Spotify vs. YouTube Music: Which Is Best?

Shubham Agarwal 06-12-2019

If you’re a Spotify user, the chances are you’ve considered switching recently. Not because Spotify has lost its appeal, but because there are a bunch of new services to try.


One of these alternatives is YouTube Music. It promises a more diverse library of music, and intelligent features which can recommend new music based on your YouTube activity.

But does YouTube Music have what it takes to dethrone Spotify? We find out in this detailed comparison pitching Spotify vs. YouTube Music.

Music Library

Spotify officially houses over 40 million tracks from a vast gamut of artists. Whether you’re looking for Post Malone’s latest album or rock music from the 1960s, Spotify has you covered. Spotify occasionally releases exclusives as well.

YouTube, on the other hand, hasn’t revealed how many tracks are in the YouTube Music library. But given YouTube’s close partnerships with labels, you certainly won’t face issues with locating a particular track on YouTube Music.

On top of that, YouTube Music lets you stream music or video from YouTube’s extensive catalog of fan covers, mashups, and concert clips. YouTube is also home to thousands of non-label tracks which you won’t find on any music streaming platform except for YouTube Music.


While Spotify won’t let you down as far as official songs are concerned, YouTube Music edges this contest thanks to its YouTube integration. The possibilities with YouTube Music are endless and you will be able to hear music beyond what everyone else is tuning in to.

Winner: YouTube Music

The Apps and Their Design

Spotify offers dark-themed apps which neatly organize all of the important sections. So at the top, you’ll find your personalized playlists, followed by what’s trending, recommendations, and albums picked up by Spotify’s editors, etc.


There’s ample space between these carousels allowing you to easily navigate without getting overwhelmed. The apps have a dynamic ambient background which switches based on the active song’s album art.

YouTube Music’s clients come with an OLED-friendly black theme and comfortable white, bold fonts. The home’s layout is similar to Spotify but the way it lays out the library is vastly different.

It begins with your mixtape, but the later sections revolve around the music you’ve listened to before. There’s “Favorites”, “Listen Again”, “Similar To”, and more. YouTube Music even features a “New Videos” category for those interested in the visual format. However, due to that, YouTube Music’s interface also feels a tad cluttered with large video and album/artist thumbnails.

Plus, unlike Spotify, YouTube Music lacks dedicated desktop apps. So you’ll have to depend on the web apps and third-party wrappers instead.


Spotify’s apps are unquestionably the winner here. In addition to the practical design, they lead in engineering as well with a more responsive interface. YouTube Music still largely feels like a work in progress and needs a few updates before it even has a chance.

Winner: Spotify


Spotify is loaded to the brim if you’d like to expand your library and discover new music. With a team of curators, it regularly highlights fresh artists in customized playlists such as “Fresh Finds”.


Plus, Spotify hosts specific genres for moods and activities. That allows you to simply search for topics like “Focus”, and Spotify will instantly pull up white noise playlists. An automated radio station can be launched from any track or artist you like as well.

That’s not all. Spotify’s algorithms curate special daily and weekly playlists for you. Apart from that, the company claims there are over 3 billion playlists created by both Spotify’s own curators and other users. Plus, you can check out Spotify sites to find new music and playlists 6 Spotify Sites to Discover New Music and Find Playlists You'll Like Spotify makes it easier to discover new tunes. Check out these cool apps to get new playlists or album recommendations. Read More .

YouTube Music’s set of tools for discovery, in comparison, feels limited. There aren’t a ton of playlists, nor do you have particular genres for moods or activities. There’s a constantly updated mixtape based on your listening preferences. Like Spotify, radio stations from tracks is available too.

Other than that, YouTube Music doesn’t offer much. There are two notable areas where it shines, though. YouTube Music can automatically download a mixtape of songs it thinks you might enjoy.

What’s more, its algorithms are a little ahead of Spotify’s and can pull up alternate covers and mashups from YouTube instead of the standard library.

YouTube Music does have a few advantages. But Spotify’s sweeping catalog of playlists means it’s the winner here. With Spotify, you have more control over what you’d like to listen. But if you want a service that makes decisions for you, you should go with YouTube Music.

Winner: Spotify


search lyrics youtube music

Both YouTube Music and Spotify have a search function. The former, however, takes it a step further for times when you can’t quite remember the title of a song. On YouTube Music, you can type in whatever you can remember and the song you’re looking for will be in the results.

So for instance, if you search for “Jerusalem bells are ringing”, YouTube Music will promptly fetch Coldplay’s Viva La Vida.

Spotify has one upper-hand here. As we mentioned earlier, its search enables you to find the right playlist for a mood or activity.

Even though Spotify can better accommodate your precise playlist demands, YouTube Music has a noticeably superior engine. Which is unsurprising given YouTube’s ties with Google.

Winner: YouTube Music


Podcasts on Spotify

One area where Spotify easily beats YouTube Music is its ability to stream podcasts. Spotify has a rich platform for podcasts, with topics galore to explore.

Moreover, you can browse the most popular channels and follow one to receive notifications whenever a new episode is added. YouTube Music doesn’t boast podcast support yet. Although since Google Play Music does, we expect this to change overtime.

Winner: Spotify


YouTube Music can play content at a bitrate of up to 256kbps AAC, while Spotify can stream up 320kbps. However, to enjoy the maximum quality, you’ll need to be a premium subscriber.

That being said, if you’d like to preserve data, YouTube Music is a better option since its data saver mode turns down the level to 48kbps AAC. Spotify, at its lowest, can stream at 96kbps.

The winner here rests on your preferences. If you want the best possible quality pick Spotify. But if you’d prefer to option to stream music at the lowest possible quality, pick YouTube Music.

Winner: Tied

Extra Features

Fundamentals aside, YouTube Music and Spotify come with a plethora of supplementary features to lure listeners in.

YouTube Music, unfortunately, doesn’t do much in its current state except for offering a tempting deal. You can upgrade to YouTube Premium by paying just a few bucks extra and gain access to its original shows and lose the ads. In addition, for some tracks, you can instantly switch between their audio and video versions.

Spotify, over the years, has introduced a series of handy features. You can read the lyrics and a few behind-the-scenes tidbits (if available) right from the “Now Playing” screen, browse local songs stored on your computer, and enable crossfade between tracks.

In addition, Spotify lets you connect your phone and computer to control playback irrespective of which device it’s active on. Spotify has built a social platform as well through which you can follow other people and share your activity with them. You can even listen to Spotify on your Fitbit!

Winner: Spotify


Both Spotify and YouTube Music have a handful of free and premium plans. So let’s break them down before arriving at a conclusion.

Spotify’s free tier lets you skip only a limited number of tracks per day, shows in-app advertisements, and you can’t stream offline. It’s very much usable if you’re not an avid music listener. The premium subscription costs $10/month.

However, if you’re a student, you only need to spend $5/month. There’s also a family package which is priced at $15/month and allows six concurrent listeners.

YouTube Music’s free plan is much less appealing and along with ads, requires you to have the screen constantly turned on. At $10/month, you can upgrade to YouTube Music Premium for an ad-free music streaming experience or you can spend $12/month instead to watch YouTube ad-free as well.

YouTube Music Premium’s family subscription costs $15/month. And YouTube Music for Students costs $5/month.

Although both services offer the same premium pricing, Spotify comes out on top thanks to its excellent free plan.

Winner: Spotify

Spotify vs. YouTube Music: Which Should You Choose?

Of the nine categories we’ve explored, Spotify has won six. Therefore, unless you want to watch videos as well as listen to audio, Spotify beats YouTube Music quite comfortably. At least in our opinion.

No matter which of the two music streaming services you select, we’ve got you covered. Here are the Spotify tips and tricks you need to know and a few YouTube Music tips and tricks.

If you’re ready to move away from Spotify, but YouTube Music isn’t what you’re looking for, you might want to see how Spotify fares against Apple Music and Google Play Music Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music: Which Is Best? Here's our comparison of music streaming services Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music on price, quality, and catalog. Read More .

Related topics: Spotify, Streaming Music, YouTube Music.

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  1. Damian Pheenix
    October 31, 2019 at 11:32 am

    There's a deal breaker here that's not mentioned at all.

    Spotify, free, doesn't allow you to just "pick a song and play it". You pick a song, and it will play something different that it believes is similar.

    YouTube Music, free, when you pick a song, it plays it, simple as that.

    Most people just won't tolerate not being able to listen to the songs they pick.

  2. Jason
    October 29, 2019 at 2:42 am

    I was interested in Spotify for about 15 minutes. Tried to make a playlist to share with people. Then found it doesn't even have the good live version of Running Back to Saskatoon by the Guess Who, from Live at the Paramount. It has some weakass live version they recorded later instead. And only that version. Meanwhile, Youtube - the website, not Youtube Music per se whatever that is - has every version you could think of, with the definitive version appearing first in Google search results.
    So, not sure why people are still using Spotify.

  3. Tommy
    October 28, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    "But if you’d prefer to option to stream music at the lowest possible quality, pick YouTube Music."
    Yes, I really want to pay for a service and listen to the lowest possible quality! Please, Spotify, lower your quality... we want 8bit 22KHz audio! :D

  4. Leeanne
    July 19, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Spotify has no customer service, and frequently locks family members out, making their family plan completely unusable. Try emailing them, they send a useless answer, tell your family member to sign in, and then declare the problem solved. Any alternative is better.

    • Peter
      June 25, 2020 at 3:33 pm

      Sadly, you are so right. Managing and navigating the library has been made unnecessarily complicated to impossible by spotify lately, and they seem to give a cra* about countless users complaining in their forum, even though they have been given heaps of constructive feedback, with users pleading on their knees to get back some of the most basic features. Spotify really deserves to loose tons of customers, no matter what else they do right, they just ignore and defy any common sense with their twisted, arrogant anti-logic, fuzzing all about having to follow artists and liking songs, instead of providing the most basic search and sorting functionality :-(

  5. Simon Weiner
    June 5, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Spotify is too slow - navigating around is a nightmare - shameful that I am a paying customer and they're so slow - almost non-working many times.

  6. n0mad
    May 10, 2019 at 8:58 am

    One thing you haven't mentioned that is the biggest deal breaker for non premium youtube music is that you cannot play the songs if your phone screen is locked. You have to leave the screen unlocked if you want to listen the music which eats away a lot of battery and is mildly annoying.

    • Shubham Agarwal
      May 10, 2019 at 9:00 am

      We have mentioned that - "YouTube Music’s free plan is much less appealing and along with ads, requires you to have the screen constantly turned on."

  7. Anna H
    May 6, 2019 at 7:44 am

    Im trying out Youtube Music.

    Funny how Youtube knows exactly what kind of music I used to listen to on Spotify..

    • Tommy
      October 28, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      You probably googled your favourite bands a lot, I always do it to check their discography on Wikipedia, for example. Also, you probably looked for the same artists on youtube several times as well.

    • kho
      February 23, 2020 at 7:16 pm

      because your os is from youtube itself

  8. Wilfredo Melendez
    April 16, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    Just so you reader know if you paid for google play music you get YouTube music premium and no ad as well. You should have adding the for 14.99 which is the family plan I get YouTube premium that includes YouTube music and no ads and Google play music which is suppose to all under YouTube Premium.

    • Dylan
      August 28, 2019 at 5:56 pm

      I agree it's dishonest not to mention this. Price should be a winning point on YouTube Music for anyone who uses Youtube (everyone) that gets ad-free from the same subscription.