How much data does Spotify use? It depends on the sound quality you choose. The higher it is, the more data the streaming service will burn through. In any case, Spotify uses way less data than video streaming services (more on this later) and probably less than most people think.
The Spotify Android app lets you choose between five sound quality settings: Low (24kbps), Normal (96kbps), High (160kbps), Very high (320kbps), and Automatic (dependent on your network connection). You can access these options by heading to Settings > Music Quality on your Android phone.
To simplify things as much as possible, I’ve prepared an overview of how much data each setting uses per minute and hour as well as how long you’d have to stream music for to burn through 1GB of data. Keep in mind these numbers are approximate. Spotify can cache songs you’ve previously listened to, meaning they may not eat up the same amount of data the second time you play them.
- Per minute: 0.18MB
- Per hour: 10.8MB
- How long until you reach 1GB: 92.5 hours
- Per minute: 0.72MB
- Per hour: 43.2MB
- How long until you reach 1GB: 23.1 hours
- Per minute: 1.2MB
- Per hour: 72MB
- How long until you reach 1GB: 13.8 hours
Very high (320kbps):
- Per minute: 2.4MB
- Per hour: 144MB
- How long until you reach 1GB: 6.9 hours
Now that you know how much data Spotify uses, let’s see how the numbers compare to video streaming. Watching HD content on Netflix uses up to 3GB of data per hour or as much as 7GB when the resolution gets bumped up to Ultra HD. Medium quality (SD) is a lot less data hungry, burning through 0.7GB per hour. Still, that’s almost five times as much as streaming music with the best sound quality available (320kbps).
What about Spotify’s competitors? Google Play Music and Deezer both offer a maximum audio bitrate of 320kbps, which uses approximately 144MB of data per hour. So does Tidal, although it also has a Hi-Fi plan with a bitrate of 1.411kbps for improved sound quality. It’s a lot more data hungry, using around 635MB per hour. Apple Music, on the other hand, has a maximum bitrate of 256kbps, which translates to around 115MB of data per hour.
An important thing to keep in mind is that Spotify — as well as other streaming services mentioned in this post — lets you download songs to your phone, which means you don’t have to use any data at all when listening to music.
How many hours per week do you listen to music on Spotify or other streaming services? Let us know in the comments!