What Is Spotify And How Does It Work?

Spotify is the most popular music streaming platform in the world. Since its creation in 2008, the platform has evolved and amassed almost 200 million premium subscribers. With its huge song library, playlists, and podcasts, Spotify is the world leader when it comes to streaming.

Music streaming platforms have taken the world by storm. Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, and many more have had great success but none come close to the wide use and popularity of Spotify.

But what is Spotify and how does it work? What are the pricing plans? What are suitable alternatives? Let’s dive in and answer some of these questions.

What is Spotify?

Spotify is a music streaming platform that started back in 2008. The platform features a huge music library, playlists, and podcasts while recommending artists and music based on your listening habits via an advanced algorithm. 

The beauty of Spotify is its user-friendly interface as well as the option to discover artists and music. You can create playlists, share them, add friends, see what they’re listening to, and many other useful features.

Spotify has an advanced algorithm that recommends artists and songs based on your listening habits. This is a great way to either explore new music or just stick within your register of music. The best part is – Spotify is free to use! There are premium plans that unlock more features and make the whole experience even more seamless.

How does Spotify work?

Spotify is a legal way to stream and listen to music. It works by licensing tracks from record labels and pays the artists and companies their fair share depending on the number of listens.

Spotify has a vast library of artists and bands. In addition to exploring and listening to music, users can make their own playlists. It revolves around an easy search-and-play system in a legal way. Due to Spotify’s licensing deals, all the music is available for streaming.

Users can easily create an account for free via PC (Spotify Web Player) or mobile device by entering basic info like email, username, password, and date of birth. Afterward, you can choose if you want to upgrade to a premium account or stay for free.

Spotify Pricing Plans

Spotify has a free version as well as a premium version. The premium version encompasses 4 different pricing plans – Individual, Due, Family, and Student plans.

Spotify Free

Spotify free is the basic option for Spotify users that features unlimited access to the music library and podcasts. It does, however, have limitations. The free version is ad-supported and does not allow for unlimited skips.

The main drawback of Spotify free is the audio quality. The free version allows for audio streaming at 160kbit/s which is considered moderate quality. If you want more detailed audio quality, you would need to upgrade to premium which brings me to the next subject matter.

Pros and Cons of Spotify Free

Free access to the best streaming platformLower audio quality (160kbit/s)
Legal way to listen/stream musicAd-supported version
Easy-to-use platformLimited skips per day
Multi-compatible app

spotify premium

Spotify Premium features 4 price plans: Individual, Due, Family, and Student. All plans feature a higher streaming audio quality of 320kbit/s. The difference in audio quality should be evident if you have somewhat decent speakers.

The Individual Plan costs $10.99/month and allows for 1 account to be connected. You get access to ad-free music, unlimited skips, and offline listening. You can download your favorite tracks and listen to them without the need for an internet connection.

The Duo Plan is $14.99/month. You can connect 2 accounts for a slightly higher price. As far as features are concerned, they are the same as the individual plan. You have access to ad-free music, offline listening, and unlimited skips.

The Family Plan is $16.99/month. With this plan, you can connect up to 6 accounts. This plan comes with a feature to block explicit music as well as a Spotify Kids app made specifically for the young ones. Regarding everything else, you also get ad-free music, unlimited skips, and offline downloading and listening.

The Student Plan is the cheapest option at $5.99/month. You get 1 account with a Hulu (ad-supported) plan and SHOWTIME streaming service if you reside in the US. The perks remain the same – ad-free music, unlimited skips, and offline listening.

Pros and Cons of Spotify Premium

High audio quality (320kbit/s)Paid versions
Ad-free versionNot available in all countries
Unlimited skips
Offline listening

Spotify Availability

Spotify is a globally known streaming platform but is not available in every country. This is one of the main drawbacks of the platform. While the pricing plans are decent for an immersive experience, it does not mean anything if it’s not available in your country.

Spotify is available in most countries across the globe. Regarding more recent changes, it launched in South Korea in 2021. For a more detailed look and before deciding on using Spotify, I recommend you check out their availability first.

Spotify Alternatives

While Spotify is the world leader when it comes to music streaming platforms, there are a lot of other quality platforms that offer a great deal and experience. Some of the most notable ones are Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, and YouTube Music.

Apple Music

Apple Music is perhaps the only competitor to stand toe-to-toe with Spotify. The platform offers a free version as well as premium plans. The price is very similar to Spotify depending on the plan you choose.

I would advise Apple Music if you’re already invested in Apple products and devices because of the linking software and complete experience. The iCloud integration will be very useful if you’re already in the Apple world.


Tidal is also a great alternative to Spotify, mainly due to its superb audio quality which is the main selling point of the platform. It offers 2 pricing plans with a decent price tag to get this immersive and quality experience.

Tidal is a great streaming platform for audiophiles that appreciate the audio quality of the highest standard. It also features offline listening and an ad-free experience.


Deezer is an often overlooked but great platform for streaming music. While it still falls short of Spotify or Apple Music, it does offer a great music experience. The noticeable difference is the slightly pricier premium plans.

Another drawback of the platform is probably its availability. It’s not available in all countries but still stands as one of the best music streaming services out there.

YouTube Music

YouTube Music is another great alternative to Spotify. What sets this platform apart from others is the wide variety of music, even those that are considered quite hard to find. You can listen to various mixtapes, covers, and similar.

The platform also features a somewhat similar algorithm to Spotify when it comes to recommendations which is an exceptional feature. The pricing plans are within the same range as Spotify’s as well. Overall, it’s a great alternative to consider.


Spotify is a great platform for streaming music with a wide variety of content. It offers an exceptional experience with high audio quality, ad-free listening, and offline downloading. When it comes to music streaming, Spotify is definitely the world leader in that field.

The main drawback of Spotify is its availability in certain countries. But, there are many alternative streaming platforms that offer a great experience as well such as Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, and YouTube Music.

Consider your options before deciding on a platform to use for your music streaming needs.

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj

I’m the Deputy Editor for Musician Wave and a touring and recording bass guitarist. I love to share my passion for all things music. I’ve been playing music for over ten years and I love exploring it further through writing. You'll also find me on the Musician Wave YouTube channel.

Leave a Comment

Leave a reply

Musician Wave