Unlike Apple Music, Spotify offers a free, ad-supported version of its service, which poses the question: Should you pay to listen? In addition to removing the ads that interrupt your music-streaming enjoyment, there are seven good reasons to pony up $10 a month for Spotify Premium.
No more shuffle-only mode
The biggest reason to upgrade if you use Spotify's mobile app on your phone is the ability to play any song you want. With the free version, you're forced to listen in shuffle mode on your phone outside of 15 on-demand playlists. With Spotify Premium on your phone, you can, for example, end an evening with Poison's Every Rose Has Its Thorn and Motley Crue's Home Sweet Home without power ballads from Warrant, Whitesnake and Cinderella ruining the moment.
(Spotify's free service does not restrict you to shuffle-only mode, it should be noted, when you're using the desktop or tablet app.)
You can skip only so many songs when listening to a shuffled selection of songs with Spotify's free service. With Premium, you can skip as many songs as you deem necessary.
Double your bit-rate pleasure
Spotify Free lets you listen at normal (96 kilobits per second) or high quality (160 Kbps). Spotify Premium adds Extreme quality streaming at 320 Kbps, which can make for better, more detailed audio output if you use high-end headphones or speakers.
Want to jam out on the morning commute when you're squished into a subway car in a tunnel where there's no cell service? Spotify Premium lets you download up to 3,333 songs so you can listen when you're away from the internet or just want to cut down on your data usage. And you can do this on three different devices.
To download an album, playlist or podcast, just tap the Download toggle switch. You'll see a little, green, downward arrow next to each song after it finishes downloading. Planning a long, internet-free trip? You can download all of the songs you've saved to your library with one tap. Go to Your Library > Songs and tap the Download toggle switch to download all of the songs in your library -- or at least the first 3,333 of them.
No wait for new releases
Spotify's deal with Universal Music Group lets UMG artists restrict the release of a new album to Spotify Premium members for two weeks. Free users will still get access to singles as soon as they drop but may need to wait a fortnight before listening to a new album in its entirety. UMG is the world's largest record label and includes artists such as Taylor Swift, Kayne West and Lady Gaga.
Get a deal on Hulu
Spotify and Hulu teamed up to bring you a combo subscription deal that can save streamers some coin. Spotify Premium costs $9.99 a month. Hulu with Limited Commercials costs $7.99 a month. Together, the two subscriptions cost $12.99 a month. Better yet, students can get both for only $4.99 a month. (Note Hulu is only available in the US.)
Connecting to a Bluetooth speaker is sometimes an exercise in frustration. With Spotify Connect, you can forgo the potentially fruitless and painful Bluetooth connection process and connect your phone running the Spotify app to Spotify Gear, from speakers and TVs to cars and computers. If you want to connect to a Wi-Fi speaker, though, you'll need Spotify Premium, otherwise you'll need to connect via Bluetooth or Google Cast to that speaker. Just tap Devices Available at the bottom of the Now Playing screen on your phone to see your connection options.
Originally published on Aug. 2, 2017.
Update, Aug. 3, 2018: Added information about updated free plan and UMG and Hulu deals.