Spotify Review Pros Cons And Alternatives In 2023

If you only include paying subscribers, Spotify is the biggest streaming service in the world. The corporation has access to an incomparable wealth of information about how people listen to music, especially when you consider the enormous number of customers who take advantage of its free listening tier.

When it performs at its best, Spotify uses that data to power a recommendation engine that, in the streaming industry, is without equal. Unfortunately, the business has lagged behind the competition in other important areas, so you might want to explore elsewhere for a music streaming service until those problems are resolved.

Most musicians and record labels turn to Spotify first because of its large listener base. Its well-known new music playlists are crucial in launching upcoming pop and rap musicians. Only Spotify makes an effort to provide an artist's tour dates. The service provides the best social sharing options if you're interested in the music your friends are listening to, and you can use it to see what they're playing in real time.

Additionally, there is a lot of animosity coming from a vocal portion of the creative community. There are concerns about the company's significant investments in non-musical areas, complaints about the streaming quality, and some people don't appreciate how the free tier reduces royalties.

What you're looking for when you sign up for a music-streaming service has a lot to do with where you stand on the Spotify debate. What some users find to be advantages, others find to be deal-breakers. Let's dissect the problems so you can make a choice.

What is the price of Spotify?

The monthly fee for Spotify Premium is $9.99. The $12.99/month Premium Duo plan allows you to add a second household member. The $15.99/month Premium Family package offers support for up to six users (with the same restriction on living arrangements), an explicit content filter, and a Spotify Kids app that only plays kid-friendly music.

Showtime and Hulu's ad-supported tiers are both free with the $4.99/month Spotify Student plan. Users that meet the requirements using SheerID are entitled to this subscription for a maximum of four years.

With substantial limitations, Spotify's popular free tier provides access to the full music library. You'll hear advertisements along with your music, and the only way to listen to an album is on shuffle. Individual tracks cannot be played on demand for free users. Finally, only 160Kbps of streaming quality is available on the free tier.

Lack of high-quality streams on Spotify

If you have a paid subscription, Spotify streams music in the Ogg Vorbis compression format at 320 Kbps. Ogg Vorbis has the advantage of being an open-source, royalty-free technology, but not being as well known as MP3 (for Spotify). Although Ogg Vorbis has long been touted as having greater audio quality than MP3, it has never truly taken off outside of Spotify.

Due to technological difficulties with Ogg Vorbis streaming from a browser, Spotify streams content from its web player in the AAC format at 256Kbps.

That's it, then. Spotify hasn't enhanced its quality in years, unlike Tidal, Apple Music, Qobuz, Amazon Music Unlimited, and Deezer, who have all introduced CD-quality or better streaming. Granted, the current 320Kbps standard represented a significant improvement in streaming quality. Spotify is now behind the competition, as is YouTube Music Premium, but that service has the biggest catalog of all.

In 2021, Spotify did make good on its pledge to introduce a new tier named "Spotify HiFi." A "CD-quality, lossless audio format" was promised in the company's news release from February 2021, and Spotify Premium members would get the choice to "upgrade" in "certain markets."

High-resolution streaming is available from Tidal, Apple Music, Qobuz, and Amazon Music Unlimited with bit rates that are significantly greater than Spotify's promised lossless CD rates. Apple and Amazon provide it for the same monthly fee that Spotify does now, and Tidal's CD-quality tier is likewise priced at the same level as Spotify.

Even if Spotify introduces a higher-end HiFi option for $14.99/month, the service will still be playing catch-up. If the high-resolution alternatives are priced at $14.99 and the Premium tier switches to CD quality for $9.99/month, Spotify will at least be able to claim to be competitive.

Although it's a common misconception that "no one can tell the difference" between lossy and lossless music, Spotify's streaming quality is noticeably better than the CD-quality streams provided by its rivals. I was shocked at how much poorer Spotify's streams sounded after a direct comparison of dozens of tunes on the other platforms.

I invited six friends and family members to each choose a favorite song until we found one that was CD-quality on Apple Music and Tidal, just to make sure. The music was then played for around a minute in a blind comparison between Spotify and the other two. Everyone could recognize the Spotify stream and agreed that it sounded worse.

You can disregard my analysis if you try Spotify and don't hear a difference. But those who haven't already become devoted Spotify users owe it to themselves to draw this connection.

Spotify features robust capabilities for music discovery

To be thoroughly ingrained in Spotify, there are a number of really compelling reasons. Rap Caviar, Viva Latino, Hot Country, Fresh Finds, and New Music Friday are some of the playlists on the site that were produced by humans and are now widely regarded as leading indicators of emerging new artists. I am personally aware of a small number of key figures in the music business who use Qobuz or Tidal for personal listening but use Spotify since these playlists are so crucial to their operations.

The tailored Daily Music mixes, which are algorithmically created based on your individual listening preferences, are even more astounding. Your favorite songs are mixed with brand-new tracks that the algorithm thinks you'll enjoy and obscure music from artists whose catalog you may or may not be familiar with. You will receive playlists that are focused on what you are playing if you listen to music from various genres. These days, I have six separate Daily Music playlists with an emphasis on various genres of rock, jazz, electronic music, and hip-hop.

This is the precise situation when Spotify's size makes a significant difference. In addition to monitoring my personal listening habits, Spotify compares the music I play to those that hundreds or millions of other users are also playing. The playlists are really fantastic; they may be the best feature offered by any streaming service.

Additionally, you receive a Release Radar playlist that provides the most recent music from artists you follow and a New Music Weekly playlist that combines recent songs with older ones that Spotify believes you'll enjoy. These playlists are crucial if you want to stay up to date with the latest information.

News and guidance have been incorporated into playlists like Daily Drive and a customized morning show called The Get Up as Spotify expands its business into spoken-word entertainment. Everything is set up to keep you using the app.

Watching live performances on Spotify

Only Spotify has made an attempt to navigate the infamously complex live concert listings. It covers an astonishing majority of live music performances in the United States and around the world by scraping information from ticketing websites including Ticketmaster, Songkick, Eventbrite, and AXS.

Additionally, you can create a listing for performances in your neighborhood. It's not comprehensive enough to take the place of your favorite local concert website, but it's a helpful resource for keeping track of live music in your community.

Spotify has partnered with fulfillment firm Merchbar to enter the goods industry. To sell t-shirts, sweatshirts, CDs, and vinyl, artists can add a merch section to their page, which is at the bottom near the concert listings.

Spotify song lyrics

Many of the songs on the website now include lyrics thanks to a partnership between Spotify and Musixmatch. What strikes me as stunning is how big the words are as they move across the screen and how much they stand out against a solid, vibrantly colored background. It's the ideal choice for anyone who wants to use their streaming service as a karaoke bar.

The desktop application and web browser for Spotify

The desktop version of Spotify is quite dark, just like the mobile app. The page's layout is simple and easy to understand, with the customised material placed prominently at the top. Podcasts have a lot of space devoted to them as well. I've never used Spotify to listen to podcasts, and I'll point out that they no longer advise that I would enjoy Joe Rogan, their most well-known podcaster. I'm not sure if that is a result of my listening (I used to play a lot of Neil Young) or a decision based on a more general policy. Joe might no longer require the promotion.

Although the Rosetta 2 translator works flawlessly with the designed-for-Intel software, the Mac app has not yet been updated for Apple Silicon. The need for a new version is not urgent. The browser version has the same appearance and functionality, but due to technological difficulties, as already noted, it streams in a lesser resolution and a different audio format.

Reducing background noise on Spotify

Spotify's free tier has its detractors in the creative world who feel that it makes it too simple for listeners to satisfy their musical cravings without having to pay for it. It is a truth that advertising-based streaming gives creators far smaller royalties. There is a strong feeling that Spotify should impose a few more restrictions on the free tier to promote signups. It is unclear, however, whether deleting a free tier will persuade any of the free listeners to pay up.

The argument has recently been stoked by Spotify's efforts to expand beyond music streaming. A website that offered to help salvage their business from the decline brought on by file sharing at the start of this century eventually convinced creators who had first opposed putting their songs on the service to work with it. Artists accepted what they deemed low royalty payments in the hopes that they could contribute to a new business model, and labels paid money to keep the small company going.

Everyone ignored the fact that music streaming had extremely low margins, even with its cheap royalty rates. Before you have paid a penny in overhead and salaries, fully 70% of income is distributed to copyright holders.

Because of this, investors find podcasting to be quite appealing. Exclusive podcast listeners are said to be even more devoted than music lovers, and content costs are less than music license costs.

Due to this, Spotify reportedly paid $200 million for the right to host the Joe Rogan Experience. Sadly, unlike with music, the firm still refuses to acknowledge that it serves as more than just a distribution channel for content that is contentious. It is now accountable for the content it releases because it is the publisher of podcasts.

You'll need to use another service if you want to listen to India Arie, Graham Nash, Nils Lofgren, Neil Young, or Joni Mitchell because those musicians have removed their music from Spotify due to the company's response to inaccurate information about COVID that was broadcast on Rogan's show or his history of using racial slurs on his show.

Another outside investment is the rumored $300 million contract Spotify has with FC Barcelona, the dominant team in European football. Spotify will serve as the team's uniform sponsor. That's not a very good look for a business that is under fire for allegedly taking advantage of the artists who provide the content that made it successful.

Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Amazon Music are seen by Spotify as the main risks to its expansion. None of those businesses depend on music streaming as their main source of income, and they might even experience service losses since streaming advances their larger corporate objectives.

On the other hand, although Tidal, Qobuz, and Deezer are just music-focused streaming services, none of them has significantly threatened Spotify's user base. These services have dedicated themselves to music and appear to be at peace with any growth constraints that may come with it, so they are likely content with their specialized positioning.

Our final verdict for Spotify

Can Spotify simultaneously be the finest and the worst streaming service? The service has demonstrated the potential of a recommendation system by utilizing the vast quantity of data it has amassed. Spotify has the ability to completely change how we listen to music if it eventually incorporates the same type of artist, engineer, songwriter, and producer data that Tidal employs.

Unfortunately, not only have they lagged behind in terms of streaming quality, but they have also avoided disclosing any specifics regarding their upgrading plans. As of right now, the competitor offers a much superior listening experience. It's time to think about a change if you're the type of person who chooses an album or an artist and listens to their music without giving a damn about the Spotify-generated playlists.

Spotify has the opportunity to maintain its dominance and shake off the scandals that have tarnished the company's reputation in 2022 provided it improves its audio and offers higher quality at a fair pricing. Many subscribers would be wise to look into what other providers have to offer in the interim.

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