thus, we will take you through the differences between Spotify Premium and Free from the two aspects.


Apart aside making a profit from subscription plan services, Spotify also earns money by rolling out advertisements. If you have a free account on Spotify, you will be vulnerable to various visual or audio ads while listening. The ads will pop up after playing a certain number around 14 of tracks. Also, when you open the Spotify mobile app, the full-screen ads will display on the interface. However, you won't suffer such ads if you have paid for the Spotify Premium plan.

Offline Listening

On both Spotify mobile and desktop apps, people who have a Spotify free plan cannot download any content from this music service. Even if you can see a download button in the Spotify playlist, it will indicate "Unblock download and other features with Premium" when you click on the button. That means the Spotify offline mode is inaccessible to those users.

Nevertheless, with Spotify Premium, subscribers can switch between the online and offline modes on mobiles and computers freely. They can download any songs, playlists, albums, podcasts, and audiobooks from the Spotify app for offline listening.

📌 Verdict: Spotify Premium wins for ad-free and offline listening experience.


Even if you upgrade to Spotify Premium, you cannot really download Spotify music since the downloads are stored as temporary cache files in Spotify's music library. Once the premium account gets canceled or expires, the downloaded content will disappear from the music library.

To download and keep Spotify music as local files forever, you need a professional Spotify downloader. And AudFree Spotify Music Converter is such a one-in-all tool designed to download and convert all content from Spotify to permanent local files in MP3/FLAC/AAC/WAV/M4A/M4B formats. 100% original audio quality and full ID3 tags will be preserved after conversion.

Part 6. Spotify Premium vs. Free: Social Feature

Spotify provides its two kinds of customers with great social features. Those users can share their tracks with friends or other users. Here is how they share Spotify music to Instagram or other social platforms.

For Spotify Free Users:

✔️ Share Feature: Copy and paste the URL links of songs, playlists, or albums to other users.

✔️ Spotify Blend: Spotify Blend allows two users to merge their musical tastes into one shared playlist, which is a great way to discover new music and share your favorite songs with friends.

✔️ Make Spotify Collaborative Playlist: In the playlists you create, you can invite other Spotify users to add or remove songs.

✔️ Friend Activity: This enables you to see what your friends are listening to in real-time, discover new music, and stay up-to-date with what your friends are enjoying.

For Spotify Premium Users:

Compared with the Spotify Free plan, besides the above ways to socialize with others in the music world, the Premium Spotify subscription has more additional channels:

✔️ Spotify Group Session: Allow subscribers to invite up to 5 friends and host a Spotify live listening party to listen to music simultaneously.

✔️ Spotify Duo/Family Plan: Help combine and share favorite songs with other Spotify users who are included in this plan.

📌 Verdict: Spotify Premium wins for more channels to share music with others.

Part 7. Spotify Premium vs Free: Availability & Playback Control

Spotify Free listeners can stream music on the Spotify mobile and desktop apps as well as the Spotify web player with online mode. They can also play Spotify on many smart TVs, part of games consoles, and smartwatches, car audio systems such as Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, however, with limited features. Also, provided they want to listen to music on other devices such as Spotify-supported audio players, and more devices that need Spotify Connect, they have no chance to access the music library of Spotify.

In contrast, with Spotify Connect, Spotify subscribers are given full access to all supported devices without limitations such as the above-mentioned devices, Chromecast, Spotify Car Thing, etc. On top of that, they can control Spotify music playback with Alexa, Google Assistant, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay, and more wireless connections.

📌 Verdict: Spotify Premium wins for wider compatibility.

Part 8. Comparison Chart of Spotify Free vs Premium

Before making a final decision, let us go through the following comparison table which includes all differences in all aspects between Spotify Free and Premium services.

Subscriptions Spotify Free Spotify Premium
Price Free of charge

Individual: $10.99/m

Duo: $14.99/m

Family: $16.99/m

Student: $5.99/m

Audio Quality

Up to 160 kbps

320 kbps
Music Library

100M+ tracks

5M+ podcasts

Full access to all contents including audiobooks

Need to purchase titles

15 hours of audiobook listening per month
New-released Songs

Access after two weeks

Full access to those songs


iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, TVs, cars


Mobiles, Computers, smart TVs, smartwatches, cars, audi players or displayers (support Spotify Connect)

Social Feature

Share URL links

Spotify Blend

Collaborate playlists

Friend Activity

Share URL links

Spotify Blend

Collaborate playlists

Friend Activity

Spotify Group Seesion

Spotify Duo/Family plan

Curated Content
Offline Mode
Spotify Wrapped
Users Around 348 million Around 226 million

📌 Verdict: Spotify Premium wins for more additional features such as offline mode, free listening for audiobooks, add-free playing with no skips, larger compatibility, etc. According to the chart above, if you have Spotify Free and don't care about the quality of the music and the listening experience, there is no need to switch to Spotify Premium.

Actually, the biggest disadvantage of a free account is that it allows you to listen to Spotify music online only. Fortunately, there is a good workaround: AudFree Spotify Music Converter. It works to download and convert any content from Spotify to MP3, AAC, WAV, M4A, M4B, and other files without Spotify Premium. You can keep and listen to Spotify music offline on all devices and players forever.

Charles Davis

Charles Davis

Chief Editor

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Charles Davis is the chief-editor of AudFree Company, who writes a variety of tech articles and music reviews, such as hot software releases and Spotify music tips.

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