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Spotify, once a neat novelty, is now an industry giant and one of the big three music streaming providers; alongside Google Play Music and Apple Music Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music: Which Is Best? Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music: Which Is Best? While there are lots of music streaming services around, there are three major ones that stand out above the others: Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music. But which is best? Read More . If you’ve been using Spotify’s free plan to stream music, you know it carries a sleek interface, tons of music, and extra audio content that’s not music 5 Awesome Things To Listen To On Spotify That Isn't Music 5 Awesome Things To Listen To On Spotify That Isn't Music Spotify is best known as a great online service for listening to all the online music your heart desires. If you're opting for the free version of the service, the vast musical collection comes at... Read More .

You’ve probably wondered whether paying for Spotify Premium is worth a monthly subscription or if you’re better off sticking to the free plan to save money 5 Tech Habits You Should Cultivate If You Want to Save Money 5 Tech Habits You Should Cultivate If You Want to Save Money Cultivate these 5 habits to make sure you save money and get the gadgets and hardware you've been lusting after. Read More . Let’s look at what each tier offers, and decide if Spotify Premium is worth the extra investment.

What You Get For Free

Spotify Free is your ticket to Spotify’s massive collection of music without paying a dime. All you need is a Spotify account (you can log in with Facebook), and you’ll be able to access Spotify using apps for Windows, Mac, and your iPhone or Android device, along with a web app 7 Reasons to Start Using the Spotify Web Player Today 7 Reasons to Start Using the Spotify Web Player Today Spotify is about to shake things up by making the desktop and web app experiences more similar. So, it's about time many of us asked ourselves, Why not just use the web app instead? Read More available across all platforms. Unfortunately, the Linux Spotify app is kind of abandoned The Linux Spotify App is Dead (Kinda): What Can Replace It? The Linux Spotify App is Dead (Kinda): What Can Replace It? The year of the Linux desktop never came. From Adobe Flash to Skype, Linux still gets the short end of the software stick. Perhaps the worst offender is Spotify. So how can you replace it? Read More , so Linux users might feel left out.

On desktop, you won’t feel too limited by Spotify Free; Free lets you choose any artist, album, playlist, or song that you’d like to listen to and rock out to it as much as you like. Aside from the adverts every few songs, you won’t feel like huge parts of Spotify are locked away behind a paywall when using Free. If you’re into social features, you’ll have full access to song sharing and checking out what your friends are listening to.

On mobile, things get a bit more restrictive. Using an iPhone or Android device, you’ll still have access to the Spotify catalog, but you’ll be forced to listen to everything in Shuffle mode. That means if you want to listen to an album all the way through, you’re out of luck without Premium.

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However, if you’re on an iPad or Android tablet, you’ll enjoy the same on-demand access to music as on the desktop. Of course, ads will still be present, but you’ll be able to choose any playlist or album and listen to it without shuffling.

When you’re using Spotify Free, you’ll need to be online to listen to music — so no listening in airplane mode to save data Saving Mobile Data: 5 Clever Ways To Reduce Data Usage Saving Mobile Data: 5 Clever Ways To Reduce Data Usage If you’re on a limited mobile data plan, you may find opening your bill to be harrowing experience. Is there an overage charge? How much? And why was there so much data used? While the... Read More .

Upgrading to Premium

Upgrading to Spotify Premium for $10/month is where Spotify really shines. Premium is the only paid tier that Spotify offers these days; the middle-ground Unlimited tier was phased out a few years ago when mobile became much more popular. With Premium, all ads are removed on every platform, so you don’t have to deal with audio ads every couple of tracks. This also removes the visual ads in the player, making the Spotify app a much cleaner experience.

Aside from removing the ads, Premium also unlocks full access on your mobile devices, meaning you can listen to any song at any time on your phone in the same way that you listen on your desktop or laptop. Since you’re not limited by having to shuffle songs anymore, you can also skip tracks to your heart’s content — this applies to the Radio feature too, if you like using that Discover New Music For Free With The New & Improved Spotify Radio Discover New Music For Free With The New & Improved Spotify Radio Spotify continues to go from strength-to-strength. After becoming a growing presence in Europe over the course of several years, it emigrated across the Atlantic to embrace the U.S. The ultimate goal is to span the... Read More .

If you’re listening to Spotify with quality speakers Awesome Computer Speakers You Can Buy For Under $100 Awesome Computer Speakers You Can Buy For Under $100 What are the best desktop computer speakers under $100? Most computers require external speakers to sound their best. We've rounded up the best add-on computer speakers out there for under $100. Read More or headphones, you’ll also enjoy the high-quality streaming that Premium offers. By default, the player runs at 160 Kbps on desktop; Premium allows you to up this to 320 Kbps, which is about the best compression rate you can actually hear How Audio Compression Works, and Can You Really Tell the Difference? How Audio Compression Works, and Can You Really Tell the Difference? In this article, we'll take a look at how music compression works, and whether it has any real effect on how your music actually sounds. Read More .

For mobile, Normal quality is 96 Kbps, High quality is 160 Kbps, and Extreme quality is 320 Kbps. The lower default is to help reduce data usage; Free users can select Normal or High, but only Premium lets you select Extreme on mobile.

Premium’s other huge benefit is offline listening The Best Offline Android Apps for Living Without Data The Best Offline Android Apps for Living Without Data Data plans are expensive, and you don't need them. Here's how you can get by without one and still take full advantage of your Android smartphone. Read More , which allows you to save up to 3,333 songs each on three different devices. Any album or playlist can be saved for offline listening, and you can select the quality (same as the above) in which to save the music. The caveat is that you must go online once every 30 days to keep your offline music valid — this is just a check so that Spotify knows you’re still a Premium member.

Finally, Premium allows you to use Spotify Connect, which controls Spotify music across multiple devices. With Connect, you can control what’s playing on your laptop using your smartphone, or pair Spotify with dedicated hardware, such as speakers and cars. This is a great feature for controlling the tunes at a party How to Share Music from Multiple Devices to a Chromecast How to Share Music from Multiple Devices to a Chromecast Wouldn't it be cool if you could host a party and everyone could add songs to the music that's playing? With a Chromecast and these apps, that's easy. Read More and makes for seamless transitions between listening on your phone and computer.

Of course, Spotify Premium carries all the great extras that Free includes, like the Year in Music 6 Things You Can Learn From Spotify's Year in Music 6 Things You Can Learn From Spotify's Year in Music Spotify has released its Year in Music feature for 2015. It breaks down the music you listened to over the last year, and a lot more besides, as you're about to discover. Read More and the amazing Discover Weekly playlists that help you find new music Discover New Music with Spotify's Automagic Playlists Discover New Music with Spotify's Automagic Playlists Spotify has recently released several new ways of generating unique playlists that will help you discover awesome new music. We're here to guide you through these automagic playlist makers. Read More .

Pricing Options

There are a couple of different ways to get access to Premium without paying $10/month. First, if you’re a student 8 Ways to Save Money When Going to College 8 Ways to Save Money When Going to College Students need to find ways of staying financially afloat, so we look at some of the ways the internet can help you save money when going to college. Read More (with proof), you can get Premium for $5/month (half off) using Spotify Student. Keep an eye out for Spotify’s promotions, too — they often offer three months of Premium for just $1, but these only apply for users who have never tried Premium before.

There’s also a 30-day free trial of Premium that you can check out anytime to see if it’s for you, but know that Spotify will automatically renew the subscription after that time. Head into your account settings to shut that off so you aren’t charged if you decide Spotify isn’t right for you.

It’s important to note that if you’re an Apple user, do not subscribe to Premium through the app on iOS. Apple takes a cut of every in-app purchase Why You Should Avoid Buying Games From The Mac App Store Why You Should Avoid Buying Games From The Mac App Store The Mac App Store doesn't hold a candle to the same store used by iPhone and iPad users to guzzle apps, games and in-app purchases. Read More from the App Store, so Premium is $13/month instead of $10 if you buy it through your iPhone. Avoid this ridiculous charge and use Spotify’s website to upgrade if you choose to do so.

If you’re a PlayStation gamer, you can also take advantage of Spotify’s two months for $2 deal, which is exclusive to users of Spotify on PS3 or PS4. Spotify replaced the dated PlayStation Music a while back, and it fits in nicely on Sony’s systems. On the PS4, you’re even able to play music from Spotify while playing a game — which is perfect for titles with built-in tracks that you’ve gotten sick of hearing.

The most important Premium option is the newly-revamped Spotify Family plan, which lets you add up to six people on one account for a grand total of $15/month. This means that the more people you add, the less the cost is per person Save on Premium Subscriptions With These 9 Shareable Accounts Save on Premium Subscriptions With These 9 Shareable Accounts Premium subscription services are great, but the costs add up fast. Here are 9 services you can share to get the most for your money. Read More . Plus, everyone maintains their own account, which means no fighting over who is using the service or having someone mess with your playlists.

Spotify states that everyone on a Family Plan must be living at the same address; nothing more than the honor system is used to verify this, however. It’s up to you whether you’re OK with violating the rules to save some money if you’d like to join up with a few buddies.

Is the Premium Life Worth It?

If you use Spotify with any frequency during the month, Spotify Premium is an absolutely awesome investment You Should Buy These: 5 Android Apps That Are Worth Every Penny, And Why You Should Buy These: 5 Android Apps That Are Worth Every Penny, And Why There is a vast ocean of Android apps on Google Play and it can be daunting to browse, especially if you're new to Android in general. Free apps are great and all, and there are... Read More . For the price of one album per month, you get high-quality music (no more listening off YouTube The Best Ways To Search And Play YouTube Music On Chrome, Firefox And The Web The Best Ways To Search And Play YouTube Music On Chrome, Firefox And The Web YouTube is fantastic to listen to music quickly and for free. But what if I told you there are browser extensions and websites that make the YouTube music listening experience even better? Read More and dealing with crappy uploads), the ability to save offline music to your phone for when you’re on-the-go (which could pay for itself), and no ads to interrupt the party.

With a Family Plan, it becomes an even more attractive deal. Even with just two or three people, paying $7.50/month or $5/month is an awesome deal for unlimited music streaming.

It’s not odd at all to get your music almost exclusively from Spotify Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes Spotify is no longer content to just compete with radio, now they're competing with the idea of even owning music. Read More — it saves space on your computer 6 Ways to Free Up Space on Your Windows Computer 6 Ways to Free Up Space on Your Windows Computer Clutter can be a big downer on productivity. Over time, files get lost, programs go unused, and suddenly, your once spacious hard drive is packed with useless things and you have to clean it up.... Read More because you don’t have to amass a huge collection of MP3s, listening to an album and deciding you don’t like it doesn’t mean you just wasted $10, and it’s easy to share music with friends and keep it accessible across your multiple devices.

There are only two scenarios in which Spotify Premium isn’t worth the cost for you: you already subscribe to another music streaming service, or you only use Spotify a little bit each month. If you already have a massive music collection and only use Spotify to check out a new artist here and there, you might not care about the ads or mobile access, so Premium just wouldn’t be worth the cost for you personally.

For everyone else, what are you waiting for? Stop spending $10 on every album you buy and get access to millions of songs that you can listen to anytime, anywhere as much as you want. Spotify Premium is the ultimate app for anyone who likes music, and is one premium app that’s absolutely worth paying for.

Not sold? Compare Spotify Premium to the lack of bang for your buck included in the disappointing SoundCloud Go We Tried SoundCloud Go So You Don't Have To We Tried SoundCloud Go So You Don't Have To SoundCloud Go is a new premium music streaming service designed to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, but is it worth paying for? Read More , and you’ll see what a good deal Premium is. If you’re fascinated by the idea of Spotify in the first place, read the history of music consumption The Evolution of Music Consumption: How We Got Here The Evolution of Music Consumption: How We Got Here The rise of the iPod, the music-playing mobile phone, and a number of streaming media platforms all point toward a single, simple idea: music is important. But how did we get here? Read More to see how we got to this juncture.

Do you think Spotify Premium is worth the extra cost? Or are you sticking with Spotify Free? If you don’t want to upgrade, tell us why? And if you have upgraded, tell us what convinced you to do so? Regardless of which side of the fence you stand, feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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  1. Brenda
    September 10, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Would like to get Premium for my granddaughter as a gift; she is age 15, in tenth grade. How do I prove that she is indeed a student?

    • Ben Stegner
      September 11, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      Brenda, Spotify for Students is intended for college students. If your granddaughter has an email address from her high school ending in .edu, you can try to use that to sign up for a Student account here: https://www.spotify.com/us/student/

      This page does state that you must be over 18 to use the Student service, though.

      If this doesn't work for you, I suggest finding a few more family members and signing up for a Family plan. Up to six people can join and it's a flat cost of $15/month no matter if you have two or six. With just three people, it would only be $5/month per person.

      https://www.spotify.com/us/family/

  2. Jon Carter
    August 22, 2017 at 1:22 am

    I am fine with listening to random music on free-mode, since I'm really mostly using it on awkward moments or when I want to just chill. But, is there any difference when using a premium or free while listening to podcasts? Thank you.

    • Ben Stegner
      September 11, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      Jon, I've never used Spotify to listen to podcasts so I'm afraid I couldn't answer your question properly. I imagine ads are still present is all.

  3. Lila
    May 10, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    I already subscribe to Netflix and a sports channel with Telus. I just can't afford another $10/ month. I might think about getting a family package in the future. I also get a free music station called stingray through my cable provider. I cant skip forward or anything but its something. I also listen to music on youtube and convert songs I really like into mp3 through an online convert video (youtube) to mp3 page. Also I have a lot of music on my laptop and android phone. Maybe if I ever get more income. I wish I could have it now. Maybe if I go to school it'll be cheaper. I already used the free trial. Thank you xo Lila

  4. THE BUN
    April 13, 2017 at 5:21 am

    Spotify, the best of the bunch. I've tried them all. Well worth the 10 bucks a month.

  5. Laurence Goldman
    March 14, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Obviously you're a shill for Spotify. Premium has been a nightmare! I've lost my 10 gig offline library 10x easily, forcing me to re-download. I cannot access my account on Spotify.com to cancel premium. It took forever to even find how to reach customer support who know nothing, don't read your posts, and supply useless cookie cutter responses. I tried it for travelling because Pandora is unavailable without 10 bucks a month VPN. No live chat is unexceptable, given how buggy the service is. Using a micro sd card to store Spotify music on Android Marshmallow DOES NOT WORK. DON'T PAY. DON'T PAY. DON'T PAY.

  6. Lee
    February 12, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    I've cancelled my premium because honestly, it's not getting any better. I use it mostly on the PC because it's so annoying to use the spotify app. Tiny buttons, clunky search, too hard to save songs, impossible to find the repeat off/1/all buttons, etc. They used to have lyrics on the PC version which is now gone.
    I don't notice the difference in sound quality at all and because I've listened to some meditations and audio books, those kinds of track show up in "my weekly", which is absurde.
    So after 2 years I gave up on premium, it's just not worth it any more.

    • Laurence
      March 14, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      I second your response. DON'T PAY FOR PREMIUM. Customer service is horrible. The app on Android Marshmallow deletes offline library repeatedly making Premium worthless. Save yourself a headache and avoid giving Spotify money.

      They need live support who acknowledge and can fix known issues. They need to fix broken links, compability issues, keep their software up to date. It's like we're paying them while they figure it out. Come on.

  7. Jean
    January 5, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    I upgraded to the family plan a couple weeks ago so my kids would quit fighting about it. They both still can't be on at the same time so they are still fighting! What the heck?! ?

    • Ben Stegner
      January 6, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      Hi Jean, with a family plan all members can use Premium as much as they want, so you shouldn't run into trouble with two people trying to share the same account. Are you sure that both accounts have received and accepted the family account offer, and aren't trying to sign in with the same account?

  8. Jean
    January 5, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    I upgraded a couple weeks ago to the family plan so my kids would quit fighting about it. They are still fighting because it won't let them both be on!! ? What the heck?!

  9. Toni
    January 5, 2017 at 1:29 am

    We currently have premium but want to upgrade to the family plan. We currently have our own playlist. If we switch to the family plan will we lose our playlist.

    • Ben Stegner
      January 5, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      No, you bring your playlists and music with you when you switch to a family plan. One person will become the "leader" of the family plan. Their account processes the payment and has the ability to invite others. When you invite someone, none of their playlists change — just their Premium status. Enjoy!

  10. Dave
    December 16, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    Glad to finally find out what they mean by "high definition" and it's not my idea of great quality. TIDAL has the true "high definition" audio - lossless.

  11. Terry
    September 30, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    I have a question and not a comment......I do adult foster care for developmently delayed young man,he loves his music and right now I have Spotify free on his tablet,if I upgrade to premium would we be able to transfer his music to a mp3 player so that he could take it with him to his activities?

    • Ben Stegner
      October 6, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      Since Spotify is a streaming service and not a download service, you can't transfer music with it. He could download his Spotify music for offline use on his phone, but you don't have control of the music files at all. Does that answer your question?

  12. Brian Campbell
    July 22, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    I'm tempted, cost is high 120 plus tax per year, I'm a senior (66) who listens at night on my iPad. I'm on a fixed income, and have to watch my spending. It would be wise to offer a senior rate for this market. Sincerely Brian Campbell

    • Eileen Barnett
      September 17, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      I totally agree Brian. I am about to turn 60 and am a support staff worker in a high school. The pay is terrible and being in the library means I am constantly looking at children with earphones on ..... You guessed it .... they are all listening to spotify. I am trying the premium free for seven days. It is good BUT low wages is making me think twice about. Good luck to you. Seems at our age everything we spend is scary on these fixed incomes.

    • Phids
      March 20, 2017 at 6:20 am

      If your budget is so thin that $120 per year for music is cutting it too close, you really should just stick with the free version of Spotify. Music is a want, not a need.

      • Ben Stegner
        April 2, 2017 at 5:13 pm

        I think this could go either way. Music is important to a lot of people and I think it can really help boost your mood. So yes, the free version will suffice if funds are really tight, but money spent on music isn't wasted in my opinion.

        • Phids
          April 2, 2017 at 7:53 pm

          But the main difference between the paid and unpaid version is the presence of commercials. If someone is faced with two alternatives - between listening to a few commercials in the middle of some music, or getting a disconnect notice from the utility company because of inability to pay the electric bill - then the choice should be clear to any rational person.

          Don't get me wrong - I love listening to music and I do so every day. But we live in a world of music that was unreachable for 99.99% of human history. We now have access to virtually any song we can think of at our fingertips in beautiful sound. And the cost? An advertisement after every third or fourth sound. That's still a luxury. Paying for that same service without ads is like a luxury on top of a luxury in the scheme of things.