Demystified: Spotify’s bandwidth usage

Spotify let’s you stream music from your your laptop, smartphone and tablet. When streaming over Wi-Fi, you are probably not worried about the bandwidth used by this streaming service. When you have at least 1-2Mbps download speed, you should be fine to stream the music from Spotify’s servers. However, if you are on a mobile internet connection (3G, 4G/LTE), your bandwidth might be capped and it’s important you know how much Spotify actually uses per hour or how long you can play your favourite playlists per GB you have.spotify_logo

Spotify uses three different bitrates: the higher the bitrate you select, the better the quality of the songs. But, the higher the quality, the higher the bandwidth usage will be too. These three bitrates are used by Spotify:

  • 96 kbps: this is the default quality for its mobile apps
  • 160 kbps: used on the desktop app and on the web player; or used on mobile when you choose ‘high quality’
  • 320 kbps: the highest bitrate offered and only offered to Premium members. Available on mobile too as ‘extreme quality’

 

96kbps160kbps320kbps
Mobile application (Android, iOS)StandardHigh qualityExtreme quality
Web player (via browser)

StandardHigh quality
Desktop/laptop

StandardHigh quality
Data consumptionPer minute0.72 MB1.2 MB2.4 MB
Per hour43.2 MB72.0 MB144.0 MB
Time per GB23 hours, 8 minutes13 hours, 53 minutes6 hours, 57 minutes

high_quality_streaming_spotify_desktop

 

To decrease data consumption of Spotify, you can choose to set a higher caching limit. Also, working offline (so downloading song when you are on Wi-Fi so they are available when there is not data connection or your are using your mobile connection) can save bandwidth too when you are using the mobile iPhone or Android app.

 

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11 thoughts on “Demystified: Spotify’s bandwidth usage

  1. Hi,

    Just a question re Spotify’s bandwidth usage; do you know what the payload bitrate is, i.e. the net bitrate related to the actual music you are playing? Or, is all the IP-header control information, transmission error detetection & correction/recovery etc on top of the 96/160/320 kbps bitrate? How much is the gross bitrate in that case? Most carriers will most probably charge you for every bit that is transmitted and received (if you’re not on a flat rate subscription plan of course). Thanks.
    Anders

  2. I’m also starting to wonder that. I just recently got into Spotify, it’s great but I’m using my data.. how much do you figure I’d use on a monthly basis if I’m a heavy user.

    Bryan

  3. We monitor this on our network using Solarwinds, and the bandwidth usage per stream is between 550kbps to 700kbps. So maybe their stream is 160-320kbps, but with overhead the actual bandwidth is what I stated above. Thank you.

  4. Amazing Hosting in Australia has created an awesome bandwidth calculator, they used this page as one of their sources in order to create it. Their hosting bandwidth usage calculator allows you to punch in your numbers and work out how much money data streaming services are costing you.

    I found this blog post because they have is as one of their sources for the creation of their bandwidth calculator! If anyone else is interested check them out:

    https://www.amaze.com.au/blog/bandwidth-usage-calculator

  5. I like the valuable info you provide on your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog
    and check again here regularly. I’m quite certain I will learn many new
    stuff right right here! Best of luck for the next!

  6. What is the smartest thing I can do to listen to Spotify constantly good quality
    Is there a way to stop eating up my data? Quality does matter!!!!
    I’m thinking of going to sprint to get unlimited data
    Is that what it’s going to take or is Verizon smart enough to give us a good Spotify deal
    As it is YouTube data is RAPE!!!!!

    1. You’re an asshole.

      Comparing data usage for watching other asshole’s pathetic videos to a heinous sexual crime is disgusting.

      I hope you get run over by a bus you pathetic waste of skin meat sack.

      1. Calm the hell down Scott. I can just imagine how worked up you would get if you got told something important. It would probably send you either into a murderous rage or a coma. Sheesh buddy, pull back those reigns and take some Xanax.

  7. I was very happy to discover this page. I want to
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