Spotify has become a household name due to its dominance in the world of music streaming. Its easy-to-use interface and huge eclectic library have enticed many new users.
There’s no doubt that Spotify’s free plan, in which you don’t pay a penny to use the service, has been a real draw.
If you’re currently a free Spotify user you may be wondering whether you should upgrade to Premium and become a monthly subscriber.
In this article, we explain exactly what features Spotify Premium unlocks, allowing you to decide whether it’s right for you.
Download More Than just Podcasts with Spotify Premium
Spotify Premium may come at a monthly cost, but there are plenty of features that make it well worth it. One of the most alluring features for many potential Premium members is the ability to download tracks for offline play.
Music streaming services understand that their users do not always have access to the internet or are on mobile plans in which their internet data is restricted. It’s for this reason that platforms, such as Spotify, allow users to download content and save it to their devices.
If you’re a free Spotify user, you may have noticed that you cannot download music to listen to offline. So if you’re in an area without internet, or have run out of data, you’ll have no way to listen to songs on Spotify.
Luckily, free Spotify users can download podcasts to listen to offline, but when it comes to playlists, albums, and individual tracks, you’ll need a Premium account to save them onto your device.
Having the option to take the music you love anywhere you go, and not have to be dependent on the internet to do it, cannot be understated.
A Premium membership on Spotify will unlock the option to download up to 10,000 songs to 5 of your devices.
The only caveat is that you must connect to Spotify via the internet at least one time within 30 days; if not, your downloads will be removed.
Upgrading to Spotify Premium will Unlock an Ad-Free Listening Experience
All users want to get lost in the music when listening to their favorite album or playlist, but there’s something that fully prevents those on a Spotify Free plan from a truly uninterrupted experience.
If haven’t upgraded to Spotify Premium then you’ll know all about ad breaks on Spotify.
The loud ad breaks between songs, after skipping songs, and when changing playlists are the way in which Spotify can offer a free service. The ads that are interrupting your listening experience are providing revenue to Spotify.
As a free user on Spotify, you’re reaping the rewards of this ad-based, completely free, subscription to the service Spotify provides – you don’t pay a dime.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that, if you have a free account with Spotify, you cannot get away from ad breaks.
Unfortunately, there is no way in which a user can skip any ad that interrupts their listening, and, moreover, ads are triggered regularly with somewhat devious tactics.
SoundGuys.com concurs and explains that:
“Many of [the ads] feature the most irritating noises you could imagine, such as traffic horns overlaid with a voice saying things like, “Is this annoying? If you buy Premium, you won’t have to listen to this anymore.” (…) paying for Spotify Premium is almost worth it for the sole purpose of removing these ads.”
If you upgrade to Spotify Premium, you can unlock uninterrupted listening and finally be free from annoying ads.
Additionally, it means that instead of using data or your device’s battery life to listen to ads, you’ll use it for simply listening to the music you love.
Spotify Premium Unlocks On-Demand Playback Control (You can Finally be Shuffle-Free)
One of the most restrictive aspects of only having a free account with Spotify is how playback is affected.
If you’ve yet to upgrade to Spotify Premium you’ll find that:
- It is not possible to deactivate shuffle mode when playing music via the mobile app.
- Shuffle mode as a default option prevents users from selecting which tracks they want to hear.
- All albums and playlists are played out of order.
- Free users will only be able to skip 6 tracks each hour.
- Free account holders can ‘hide’ tracks within selected playlists in order to negate their limited skips.
Spotify Premium unlocks the full range of playback features and allows users to listen to the music when they want and how they want to.
On-demand listening with a Spotify Premium account means you have unlimited skips and can test out how a song sounds without having to listen to it the whole way through.
Premium users can also switch off shuffle mode and can select which songs they want to listen to. And, crucially, listen to albums and playlists as they were intended to be heard – in the correct order.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that free Spotify account holders do have a few ways to get past some of the playback restrictions.
- Using the Spotify desktop app, Free users can listen on-demand.
- Certain playlists found in the ‘Made For You’ section can be listened to in any order, too.
- Whilst on the desktop app, users can turn off shuffle mode.
All that aside, if you want to have full control over your listening experience on Spotify, you should consider upgrading to Premium.
Unlock Higher Sound Quality with Spotify Premium
Spotify may not have yet released its much-awaited Spotify HiFi and given its users a ‘lossless’ listening experience, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t provide different sound quality settings.
All Spotify users have the following sound quality settings:
With a Spotify Premium account, you unlock a fifth quality tier named ‘Very High’. The ‘Very High’ setting allows users to listen to their tracks with more definition and more data to be heard.
However, it is important to note that Spotify for the time being only provides lossless formats such as AAC, Ogg Vorbis, and HE-AACv2.
Nevertheless, if you want to get the best listening experience at Spotify’s highest quality of sound, a Premium account is a must.
SoundGuys.com explains this perfectly by outlining the differences between the two plans:
“(…) with Free Spotify, the maximum bitrate you can stream at is 128kbps on the web player and 160kbps on the mobile and desktop apps, whereas Spotify Premium affords you 256kbps on the web player and 320kbps streaming on desktop and mobile. In essence, this means that Spotify Premium’s music contains more audio data points, and therefore more detail to its sound.”
Unfortunately, some Premium users have reported the problem that they cannot access the Very High option. In this case, we recommend rebooting your device or a fresh install of the app.
Premium Unlocks Access to the Latest Releases
If you entered the world of music streaming so that you never miss a new album from your favorite artist then it may be time to consider upgrading to Spotify Premium.
Don’t worry though; that doesn’t mean that free users won’t get to listen to the new content. Instead, free users will simply have to wait two weeks until it becomes available.
The reason why an artist may choose to use this paywall is because of the disparity between how much the artist is paid for each stream that is made, and more importantly, what type of account holder streams it.
Artists are paid more for each stream made by a Premium member in comparison to a free member. So, in order to capitalize on their new release, an artist can restrict their new content to Premium members for the first two weeks.
Remember, not every artist will choose to switch on this paywall and restrict their newly released content, but if you don’t want to take that chance, upgrading to Premium is a good option.
Additionally, as a Premium member, you’ll know that the artists you love are receiving more money each time you listen to them.
Group Sessions are Unlocked for those who Upgrade to Spotify Premium
Spotify has created numerous ways in which the platform can encourage social interaction and allow users to share the love of music with one another.
Although the social features between the Free plan and Premium plan are almost identical, there is one feature that is exclusive to those paying a monthly subscription.
The feature is called a ‘Group Session’, and, as Spotify explains, this is:
“for Premium [users] on mobile and tablet. In a group session, everyone invited – no matter where they are – can control what plays.” [Source:support.spotify.com]
These Group Sessions allow Premium users to get up to five people involved in what music is played and can be a great way of sharing new music with each other.
It is also a popular option for parties and gatherings in which there are multiple musical tastes that need to be catered for.
Moreover, Group Sessions can be done remotely, allowing you to listen together no matter where any of you are in the world.
This Premium feature takes social listening to the next step and is well worth considering if you love listening to content with friends.
Additionally, Premium users who live under the same roof can subscribe to Spotify Duo. This allows them to each have separate accounts but for a cheaper fee each month!