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What is Spotify? - everything you need to know 2024

What is Spotify? We're here to answer your question and teach you how to install it, how much it costs, and more about the music streaming service.

What is Spotify: An iPhone showing the green Spotify logo on a black background pasted on a dark blue PT background

If you’re new to the world of streaming music, then you might be wondering, what is Spotify? Since its launch in 2008, Spotify has been all over our phones and other devices delivering audio entertainment to our ears.  We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about the app.

If you’re already familiar with Spotify, our how to cancel Spotify guide or our how to delete Spotify accounts guide might be more suited to your needs. You can also check out our what is Microsoft Teams and what is Slack guides.

Let’s answer the question ‘what is Spotify?’

What is Spotify?

Spotify is an app and browser-based audio media streaming service. It has an extensive library of music, podcasts, audiobooks, and even learning courses.

It began as a music streaming service and has a lot of music-specific features. You can listen to music from millions of artists, get recommendations for new music based on your listening habits, build playlists and collections of your favorite artists and songs, plus loads more.

What is Spotify: A photo of a pair of hands holding a smartphone. The phone is showing the Spotify music player screen playing King by Kanaria.

How does Spotify work?

All you need for Spotify is an account and an internet connection. You can even sign in to Spotify using a range of pre-existing social media accounts, like Facebook, to make the process even simpler.

When you make an account, Spotify asks you to enter your date of birth and your gender, and also choose a subscription level. This is because Spotify offers a paid version with extra perks called Spotify Premium, which you can try for a month for free when you first sign up.

Once you have an account, all you need to do is download the Spotify app on the device of your choice, or open the browser player, and start listening!

Is Spotify free?

The basic version of Spotify is free, but this is because it’s ad-supported. You can still access the entire library of music and podcasts, but you’ll get frequent ad breaks in your listening sessions that can get irritating.

You also only get a set number of song skips an hour, which isn’t great if you’re indecisive, and the audio quality is slightly lower than the Premium version. Oh, and you can only listen on shuffle, so no listening to an album in order to experience it as the artist intended.

What is Spotify: A graphic showing the benefits of Spotify Premium, including unlimited skips, ad-free music, and downloading.

What is Spotify Premium?

Spotify Premium is Spotify’s subscription-based paid service that comes with extra perks. The main benefit of Spotify Premium is that there are no ads interrupting your banging party playlist or favorite podcast. The audio quality is slightly higher than the free version at 320kbit/s and you get more listening freedom with unlimited skips and no forced shuffling.

Although you can’t download music from Spotify to keep, you can download things to listen to offline. For example, if you’re going on a long journey where you know the internet will be patchy at best, you can download an audiobook or your favorite playlist in advance to listen to when you don’t have a signal.

How much is Spotify Premium?

Spotify Premium has a range of different payment options, but the standard single-user subscription is $10.99/£11.99. If more than one person in your house uses Spotify Premium, you can get a deal with these other subscription plans:

  • Duo – $14.99/£16.99 a month for two Premium accounts under the same roof, ad-free music listening, play offline, on-demand playback, one-month free trial
  • Family – $16.99/£19.99 a month for up to six Premium accounts under the same roof, the option to block explicit music with Spotify Kids, ad-free music listening, play offline, on-demand playback, one-month free trial
  • Student – $5.99/£5.99 a month for one eligible Premium account, ad-free music listening, play offline, on-demand playback, three-month free trial, and access to Showtime in the US

Where can I get Spotify?

The Spotify app is available across iOS and Android devices, as well as on PlayStation and Xbox consoles. We’re patiently waiting for the day it comes to the Nintendo Switch as well!

You can also download a desktop version for your PC or listen using the browser player. If you have a smart speaker like a Google Home or Amazon Echo, you can connect your Spotify account to listen out loud.

There you have it, everything you need to know to answer the question ‘what is Spotify?’ For more music providers, check out our YouTube Music download and Apple Music download guides.