SoundCloud and Spotify have become the most popular music streaming platforms among music lovers. Although they focus on a different user base, there are some common features that they share. Therefore, you may feel confused about choosing SoundCloud or Spotify.
Well, here we have a complete comparison between SoundCloud and Spotify, which can definitely help you choose the music streaming platform that best suits your needs.
SoundCloud vs Spotify
Spotify offers a curated list of music from some of the biggest names in the industry around the world. SoundCloud is designed to be an open platform for independent artists looking to showcase their talents and tastes.
The question then becomes which streaming platform is right for you and why? What questions should you ask before devoting the time and effort to searching for songs and artists, creating playlists, and setting everything up the way you want it.
A better question would be whether there is a middle ground? Let’s find out.
SoundCloud has a neat user interface with the upload button located in the top right corner of the screen. The main differentiating factor between SoundCloud and Spotify – there is no sidebar menu. There is a bottom bar where you will find the homepage to discover new tracks, Stream to find your playlists, Search, and Library to find all the content you love and save.
Spotify’s layout has undergone many changes in recent years and it is not the best. Users constantly complain about missing or hard-to-find features. There are three tabs at the bottom and a settings icon at the top.
The home page is where you’ll find recommended music and podcasts, recent releases, and custom playlists that Spotify has created just for you. Then there’s the Search and Library tab where you’ll find your music and podcasts divided into two tabs.
They’ve since improved the design, but it’s still a bit cluttered. There is room for simplification, and adding another tab at the bottom might help.
Music, Podcasts & Discovery
Spotify has a great collection of all the artists you know or have heard of. But then there are artists like Taylor Swift who have refused to release her songs on the platform for quite some time. Others are still missing. Find your favorite artists before subscribing to see if your favorites are on them.
SoundCloud is where you will find independent and underrated artists, remixes, bootlegs, mashups, etc. Also, you will find music record labels and artists that are unwilling or willing to sign and stream on platforms like Spotify.
It’s a heaven for creators and listeners alike who want to experiment or discover new music.
Spotify’s recommendation engine is good, and they will display/create playlists and songs based on your listening habits. But she can only show what she has in her library. On the other hand, not all artists release their music for free on SoundCloud.
SoundCloud users can comment below the playing song, allowing them to share ideas and discuss music. This sense of community involvement is everywhere.
Both SoundCloud and Spotify will enable you to create public/private playlists, but Spotify also allows you to follow friends. You can also create collaborative playlists on Spotify.
On the other hand, SoundCloud will let you repost tracks on your profile, just like retweeting.
Spotify has a huge collection of podcasts from popular speakers and content creators. However, when it comes to podcasts, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts are far ahead in terms of content availability.
The free version of Spotify offers music at 96kbps on smartphones and 160kbps on the desktop. The professional version extends far and wide and delivers 320kbps music quality.
SoundCloud has limited audio quality to 128kbps, which is lower than Spotify’s desktop quality. Not a pleasant experience for music lovers.
If you are an audiophile, and love to listen to high quality tracks using your headphones, then Spotify is for you.
Smart speaker integration and third-party support
Smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo powered by Alexa are more and more popular these days. Therefore, it is important to research it when choosing the right music streaming platform for you.
Spotify integrates with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices. So, you can play songs directly on your smart speaker by telling it like “Hey Google, play your favorite playlist on Spotify” or “Alexa, play Billie Eilish on Spotify”.
On the other hand, SoundCloud does not have any smart speaker or third party integration. So, if you are looking for a streaming platform to play music directly on Google Home or Alexa, it is better to use Spotify.
Even the free version of Spotify can connect and play music on Google Home as well as Amazon Alexa speakers. Interestingly, you can even set a Spotify track as an alert on your smart speakers.
Pricing and platforms
The free version of Spotify is restricted, and for good reason. It was designed this way but still looks good. Plans start at $9.99 for individuals, $14.99 for family members, and $4.99 for students.
The free version of SoundCloud will be more than enough for most users. The Pro Unlimited plan will cost $16 but is more geared towards creators.
Spotify and SoundCloud are both available on Android, iOS, and the web. Moreover, Spotify also works on Windows, macOS, Linux and ChromeOS with dedicated desktop apps. Seeing how most people work on their laptops these days, this will come in handy.
Which one do you choose: SoundCloud or Spotify
Spotify is the best choice if you are using original tracks and podcasts with better sound quality. At the same time, SoundCloud allows you to explore many unknown artists, different versions of songs, and OST movies.
If you like SoundCloud’s diversity, quality, and content on Spotify, here’s a better solution. You can use the IFTTT recipe to instantly create a separate playlist on Spotify for all the songs/tracks you like on SoundCloud.
Use SoundCloud to discover music, and if the song is available on Spotify, it will be added to your Spotify list. Granted, not all tracks are available, which is why we also absolutely prefer SoundCloud.
If you are already a SoundCloud user and want to migrate to Spotify, don’t worry about your collection of songs. You can always transfer all your SoundCloud playlists to Spotify easily with some online tools.
The Detour: Is SoundCloud Better Than Spotify
Here is an interesting analogy. Spotify is like Netflix, and SoundCloud is like YouTube. It would be helpful if you have both. YouTube is a free and open platform where creators can upload anything for free, but Netflix takes a paid and targeted approach.
The same is true of Spotify, which takes a paid and targeted approach, while anyone can upload their work to SoundCloud and find an audience. You need both, but if you’re on a budget, get the free version of Spotify and SoundCloud.
This is all we have to discuss when it comes to SoundCloud and Spotify. I hope this helped you to choose between SoundCloud and Spotify for music streaming.