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Why Google Play Music Is Better than Spotify Premium

Updated on October 30, 2016

I used Spotify Premium for a few years but switched to Google Play Music (formerly Google Play Music All Access) when I got an Android phone. The main reason I switched was because of Google's generous family plan. I thought I'd miss Spotify but now I feel that Google Play Music is a better music streaming service.


For an individual account, Spotify Premium and Google Play Music are equal at $9.99. Although with Google you get more value for your money because YouTube Red comes with Google Music. With YouTube Red you can download videos for offline viewing and run videos with your mobile device turned off. This is great if you're listening to a video discussion that you don't need to watch. It's also ad free.

I originally switched to Google Play Music because their family plan offered 6 accounts for $15 while Spotify's only offered two. Spotify now offers a family plan with 6 accounts for $15 as well. If you would like to have YouTube Red, Google is a better deal since it comes with each. One downside of Google's family plan is that the initial setup has to be done on an Android phone.

Spotify Premium beats Google in a couple of areas. Spotify offers a student plan that costs $5 a month. Google doesn't have a student plan. Spotify also has a free version that comes with restrictions and lower quality audio. Google does have a free version but you can only listen to stations. It's similar to Pandora with limited skips. You can't make playlists of your own like you can on the free Spotify version.

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Number of Songs

Both Spotify Premium and Google Play provide more than 30 million songs. When transferring my daughter's playlist from Spotify to Google, I came across two songs that weren't available on Google. Spotify seems to be a little better when it comes to song offerings. If you want a song that's not available, you can buy it and upload it to your Google account.

Spotify Premium only offers explicit versions of songs. Google offers both clean and explicit versions of many songs making it a more child-friendly streaming service.

Song Uploads

Both Spotify Premium and Google Play Music allow you to upload songs you own. This is great if there are songs you want to listen to that aren't available for streaming. Google is the clear winner in this area for me.

Spotify allows you to upload songs from your computer to your account. The problem is the songs are stored on your computer not in a cloud. When I bought a new iPod, I no longer had the laptop I had originally uploaded my files from. The only way I could get those songs onto Spotify again was to re-rip my CDs and transfer mp3s from an external drive. It was doable but took a while.

Google on the other hand stores your songs on a cloud drive. It doesn't matter if you get a new mobile device. All the songs you uploaded are still available. All of your playlists remain intact.

Downloading for Offline Listening

Downloads for offline listening are easy on both services but Google Play Music is the winner because it's more generous when it comes to the number of devices you can use. Spotify Premium allows downloads on up to three devices. Google allows downloads on up to 5 devices and up to 10 devices can be authorized for your account.

Music Discovery

One thing I thought I'd miss about Spotify Premium is their Discover Weekly feature. This is a playlist based on the listener's personal taste that's made available every Monday. I discovered many great artists and songs through this playlist. But I've actually discovered more new music and artists through Google Play Music.

Spotify's Discover Weekly could be a bit hit and miss. Sometimes I'd discover 4 or 5 great songs. But other weeks I'd go through all 30 songs and find nothing that interested me. Google doesn't have a feature like Discover Weekly but it does have stations based on your music taste. Under Listen Now Google offers "I'm feeling lucky radio." The more you use Google Music the more accurate the "I'm feeling lucky" suggestions become. When you give a song a thumbs up, it's automatically added to an auto playlist called "thumbs up." This is great to have if there are songs you're unsure about on first listen and want to hear again before moving them to a playlist.

Ease of Use

This is a tie for me. Both Spotify Premium and Google Play Music are well organized and easy to use. Spotify has a few extra features that I like though. It's easy to connect your Spotify account to Last FM and you can control gapless playback. Both services allow playlist sharing.

The main menu for Spotify is on the left. The main menu for Google Play Music is on the right
The main menu for Spotify is on the left. The main menu for Google Play Music is on the right
Spotify playlists (left) are based on the order they were created. Google Play Music has a main view (right) and a list view.
Spotify playlists (left) are based on the order they were created. Google Play Music has a main view (right) and a list view.
Both Spotify and Google Play Music recommend artists based on the listener's taste
Both Spotify and Google Play Music recommend artists based on the listener's taste


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    • MyWebs profile image

      Anthony Goodley 11 months ago from Sheridan, WY

      I've been using Google Play All Access since it was in Beta. Because of this I only pay about $8.50 a month. Overall I'm very happy with the service. In the beginning it had several things that really annoyed me, but they have since fixed all but one of those. That one is there is no way to download an individual song for offline use besides adding it to either a Playlist or downloading the whole album.

      As long as I remember to connect my Nexus 7 tablet to the internet once per month my music always works offline. Occasionally Google gives me free songs and albums. Also special deals on songs and albums.

      While I've never used Spotify Premium and can't comment on that service I can't see my self using any other service anytime soon.

    • profile image

      Brandon Jones 3 months ago

      Spotify premium offers both clean and explicit versions of songs as far as I can tell (See Vince Staples - Prima Donna, there is a clean version of that album).

    • Learn Things Web profile image

      Learn Things Web 2 months ago from California


      In the two years I used Spotify, I never came across clean versions of albums, which was frustrating. I haven't used Spotify in over a year, so it's possible they're offering it now.

    • Thor Weberson profile image

      Thor Weberson 2 weeks ago

      Both services are awesome. I used Spotify from when it became available in the U.S. for about 4 years. Then I used Google Play Music for about a year (I was able to get an extended free-trial period for it then an extended trial for YouTube Red, which, as the other mentioned, subscribing to one gives access to the other.... COOL!). I am now using Napster (Formerly "Rhapsody") which is also a great service.

      I suppose Google wins because of the family plan alone (something I wouldn't currently use), barring that - Google Play Music wins because it not only plays that is stored locally on whatever device your using, it allows you to upload 50,000 (YES, THAT's FIFTY-THOUSAND!!! Bumped-up from the original 20k that google allowed) of your own-songs into the cloud - streamable from wherever you can access your account!!!

      YouTube Red being included is a DEFINITE BONUS!!! It's a whole music-service in itself - PLUS, the infinite-whatever else that's on YouTube!! And, just like any other subscription service, it allows you to make playlists. On Android, it allows YouTube to play in the background while you do other tasks.

      Another cool feature, is Play Music will link what you're currently listening to a YouTube video (when available)!

      Google's selection meets or beats anyone's, Play Music smacks-down the competition pretty soundly!

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