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Spotify vs Deezer: Can David take on Goliath?
Spotify is the biggest premium music streaming service globally, with 182 million paid users as of May 2022. Deezer is quite a bit smaller, with a subscriber base of around 16 million. But is Spotify that much better than its rival, or is this a story similar to that of David and Goliath, in which the underdog wins the fight in the end?
That’s what we’re about to find out. We’ll take a look at all the differences between the two streaming services to figure out which one comes out on top in the Spotify vs Deezer battle. Let’s dive in.
Spotify vs Deezer: Content
Both Deezer and Spotify have a vast library. Deezer is the winner with over 90 million tracks, but Spotify doesn’t fall far behind at 82 million songs. I didn’t notice a big difference between the two since my favorite artists and songs are available on both platforms. These include world-famous musicians as well as smaller bands and DJs.
But music isn’t the only content the two services have on offer. Both also feature podcasts, which is where I saw a difference between the services. Deezer has a decent selection of podcasts, but Spotify is ahead of its rival. Many podcasts I listen to are available on Spotify but not Deezer.
Spotify boasts exclusive deals with shows like the Joe Rogan Experience and The Last Podcast on the Left.
Spotify has invested more money in the sector. It struck a deal with Joe Rogan in 2020, bringing his popular podcast called The Joe Rogan Experience exclusively to Spotify. It’s a brilliant move by the Swedish streaming giant, considering the popularity of Rogan’s podcast.
Both services have several videos on their platforms, although they aren’t front and center like YouTube Music or Tidal. No dedicated video sections are available, but you come across video content when searching for artists and songs.
If all you care about is music, you’ll be happy with either of the two services. Both have an extensive selection of songs and artists available. But if you enjoy listening to podcasts and don’t want a separate app, Spotify has the advantage here. Deezer is also investing heavily in bringing as many podcasts to its platform as possible, but it’s just a little behind Spotify at the moment.
Spotify vs Deezer: Music discovery
Both streaming services are excellent for music discovery. Spotify has the popular Discover Weekly playlist containing songs from artists and genres you usually listen to. You get a new one every Monday with 30 tracks. The service also creates up to six daily mixes based on your listening habits. There’s also a Release Radar playlist with songs from new releases the service thinks you’ll like.
Deezer’s offering is even better, in my opinion. The service has Flow, an infinite mix of new and favorite tracks. There’s also a Discovery playlist updated every Monday and is full of songs you haven’t listened to yet on Deezer. Then, the New Releases playlist contains new tracks from the artists you love, and the Chill playlist with songs to listen to while chilling over weekends. Moreover, Deezer also creates a few mixes for you based on your listening habits with both new and known songs.
Both services also allow you to browse music by genre and mood. There are many playlists available, and although it’s hard to figure out which one has more of them, I’d say that Spotify has a slight advantage here. However, quantity isn’t everything. When you tap on a genre on Spotify (example: pop), all you see is a list of playlists. When you do the same on Deezer, the app also shows you the latest albums released, the most popular pop artists, and even the most popular songs by well-known artists from the genre.
Overall, I prefer Deezer’s music discovery features to those of Spotify. But in all honesty, the difference isn’t massive. Spotify still does the job brilliantly, so I think you’ll be happy with either one.
Spotify vs Deezer: Audio quality
This is where Deezer has Spotify beat, but only if you’re prepared to pay a premium. On the premium plan offered by Spotify, streaming tops out at 320kbps. Deezer’s highest audio quality has a max of 1,411Kbps if you opt for the HiFi plan. Both also have the option of decreasing the quality to save data.
Unlike Spotify, Deezer also offers a HiFi plan that gives you access to high-quality FLAC audio files with a bitrate of 1,411kbps. But you’ll need a decent pair of headphones to take advantage of the higher audio quality.
Deezer’s HiFi plan gives you access to 360 Reality Audio tracks by downloading a separate app called 360 by Deezer. 360 Reality Audio is the newest push by Sony to bring a new format for audio streaming. It’s a new way of mixing audio that allows the engineers to make the instruments sound like they’re placed in space around you.
If you’re an audiophile, Deezer is the better option for you. But remember that you’ll have to pay $5 extra per month to access the company’s HiFi plan. If you want to opt for a standard plan to save money, there are no differences between the quality you get with Spotify and Deezer. The standard audio quality is more than good enough for most people on both services.
Spotify vs Deezer: Pricing and plans
Both Spotify and Deezer have a free plan available with more or less the same limitations. You can only listen in shuffle mode except for a few specific playlists, you can skip six tracks per hour, and you can’t download music for offline listening. There is, however, a slight difference in audio quality — 128kbps for Deezer and 160kbps for Spotify.
When it comes to premium plans, the two services share many similarities as well. In the US, both offer a basic subscription for $9.99 per month, or $4.99 if you’re a student. A family plan that supports up to six accounts is available for $15-$16.
Deezer's annual subscription will save you around $30.
However, Deezer allows you to pay for an annual subscription upfront, saving you around $30. This means you’re basically getting two months for free. A yearly subscription will set you back $89.88, but paying monthly means you’ll dish out $119.88 over a year.
Deezer also has a HiFi plan that offers better audio quality — learn more in the section above. It will set you back $14.99 per month.
On the other hand, Spotify has a Duo Premium plan in its lineup, primarily aimed at couples. It gives you access to two accounts and comes in at $12.99.
Spotify vs Deezer: Other differences
There are a lot of smaller differences between the two services as well. For example, Deezer has a SongCatcher built-in, their version of SoundHound or Shazam. When you’re out and about and hear a great song you aren’t familiar with, all you have to do is launch SongCatcher, and it will tell you the name of the song and artist.
The French streaming service also has a better UI, although this comes down to personal preference. It pays artists more than Spotify, so it’s a better choice if you want to support the artists you’re into — especially those who are just starting.
On the other hand, Spotify has a Crossfade feature that lets you create a seamless transition between songs. It also comes with a gapless mode that eliminates the pause after one song ends and a new one starts. Then there’s the integration with Google Maps and Waze. This means that while navigating, you can play, pause, or skip tracks without leaving the app.
These smaller differences won’t be a significant factor in deciding which service to subscribe to for most people, but it’s still nice to keep them in mind.
Does the underdog win?
So, does David beat Goliath? Yes and no. In terms of popularity and market share, Deezer is no match for Spotify. It would have to expand its subscriber base by over 160 million users to beat it, which isn’t likely to happen any time soon.
But when it comes to audio quality, music discovery, and general usability, Deezer comes out on top. At least for some. It has better music discovery features, in my opinion, the audio quality is better — but comes at a premium — and it is packed with extra features like SongCatcher. What’s more, the service is also cheaper provided you opt for an annual plan. If any of these things matter to you, I have no problem recommending Deezer over Spotify.
The difference between Spotify and Deezer isn't massive.
However, Spotify is still a brilliant service and has a few advantages over Deezer. The main one is the selection of podcasts. There are more of them available, and a few popular and exclusive ones will make it to the service soon. I enjoy a few extra onboard features, like Crossfade and Google Maps integration. If these things are more important to you than the better audio quality and all the other bells and whistles you get with Deezer, Spotify is the way to go.
If it were my money, I’d go with Deezer. However, keep in mind that the overall difference isn’t massive. I’d be happy with either one, as would most people, in my opinion.
It’s worth noting that both services offer varying free trials for their premium service. Right now, Spotify Premium is at a whopping three months. So if you’re still on the fence regarding which one to go with, test them out both first to see which one is best suited for your needs.
These are the main differences between Deezer and Spotify, although there are a few other smaller ones. If we’ve missed any major ones, feel free to let us know in the comments.