Online music streaming platforms are becoming dominant in the music industry these days. Spotify and SoundCloud are two of the most popular platforms that come to the list. Many people who listen to music online have been using one or both of these platforms in their daily life. If you find it hard to choose between Spotify and SoundCloud, keep reading this debate about Spotify vs. SoundCloud.
In this guide, we will compare these two online music streaming platforms, then you can decide which to pick on your own!
Spotify vs. SoundCloud Debate: Factors
We did some research to help you find which one is better, Spotify or SoundCloud. Here are the eight biggest factors that may affect your decision.
Music Library Size
Both of these platforms have huge music libraries where you can find tons of tracks in different genres.
Spotify provides you with more than 100 million tracks. It is a bit more difficult to put your music on Spotify than that on SoundCloud. Music is curated, and the quality of sound is always high (we will discuss this aspect right below).
The way to upload your music on SoundCloud is easier. It’s one of the reasons why SoundCloud has way more tracks than Spotify, with over 200 million tracks in 2024. However, a portion of this can be low-quality content. Since SoundCloud’s standards are lower than Spotify’s, it’s a great place to explore up-and-coming artists that not many people know.
We all love listening to high-quality music, right?
In general, music on Spotify has superb quality. Spotify provides 96kpbs to people using mobile devices, and up to 320kpbs and higher on desktops. This will make sure that your tracks sound great while running on this platform.
On SoundCloud, quality can be a whole mixture. You can find some great songs produced and released by professional artists. In other cases, some users upload their tracks which can be awful. In terms of literal audio quality, SoundCloud sets it at 64kpbs.
With many users, pricing is a huge factor that impacts our decision.
Spotify has a free and ad-supported version that allows users to listen to unlimited tracks. However, they are interrupted by ads every 30 minutes and cannot listen to chosen songs. Some people who use this version may be interested in the shuffle on a playlist, and others aren’t. So with $9.99/month, you can get access to the higher sound quality of Spotify Premium. Users can listen to music offline, without any ads, download, and choose their favorite songs to listen to. Spotify also offers users Duo, Family, and Student packages.
SoundCloud offers three subscription plans for its users: the free version, SoundCloud Go ($4.99/month), and SoundCloud Go+(9.99/month). A huge number of tracks are available with the free version. The ads will appear in this version and users can not download music to listen offline. With the other two plans, SoundCloud gives ad-free streaming and offline listening. SoundCloud Go+ has way more tracks than the standard Go pack.
The things that users and brands are most likely to look at while checking out a streaming service are its intuitive user interface and user-friendly functionality.
It’s quite easy to get familiar with the smooth interface of Spotify. With a couple of taps, you can listen to your favorite music quickly. The design on both desktop and mobile is wonderful and the green-black color theme is awesome in terms of the visual aspect. It’s also simple to access features as it’s all upfront and straightforward.
SoundCloud is also easy to use. However, it can be a little cluttered and tough to navigate sometimes, especially for users who aren’t familiar with this platform.
Both Spotify and SoundCloud have customized music feeds for their users.
Spotify’s algorithms are some of the most intelligent out there. They collect data and analyze your music listening patterns, then find the new music that suits you. You just need to listen to Spotify for a few weeks, its algorithms will start creating your weekly playlist and recommend new music that you will love.
SoundCloud algorithms are much more simple that offer a personalized music feed based on what users listen to. SoundCloud will curate songs in similar genres or by artists that it thinks you might be interested in.
Fortunately, both of these platforms are quite versatile with their download options so users can listen to offline music while going on road trips, hikes, and other kinds of adventures that will not have Wi-Fi.
Spotify Premium offers music downloads for offline listening. Ten thousand songs are available to download which is more than enough to satisfy any music fan.
Many SoundCloud artists allow users to download through their websites or via the platform itself. You also need the Premium versions of SoundCloud to download most songs.
Spotify and SoundCloud are both developing. So, it’s essential to keep tabs on where each company is heading with its visions.
Spotify is famous as a highly intelligent platform. The company is depending on data analysis and algorithms to give its users a great experience than ever. Spotify audio ads are also great chances for brands to send their message to more audiences that want to hear it.
SoundCloud keeps adding more consumer plans and improving the current ones. It shows their clear vision of becoming a platform more oriented to casual listening and user subscriptions.
Spotify vs. SoundCloud Debate: Final Thoughts
Choosing which streaming platform to use comes down to a ton of factors. That’s the reason why Spotify vs. SoundCloud debate is too hot this year.
You may prefer one over the other, the same as some artists, brands, or other casual users. It’s really difficult to say Spotify is better or SoundCloud is better. Each platform has its strengths. It also depends on your needs. In my opinion, Spotify provides us with high-quality audio with an impressive recommendation function and is a great chance for brand promotion. Meanwhile, SoundCloud is where you can be an artist easier than on Spotify or find brand-new artists and songs that may go viral in the future. Hopefully, with all the above information, you will choose the winner of your own.