SoundCloud vs. Spotify (2021 Comparison)

Last updated: Jan 22, 2021

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SoundCloud vs. Spotify

Today, it’s easier than ever to listen to music at a relatively low cost.

Spotify is one of the pioneers in the music market and offers you popular music for free or charge on a monthly basis.

Spotify isn’t the only music streaming app in the market. SoundCloud is also a hot service that lets creators and DJs upload their music and share it on social networking sites.

SoundCloud vs. Spotify – which is better? Read this comparison to find it out!

Part 1. About SoundCloud

Pros

Independent artists can upload their works

The distinguished feature of SoundCloud is that anyone who would like to upload a track can do it with a free account. In this way, SoundCloud is an empowering platform that gives emerging artists a place to share their music with others. It’s what sets SoundCloud apart from other music streaming platforms, and indeed has been revolutionary in the internet age. With SoundCloud, you don’t need to figure out how to upload your work, you only need to create music and share it with your followers.

Large Music Catalog

SoundCloud has about 200 million songs, while Spotify only has about 70 million. Why is such a disproportion in a music catalog? Well, Spotify is the streaming platform that focuses mainly on mainstream music, while SoundCloud pays more attention to independent music. Everyone can upload their work to SoundCloud. Thus, the service offers a wider choice of songs. However, it doesn’t mean better quality.

Cons

Not easy to use compared with Spotify

An intuitive interface and great functionality are things that users and brands look at when checking out streaming services. Spotify is incredibly easy. The interface is quite simple to get familiar with, and just a couple of taps can get you to listen to your favorite music quickly. As for Spotify’s feature, you can easily navigate to any advanced feature without hassle. It’s all very upfront and straightforward.

As any hot streaming service should be, SoundCloud is also easy to use. However, it can be a bit difficult and cluttered to navigate (especially to those who use the platform not for a long time), but, SoundCloud provides a great user experience overall.

Pricing

Free

SoundCloud is available for free. Create an account first, and you can discover music that contains ads.

Paid

1. For $5.99 per month, you have the same offer as SoundCloud free, but with the option to save music, and you will no longer hear any advertisements.

2. For $9.99 per month, you can visit an even more extensive music library of 200 million audio files. If you choose a SoundCloud Go + subscription, you can enjoy the free trial in the first month.

Part 2. About Spotify

Pros

Powerful AI Recommendation Engine

When it comes to music discovery, both apps offer a system with musicians’ and composers’ suggestions, which you may like. Spotify has an extensive collection of all the artists you know or have heard of. Its recommendation engine is brilliant – the app creates/shows playlists and songs according to your listening habits. The AI tracks your song collection and playlists to make sure each recommendation matches your preferences perfectly.

SoundCloud gathers mostly indie artists, who upload their original music and various remixes of existing songs. Some musicians and labels don’t want to stream to sites like Spotify, and SoundCloud is the perfect place for them. However, when it comes to music recommendations, SoundCloud doesn’t have a good algorithm like Spotify. It shows new artists that you should check out, but the system isn’t very accurate for your music taste. Also, SoundCloud has paid recommendations, so you might see the sponsored music, even if it’s not your favorite genre.

High Audio Quality

Spotify has different sound quality settings depending on the user’s subscription and current device. Its standard bit rate for listening from a smartphone is 96kbps. On the other hand, when listening from your computer, the speed increases to 160kbps. If you subscribe to the Spotify Premium version, you will get 320kbps audio streaming, which is considered “high quality” on a computer and “extreme quality” on a smartphone. Almost all songs available in Spotify’s catalog were recorded in professional music studios. Thus, the quality is usually outstanding.

On the other hand, SoundCloud is a service where every artist can upload their compositions regardless of quality. So, you can either come across great songs released and produced by artists or encounter phone-recorded sketches of songs. But speaking technically about SoundCloud’s audio quality, the service only provides 64kbps.

Cons

Too many audio advertisements

Spotify and SoundCloud both have audio ads, and sometimes it may be difficult for brands to decide which platform is better to advertise on. However, Spotify has a larger and more diverse audience than SoundCloud, which means that most businesses will take Spotify as a more attractive place to advertise on. Therefore, you may encounter more audio ads on Spotify.

Pricing

Free

To save money, you can use Spotify for free with certain limitations – only shuffle mode will be available, and you won’t skip commercials. However, it’s still possible to search for new music, listen to Spotify radio stations, and create playlists.

Paid

  1. Spotify Premium

Spotify Premium is the perfect subscription offer for most music fans. For $9.99 per month, users can use all Spotify services without limits. So it’s possible to listen to music offline and enjoy the better sound quality.

  2. Spotify Premium Duo

The Duo subscription only applies to the two accounts. Duo plan costs $12.99 and enables its users to listen to music without ads, use the offline mode, and access a special Duo Mix playlist. The Duo playlist is created based on songs that could appeal to both members of the household.

  3. Spotify Family

While the single-user premium plan’s value may be debatable, it’s important to remember that Spotify offers a much cheaper option for families and other groups. The Family Plan costs $14.99 and includes six family members. That’s about $2.50 per user if you use all six accounts. However, there are restrictions that you must respect when subscribing to this option. All people must live under the same roof or have their Spotify profile set to live at the same address.

  4. Spotify students

Students can enjoy a 50% discount on Spotify Premium, which is $ 4.99 per month.

SoundCloud vs. Spotify – Final Words

Deciding which streaming service to use comes down to many factors, which is why the SoundCloud vs Spotify debate is up there for a reason. Small-time artists would prefer one over the other, and the same goes for brands and casual users.

However, when taking many factors into consideration, Spotify is the preferable choice for a premium music service offering something a music fan would like to enjoy. From high-quality audio to great plans and excellent potential for brand promotion, Spotify provides everything that anyone will want from a fantastic platform.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, SoundCloud or Spotify?

Spotify wins for many reasons. Its ease-to-use and the library size are virtually unmatched, and there is no better place to find the latest music. The curated playlists and For You options are amazing, and you will see nothing comparable to it on SoundCloud. Besides, music download and offline use are seamless with Spotify, making it easy to listen to tunes on a long trip. Spotify also boasts premium audio quality, which is significantly higher than the quality that SoundCloud provides.

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