SoundCloud vs. Spotify: Which One Is Better?

SoundCloud vs. Spotify: Which One Is Better?

  22 Dec 2023

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Key Takeaways

  • SoundCloud is ideal for discovering undiscovered artists and unofficial remixes.
  • Spotify offers a well-rounded listening experience with a wide range of features and customization options.
  • Spotify has better audio quality, a more intuitive interface, and more affordable premium subscription options.

Curious whether you should choose SoundCloud or Spotify for an optimal music-streaming experience? Here’s a look at each platform’s strengths and which is best for uncovering new artists, organizing your playlists, and high-quality sound.

What Is SoundCloud?

SoundCloud is a music-streaming platform founded in August 2007. The service has become a popular place for up-and-coming artists to share their work with the world.

According to SoundCloud, more than 30 million artists use the platform.

What Is Spotify?

Spotify is a music and podcast-streaming service that focuses on a mixture of established artists and newcomers to the music scene. The platform was founded in 2006 and launched two years later. After beginning in Sweden, the platform has expanded to the UK, the US, and many other countries.

Besides showcasing a mixture of artists, you can also discover charts in different countries on Spotify. Moreover, the app lets you design your own playlists—in addition to sharing its own.

SoundCloud vs. Spotify: Is SoundCloud Better Than Spotify?

SoundCloud and Spotify excel in different areas. To determine which platform suits your preferences better, you need to judge both of them in line with your individual needs.

To help you settle the Spotify vs. SoundCloud debate for yourself, we’ve analyzed the most essential talking points.

SoundCloud vs. Spotify: Uncovering New Artists and Songs

Spotify has several features that help you discover new artists and songs. Discover Weekly, which delivers new tracks to you each Monday based on your listening history, is the best example.

When using Spotify to uncover new artists and songs, you can also use the Daily Mix playlists. Normally, these are broken down into different genres and moods. Similarly, you can access personalized mixes on Spotify that aren’t day-specific.

A Daily Mix Playlist on Spotify

Spotify also has a Release Radar for songs from artists you already follow or singles that it thinks you would like.

The Release Radar Playlist on Spotify

SoundCloud, like Spotify, also has Daily Mix playlists. Another similar feature is the artist station, which will play tracks similar to what you already like. The two apps also have playlists for different activities, such as studying and working out. In this category, there isn’t a huge difference between the two platforms.

A Mix Playlist on SoundCloud

Winner: Tie

SoundCloud vs. Spotify: Listening to Unofficial Remixes

SoundCloud is excellent for discovering unofficial music remixes and mashups. If you’ve ever been to a friend’s house and heard something that’s a combination of two popular songs, you’ll probably find it on SoundCloud or YouTube Music.

A Track Remix on SoundCloud

Spotify, on the other hand, isn’t the best platform for listening to unofficial tracks. This is largely because ordinary users can’t upload songs to Spotify in the same way that they can on SoundCloud. For this reason, you’ll often find underground classics on Spotify a long time after they were released, if at all. Nonetheless, you can still access a good selection of hidden gems.

Winner: SoundCloud

SoundCloud vs. Spotify: Audio Quality

Spotify’s AAC (advanced audio coding) depends on the plan you have. Spotify Premium lets you stream up to 320 kb/s on its official app, while you can get 256 kb/s on the web version. Meanwhile, Spotify Free lets you stream up to 160 kb/s (official app) and 128 kb/s (web browser).

SoundCloud Go+ users can stream up to 256 kb/s. However, SoundCloud does not specify the sound quality for free plans.

Winner: Spotify

SoundCloud vs. Spotify: Pricing

Spotify and SoundCloud both have ad-supported free plans, but you can get the premium versions if you want access to more features.

Spotify Premium starts at $10.99/month in the US ($5.99/month if you’re a student). You can also get Spotify Premium Duo (which allows for two accounts) for $14.99/month. Meanwhile, Premium Family—which lets you connect up to six accounts—costs $16.99/month.

If you’re unsure whether you should make a purchase, consider reading whether Spotify Premium is worth the price.

Premium Pricing Plans for the Spotify App
Image Credit: Spotify

SoundCloud Go costs $4.99/month, but unlike Spotify Premium, it doesn’t include high-quality audio listening, and you can’t access the complete catalog. SoundCloud Go+ costs $9.99/month and offers full catalog access, plus high-quality audio listening and some track mixing.

The different premium pricing plans on SoundCloud
Image Credit: SoundCloud

As of December 2023, no SoundCloud family plan exists.

Winner: SoundCloud for price, but Spotify Premium has better features

SoundCloud vs. Spotify: Playlists

Even without the best Spotify playlist tips and tricks, Spotify makes creating and sharing playlists very simple. Discovering playlists is also straightforward. Adding new tracks is perhaps the best feature; at the bottom of your playlist, you can choose new songs from the Recommended section.

A list of recommended songs for a playlist on Spotify

Spotify also has a feature called Smart Shuffle, which shuffles the songs in your playlist while adding new ones based on the playlist’s theme. You can add collaborators to each playlist, too, which is perfect if you want to create something with a friend or partner.

The Smart Shuffle Feature on a Spotify Playlist

SoundCloud lets you make playlists of your favorite songs, and you can also save other people’s playlists in your Library. However, the service lacks many of Spotify’s advanced features.

A list of playlists featuring in the SoundCloud app

Winner: Spotify

SoundCloud vs. Spotify: App Availability

Spotify has a desktop app and is also available on iOS and Android. You can download the Spotify desktop app from any browser, while the mobile apps are available in the App Store and Google Play Store.

Download: Spotify for iOS | Android | Desktop (Free, in-app purchases available)

SoundCloud also has iOS and Android apps. You can download the Spotify Desktop Player for your computer as well, but it’s only available in Chrome, Brave, and Edge. Spotify, on the other hand, is also available in Safari, so it secures a narrow victory here.

Download: SoundCloud for iOS | Android | Desktop (Free, in-app purchases available)

Winner: Spotify

SoundCloud vs. Spotify: Organizing Your Library

Spotify has a very intuitive interface, and you can access all of your liked songs and playlists from the Your Library section. Moreover, you can organize your content based on what you’ve downloaded.

Organize your library within the Spotify app

SoundCloud also lets you easily access your library via the Library section. However, the organizational features are limited compared to Spotify. For example, you can’t rearrange the order of your playlists.

The interface to organize a playlist in SoundCloud

Winner: Spotify

SoundCloud vs. Spotify: Social Features

SoundCloud has an excellent range of social sharing features. You can like and repost songs, and another advantage it has over Spotify is the ability to comment (though you can comment on Spotify podcasts).

The option to repost a playlist that you like in SoundCloud

When you find users that you like on SoundCloud, you can easily follow them. To keep up with the latest updates, go to the Feed section.

Meanwhile, Spotify lets you follow friends and artists. You can also, if you want, see what the people you follow are listening to. Moreover, you have the option to share what you’re listening to with others.

Following list and friends list side-by-side on Spotify

Spotify also lets you make your playlists public, and the app’s best social feature is Spotify Wrapped. Wrapped shows you your music-listening habits for the year and makes it easy to share them on social media.

SoundCloud excels in offering the chance to repost and comment, but Spotify Wrapped is a game-changer. For this reason, we’re giving the two platforms a tie in this section.

Winner: Tie

SoundCloud or Spotify: Which Platform Provides a Better Music Listening Experience?

If you’re looking for undiscovered artists and unofficial tracks, SoundCloud is the best place to look on the internet. You’ll also find a number of artists who’ve gone big and also exist on Spotify, but this is the main advantage of using SoundCloud.

Spotify, however, offers a more well-rounded listening experience if you want to listen to established artists. You also get better value for money on the monthly pricing plans. Moreover, the premium subscriptions available are more versatile than SoundCloud, and the platform also has better customization for your playlists.

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