Google Play Music vs. Spotify

Music enthusiasts have long considered Spotify to be one of the top music streaming services in the world. While not as popular as Spotify, Google Play Music offers a robust music catalog, a clean format on all devices and a few features that distinguish it from other services.

Spotify shines when it comes to helping users find new music. It also delivers auto-curated playlists, a user-friendly interface and a social community. Google Play Music users like that it’s intuitive, bundles with YouTube Music and offers lots of podcasts. It also provides cloud storage for people who enjoy listening to music offline.

Both services receive solid reviews from users. Spotify has a 4.5 out of 5 rating in the Google Play Store and a 4.8 out of 5 score in the Apple App Store. For Google Play Music those ratings are 4.1 out of 5 and 4.1 out of 5, respectively. 

Both are great options, but let’s explore how these two streaming giants stack up against each other. 

Google Play Music vs. Spotify

Google Play Music Premium Spotify Premium
Monthly price$9.99/mo.$9.99/mo.
Student planN/A$4.99/mo.
Family plan$14.99/mo.$14.99/mo.
Free trial length30 days3 months
Number of songs40 million songs50 million+
Highest sound qualityN/A320 kbps
Free plan availableYesYes

Which streaming service is right for you?

When choosing between Spotify vs. Google Play Music, you’re likely to go with the music streaming service that best matches your preferences. While Spotify and Google Play Music feature nearly identical content, they differ in device compatibility, extras, storage and user experience.

User experience

Spotify is known for its social listening features. You can share your favorite music and collaborate with other subscribers to curate playlists in real-time. Sign in through Facebook to see which friends are using the service to listen to tunes.

Spotify has fantastic auto and user-curated playlists. Once you’re on the app, simply go to your library to see your suggested playlists. You can start a playlist from scratch or add a Spotify playlist and edit it. The service uses a sophisticated algorithm to generate playlists for you—and they are eerily on point. It also lets you put playlists together with other subscribers and download what you’ve made to various devices. 

Back in 2017, Google announced that Google Play Music would eventually come to an end, paving the way for YouTube Premium. While there’s still no set expiration date, Google Play Music won’t be around much longer.

Still, the service provides a satisfying viewing experience with audio streaming and top-rated podcasts. It also gives you access to YouTube Premium for just $2/mo. more. Plus, Google Play Music is as intuitive to use and navigate as Spotify. You can change the streaming quality, create playlists, download music, stream offline, tweak your recommendations and adjust your user settings.

Spotify is compatible with Android and Bluetooth devices, Discord gaming consoles, Google Home/Nest, iOS devices, Linux computers, Macs, PCs, PlayStation consoles, Sonos speakers, Spotify Connect and Xbox One.

Google Play Music works with Android devices, Bluetooth, Chromecast, Google Home/Nest, iOS devices, Linux computers, Macs, PCs and Sonos speakers. 

Extras

Spotify offers a lyric feature on the Android and iOS apps that Google Music Play doesn’t have. Google automatically adds lyrics to the artist’s copyright information. But, there’s no lyric feature directly on the app.

Google Play Music provides additional storage, giving you a useful and affordable way to save music. Keep up to 50,000 files in the cloud at no additional charge. You can listen to uploaded files through the service’s web player or mobile app.

While Spotify’s lyric feature will appeal to some, the ability to store songs in Google Play Music’s cloud is a more practical option that many users will find more useful. 

Disadvantages

While Spotify’s social features are popular with listeners, the service is not set up to protect your privacy. The service sets your music listening habits to the public by default. Even when you change them to private, they’ll switch back to public if you haven’t used the app within six hours. Also, you can’t block other users from viewing your profile. You can get around this by turning on the private session option when you listen to Spotify.

There are a few other areas to consider with Spotify. It doesn’t offer videos as an upgrade and the desktop app isn’t compatible with M4A files, which is limiting for those who enjoy listening to lossless audio. The only other downside to Spotify is that the lyric feature is not available on the desktop or online versions.

If you want a private experience while listening to music, Google Play Music is your best bet. Just remember you won’t have access to any social features. Also, if you sign up for Google Play Music, don’t be surprised if it goes by the wayside, leaving you with YouTube Music Premium as a Google-based alternative.

The takeaway

While structurally, Google Play Music and Spotify offer a near-identical service, what truly separates the two are their bonus features. Spotify gives you the social media experience, compatibility with more devices and the best playlist features of any streaming service. Google Play Music has better podcasts, a YouTube Music Premium add-on and gives you cloud storage.

If you love playlists and want a social experience, go with Spotify. If you want access to file storage and privacy, go with Google Play Music.  

Edward Humphries

With a sharp focus on strong SEO-driven content, Edward has built a solid professional career as a freelance content writer over the last six years. He has worked with numerous digital marketing agencies and web designers nationwide to produce content that truly reflects a company’s vision, message, and marketing goals. His main industries include legal, technology, automotive, contracting & home improvement, and medical. He also loves writing about music and has been playing music for over 20 years. Edward graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in education. He currently lives in Pensacola, Florida with his wife and two children.