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Spotify vs SoundCloud In 2020: Which Music Streaming Platform Is Best For You?

Spotify vs SoundCloud In 2020: Which Music Streaming Platform Is Best For You? 

Are you a music lover looking to find out whether Spotify or SoundCloud is a better fit for your listening needs? Or are you an artist looking to share your talent with the world? Whoever you are, you must be wondering whether to choose Spotify or SoundCloud.

The two apps have always been different from each other since the start and still have quite distinctions in all aspects except that both offer billions and billions of music to listen to.

In order for us to give you the best review and comparison in a clairvoyant fashion, it is important we answer some of the most asked questions:

Now let us get into their key metrics to see how much difference there is in other aspects than just ranking.

What is the top ranking music-streaming platform: Spotify #1, SoundCloud #4
What is the best way to discover new music:    Spotify #2, SoundCloud #1
What are the best music player apps for android: Spotify #1, SoundCloud #2
What is the best online platform to make playlists: Spotify #1, SoundCloud #3
What is the best music distribution app: Spotify #1, SoundCloud #3


Founded: 2006

Users: 180 million +

Library: over 40 million songs from over 2 million artists

Streaming quality: up to 320 kbps

Price: free version, Spotify premium version at $9.99, family version at $14.99, also separate price for students at $4.99

Value: $20 billion

number of users on spotify


Founded: 2007

Users: 175 million +

Library:  more than 180 million tracks by more 20 million creators

Streaming quality: 128 kbps

Price: Free version, pro version at $6, pro unlimited at $12, SoundCloud go at $9.99

number of users on SoundCloud

History of SoundCloud

As we can see, the biggest differences are in pricing strategy and also in their music libraries, streaming quality and users, well in a simpler word, everything about them is quite different except a few similarities.

The best platform to discover new music by far is SoundCloud. It has the biggest number of creators on the platform. In other words, it is like the YouTube of audio. It had a great start in the midst of the first decade of the 2000s

Then, it kind of had faced this time of stagnancy where most of its fans were expecting the platform to take off or changing to other platforms for their music needs. SoundCloud somehow survived all those turbulent times because of its loyal fans.

SoundCloud introduced the direct monetization program in the fall of 2018, this is when the future of the app was secured to some degree flocking millions of new creators onto the program.

Even though the program has been in beta version for four years before the launch, upon the launch the platform that always positioned itself as the creator the first platform finally had delivered what the fans needed.

Monetization was that onestep, the Sound Social needed to prolong its life and profitability. Especially it was around the time that Spotify was experiencing with Beta of the same strategy, announcing that it is going to allow its users to upload self-created music directly onto the Spotify. It has in fact run the beta from September of 2018 to July 2019.

SoundCloud dividends were more than any other program in this industry, for the creators were going to get 55% of the total monetized plays still owning 100% rights to their music or songs.

While there were times when SoundCloud Pro priced exactly how much a month of Spotify Subscription would cost, they later changed it to just $6 which was a better movie, for the users always thought SoundCloud was more expensive than the value it provides.

It is not only the best platform out there to spot the new music, but also some new talent as well, or be that new talent.  Its library is so huge that even if you were to listen to one song once and throughout 24hrs a day, you would still not be able to listen it up fully during your lifetime. 

We cannot move on without touching on the fact that the quality does lack behind Spotify. It is obviously due to the big number of amateur creators.

Yet, SoundCloud has had a great number of works to compete with Spotify in this regard with little to no effect. Thus, Spotify has a better quality of music between the two of them.

History of Spotify

Ever since EK’s (Creator of Spotify) interview at SXSW, Spotify has been one of the most talked-about apps for the music industry to be in the controversial sues over royalties or satisfaction of artists’ au contraire.

Spotify growth infographic

The app did not even stop to grow even for a moment. Introducing new features that are very well thought and fits the whole Spotify concept and bringing in more and more musicians until there is no one left, except a few rappers.

Now it is the best streaming app in the world, and it has a smaller library but it is a quality library, music from the professionals. In fact, one of the aspects many people like about Spotify is that you can listen to real good music with the least amount of hassle.

The later introduced algorithm that suggests music based on what you listened before, has been accepted as the one that changed the way people listened to music.

Obviously, you could search for new music or talk to your friends if there is anything in a new town. However, why would you want to do it when there was a ripe and ready algorithm offering you the kind of music you most probably are going to like at your fingertips.

If we have compared SoundCloud to the YouTube of Audio, then we can easily say that Spotify is like the Netflix of Audio, for it just licenses good music to deliver it in the most convenient, intuitive way possible.

The user-friendliness of Spotify has received quite the praise over the years and still remains as one of the characteristics of the platform that fans most appreciate.

SoundCloud over the years has developed into not just an online music streaming service where you discover new music and new artists, but it is more like a conservatory where talented artists rise to stardom to record their music with big studios and big names and stuff. Among countless popular artists to name a few: Post Malone, Kehlani, Kygo so on and on.

Let us get into some of the pros and cons of both apps so that you can decide which one to go with afterwards.

Spotify Pros

  • It is a cross-platform which allows your music to be available and synchronized with all other devices which are really convenient and smooth.
  • Spotify has a free version
  • Helps you find related artists based on your history, and also find more info on them
  • It has one and only unique algorithm that makes it stand out from all the rest of the music-streaming platform. This algorithm suggests weekly discover playlists that are native and  mostly appealing to you.
  • The availability of public playlists is a great way to find new music.
  • Third-party collaborations that speak the same language as Spotify ( some of the example of the apps:, trackqueen, birthhits, sortyourmusic)

Spotify cons

  • Free account has too many ads
  • Discover is not as good as was promised. It is virtually impossible to train it for your ways.
  • It lacks the lyrics feature
  • Not available in some countries
  • The price is relatively higher than that of SoundCloud at the time of writing

SoundCloud pros

  • Links to related music that are available on the sidebar are great for recommendations
  • You can subscribe to artists to be up to date with their latest releases and records
  • Explore tab always has something new, which can be filtered according to tags, or music genre
  • You can follow people to see what they are up to music-wise but also taste their kind of music whichever is the case. SoundCloud will notify you off their updates too.
  • The best thing apart from being free is that you do not have to create an account or whatsoever to start listening, and it is FREE to download as many songs as you can place on your device.
  • The latest music, also pre-releases are on SoundCloud way before they hit the stores or TV, or even Spotify
  • It has the Creative Commons filter that allows users to find music that is licensed under creative commons.

SoundCloud Cons

  • Cannot do an advanced search, for example, you want to look for music with the hashtag of #trap, but you want only the music from Creative Commons. However, it is not possible to do it this way.
  • SoundCloud has known for its bugs, constant bugs, issues and problems that have never gone away.
  • Audio ads even though they are not uploaded by the SoundCloud itself the fact that they are still there makes it a bit annoying to listen.

Final Thoughts

If you are an artist then there is no arguing that SoundCloud is the one for you. However, the argument rises if you are just a normal listener trying to figure out which stage to work with.  Then, the summary goes as follows:

Are you a person who is into curated playlists with some good quality music?

Are you the type of person who has a more adventurous music taste and needs continuous discovery?

Well, there is no need to answer this question except in your head, for you need to know what you really need, and accordingly figure out how you facilitate that need in the most convenient, and holistic way.

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