How Many Megabytes Does Spotify Use
Listening to music on the go has come a long way since the Walkmans of my youth, squealing tape just to get past the filler and spending hours making mixes from my favorite radio shows. What we dinosaurs didn't have to worry about was how much money we were spending on our data usage limit. You can play a tape, CD or record all you want and the money is already paid. If you put your favorite track on repeat and are streaming it, you'll be using up data as you go. This is why oneHOWTO has the skinny on how many megabytes does Spotify use (desktop and app). We'll also give you a guide to how much you'll use over a certain period so that you can make sure you're not going to go over your plan by the end of the month.
How Many Megabytes of Data Does Spotify Use?
When considering how many megabytes of data Spotify uses, we need to consider how we are listening to the program. There are two main ways to listen to Spotify. If we are at home, work or somewhere using our personal computers (laptops, etc.), then we will need the desktop program. If we're on the go, then you will need to install the Spotify mobile app to your device. The pictures here are taken from an iPhone using the Spotify app, but the same streaming rate works across all devices.
How much data Spotify uses on the desktop program
If you have those interminable Spotify ads playing between listens of your favorite playlist, then you have the regular free Spotify account. This allows you to listen to the songs they have in the Spotify library, but you have to put up with sponsored content to keep doing so.
Getting away from the ads is possibly the main reason people choose to use Spotify Premium. This service gives you unlimited streams through your data or Wi-Fi, allows you to download tracks to listen offline and even lets you listen to some new releases before the free users can do so. If you go into the settings of the desktop, you will see that it also allows you to select something called 'high quality streaming'.
High quality streaming provides a clearer sound with better depth and (unsurprisingly) overall quality. To do this, it has to increase the bitrate on the streams. Here are the two options for streaming on Spotify desktop:
- Spotify free user account: 160 kps (kilobits per second)
- Spotify premium user account: 320 kps
The high quality streaming isn't the default, so you will have to turn it on if you want it. If you are worried about your overall data usage while listening to tracks on Spotify, keep it turned off.
How much data Spotify uses on the mobile app
If you are using the Spotify app on your device (iPhone, Window's Phone, Android, etc.) then you can stream the music on it at three different rates, unless you are using the free service. Then you are limited to the two lowest ones. Here are the streaming bitrates for Spotify on the app:
- Normal: 96 kbps
- High: 160 kbps
- Extreme: 320 kbps (this quality is only available for those with a Premium account)
There is an option which you can use on the mobile app for 'Automatic'. This option will stream music from your phone at the highest bitrate your 3G/4G reception will allow. This means it will use less quality playback when you have less reception so that you, in turn, use less streaming data.
How Many Megabytes Per Minute Does Spotify Use?
On a general scale, the approximate data used with one song on Spotify depending on the quality you have selected are as follows:
- Normal: 96 kbps usages about 0.72 MB of data per minute (this makes the average MB use per song about 2.88 MB).
- High: 160 kbps uses about 1.20 MB of data per minute (around 4.8 MB per song).
- Extreme: 320 kbps uses up to 2.40 MB of data per minute (averaging out 9.60 MB per song).
Now you know how much a song spends on Spotify depending on the quality, you can calculate your approximate monthly data usage. To do so we'll need to know how many songs you listen to each month and, taking into account the previous calculation, count how many megabytes you spend per song. Multiplying both figures you'll get to know how many MBs you use on Spotify.
For example, if you listen to 50 songs each month at high quality, i.e 160 kbps, the formula we'll have to apply to calculate the data we'll use is as follows:
- 50 songs X 4.8 MB = 240 MB per month
Of course this is for average songs. If you are into house music, it's likely the total amount will be much higher as these tracks tend to be longer. If you want to calculate how many megabytes you use by the hour:
- 60 minutes X 1.2 MB per minute = 72 MB per hour of streaming music
Ways to Minimize Data Usage on Spotify
If you want to reduce the amount of megabytes of streaming data you use on the Spotify mobile app, the best thing to do is to buy premium. The reason for this is that you are able to download tracks to listen on your device while you are offline. You download it through your Wi-Fi and then you'll never need to use streaming again (unless there is a certain song or track you are desperate to hear while out and about).
It may seem strange to pay money to use less data ($9.99 per month for normal premium, $14.99 per month family premium), but at least it is a standard amount. You won't have to worry about going over your mobile payment plan or contract and incurring fees from your mobile service provider.
You could use Spotify for free and use it only on Wi-Fi, but this means that you won't be able to use it when you are moving around. However, either way you will be able to control the megabytes of data you'll be using.
If you are concerned about how much data your phone is using with other apps, you might want to know how many megabytes of data WhatsApp uses also.
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