Spotify vs. SoundCloud – comparing the features, catalogue and price of the two music streaming services

We compare the features, cost and catalogue of the two streaming services to help you decide where to spend your subscription money.

SoundCloud are probably one of the most different music streaming services in the market today. Launching in 2007, SoundCloud allows anyone to upload and share music directly on the platform. Without the need for labels or distributors, and a somewhat lax copyright system, this has lead to SoundCloud amassing a huge number of tracks largely from the artists themselves. Today they offer creators various memberships for upload, insight, promotional and distribution tools. As well as independent creators, SoundCloud now also work with labels for licensed music from major artists. SoundCloud Go unlocks ad-free and offline listening, while SoundCloud Go+ unlocks licensed music.

In the US, for individuals, Spotify comes in two flavours: Spotify Free and Spotify Premium. Spotify Free is the audio company’s ad-supported music streaming model, while for a monthly subscription Spotify Premium gives listeners all the features they need.

For this comparison we’ll be looking at SoundCloud Go+ and Spotify Premium as these most closely represent the features users are after from a typical music streaming service today.


Features

Both streaming services offer the same basic features such as ad-free listening, offline and on-demand playback, letting you listen to any song, anywhere, with unlimited skips.

Artists can upload to SoundCloud in just about any audio format, however it will be compressed down to 256kbps AAC for SoundCloud Go+ subscribers. Spotify Premium currently maxes out at a comparable 320kbps MP3. Spotify have announced a HiFi streaming tier, however we are still waiting for the feature to launch, and have no word yet on the maximum bitrate available or potential price increase above Premium memberships. With the competition for hi-fi music streaming from streaming services such as Amazon Music and Apple Music, it’s likely Spotify will drop any initial plans they had to include a price increase for the feature. We’d love to see a lossless option from SoundCloud soon.


Catalogue

Spotify currently host over 70 million tracks. Thanks to the platform’s openness to uploads, SoundCloud smash other music streaming services’ numbers with over 250 million tracks from over 30 million creators.


Price

For individual memberships in the US, Spotify Premium and SoundCloud Go+ are both $9.99 per month.

Both services offer various discounts for students and bundles with other subscription services.


Conclusion

If you listen to lots of music from independent artists on SoundCloud that aren’t on Spotify, SoundCloud Go+ is a great option, as it gives you access to both sides of the industry. With their upcoming lossless option, Spotify is the better choice for hi-fi music streamers.


If you’re a music artist, you’re in luck. RouteNote can help you monetize your music on SoundCloud, as well as get your music onto Spotify and many more music streaming services for free. Just sign up to RouteNote, upload your tracks, select the stores to distribute to and we’ll do the rest.

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