What is Spotify?

What is Spotify? The service has been around for 15 years so many may assume that everyone knows the answer, but if you don’t, we’re here to help you out

The spotify logo over a yellow background

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

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.

What is Spotify?

Spotify began as a music streaming service but has since expanded to include podcasts, videos, and even audiobooks. 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 favourite 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 to Spotify Premium is that there are no ads interrupting your banging party playlist or favourite 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 favourite 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 $9.99 in the US and £9.99 in the UK. If more than one person in your house uses Spotify Premium, you can get a deal with these other subscription plans:

  • Duo – $12.99/£13.99 a month for two Premium accounts under the same roof, ad-free music listening, play offline, on-demand playback, one-month free trial
  • Family – $15.99/£16.99 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 – $4.99/£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. 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 Apple Music download guide.