There is no denying that Spotify has transformed the way people listen to music. Spotify currently boasts over 200 million active users, 87 million of those being paying subscribers. With a massive library of over 35 million tracks, music fans all over the world can listen to old favorites and discover their next obsession with a tap of the screen.
As with any streaming media platform, Spotify is going to require data to deliver all those fresh beats to your eardrums. If you have unlimited data usage on your current plan, then you can stream to your heart’s content. However, if you are under a data cap that has you watching your megabytes, you’ll want to read on.
How Much Data Does Spotify Use?
As a music-streaming platform, Spotify doesn’t require anywhere near as much data as video streaming services like Netflix or YouTube. To complicate matters, Spotify has a variety of quality settings which can change the amount of data required to stream. Audio quality is measured in kbps (kilobits per second). Simply put, higher kbps translates to higher fidelity audio. For simplicity’s sake, let’s look at the default or “Normal” streaming quality setting, which is 96 kbps.
If you’re streaming your tunes in “Normal” quality (96 kbps), then you’ll use about 0.7 megabytes per minute. For a three-minute song, you’ll chew up about 2 MB. After an hour of listening, this translates to approximately 40 MB.
Let’s say you had an hour commute to work each day and that you use that time to listen to Spotify. This means that you would use about 80 MB per day streaming music or roughly 400 MB per week (if you work a five-day week). If you have a fairly restrictive data cap, you could find yourself in trouble come the end of the month.
Approximate Data Consumption
The exact amount of data consumed by Spotify per song varies greatly. However, we can estimate the approximate amount of data consumed based on each one of Spotify’s audio quality settings.
- Low (24 kbps) – 0.5 MB per three-minute song; 10 MB per hour
- Normal (96 kbps) – 2 MB per three-minute song; 40 MB per hour
- High (160 kbps) – 3.5 MB per three-minute song; 70 MB per hour
- Very High (320 kbps) – 7 MB per song; 140 MB per hour
Spotify’s default quality setting, labeled “Automatic,” changes the quality of your audio streams based on the strength of your Internet connection. However, the audio quality will never dip below 96 kbps.
How to Change Spotify Audio Quality
Changing the quality of Spotify streams is very easy.
1. Launch the app and tap the Settings icon on the top-right of the screen (it looks like a little cog or gear). Scroll down until you see the subheading labeled “Music Quality.”
2. Here you’ll see an option labeled “Streaming.” Tap this to open a drop-down menu that will give you the option to change the quality.
The default option is “Automatic,” but you can change it to “Low,” “Normal,” “High” or “Very High.” Once you’ve made your selection, simply back out of the settings menu and start streaming.
Turn on Data Saver
Some users might want to utilize different audio quality settings, depending on their situation. For example, you may want to use a higher streaming quality when connected to Wi-Fi and a lower one when using cellular data. While you can go into Spotify’s settings and change the audio quality manually, this is tedious. Fortunately, there is an easier way.
Spotify has a built-in Data Saver mode that automatically changes the quality of your music streams to “Low” (24 kbps) when connected to cellular data. When connected to Wi-Fi, the quality of streams will revert back to your normal streaming quality settings.
If you have a limited amount of mobile/cellular data on your current plan, then you’re probably going to want to enable Spotify’s Data Saver mode. Doing so is easy. Fire up the Spotify app, and hit the Settings icon found in the top-right of the screen. Find the “Data Saver” option and enable the toggle switch.
Download Songs for Offline Usage
If you are a Spotify Premium subscriber, you can download up to 10,000 podcasts and playlists to your device and listen to them at any time without chewing up cellular data.
To download an album or a playlist, open the playlist you want to download and enable the “Download” toggle switch. When the download has completed, you will see a black arrow pointing downward inside a green circle.
To download a podcast, simply navigate to the podcast episode you want to download and tap the downward pointing arrow to initiate the download. You will see the same black arrow icon when the download has completed.
To set Spotify to only play your downloaded content, you need to set Spotify to offline mode. To do so, open the app and tap the “Home” icon. Next, tap the “Settings” icon. From here, tap “Playback” and switch “Offline” to on.
Be aware that downloading songs isn’t the same as owning them. As a result, you will only be able to listen to the tracks that you have downloaded through the Spotify client. You will not be able to take those files and transfer them to another app.
If you can’t live without Spotify, then don’t forget to check out these useful tips and tricks to get the most out of your Spotify account.
How much cellular data do you burn through when listening to Spotify? Do you use Spotify’s data-saving features? Let us know in the comments!