Whether you are working in an office, studying for an exam, or watching the cityscape from your seat in a train, everything becomes a lot more enjoyable if you have some music to accompany you. So, unsurprisingly, music streaming services have become incredibly popular nowadays. Vendors like Spotify and iHeartRadio have become the favorite choices of music lovers. Both Spotify and iHeartRadio provide free ad-supported services, but you can also sign up to their premium subscriptions if you want to enjoy the fullest benefits including on-demand music selections. So, between Spotify vs iHeartRadio, which one is the best music streaming service?
Since the launching in 2008, Spotify has become one of the world’s most renowned music streaming service. It provides DRM-protected content from media companies and record labels to the users. It is now available in at least 20 countries around the world, which include most European and American countries, Australia, New Zealand, and some Asian countries. Spotify is available for both PC and mobile platforms, including Windows, Linux, macOS, Windows Phone, Android, and iOS. It is even available for PS4.
Spotify is a freemium service; it has a free version which is ad-supported to provide basic features and premium versions which provide additional features and improved streaming quality. There are several subscription options. The Premium plan costs $9.99 per month. The Family plan costs $14.99 per month to provide six premium accounts for people with the same address. Finally, there is Spotify Premium for Students, which costs only $4.99 per month and includes Hulu, but with a few limitations. (See also : Spotify vs Spotify Premium)
Usually, the first advantage of using Spotify vs iHeartRadio that people mention is the large and deep music catalog. Indeed, Spotify is known to have a lot of songs. At the time of its release, it is said to have more than 20 million songs. For sure, the number has significantly increased, although the company doesn’t really specify how many tracks that they have in their database. With Spotify, you can easily find various artists, albums, and songs.
Spotify has several nice features, such as the ability to cross-fade songs in a playlist to create a smooth, unnoticeable transition. This feature is especially useful when you need to focus and maintain concentration. The desktop apps allow you to see many songs’ lyrics. You can also add your own audio files into the local library (but you can’t upload them to the cloud for cross-platform listening).
The highest streaming quality is 320 kbps, only available for the premium users. The premium subscriptions also remove the ads and enable offline listening.
Spotify is missing some high-profile artists, such as Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean. This is because of a dispute regarding the royalty that Spotify pays to the artists. Well, there are many artists who think that streaming services aren’t fair for the artists, so Spotify is not the only one who is missing some popular artists.
When choosing between Spotify vs iHeartRadio, note that Spotify does not have any live radio. Actually, Spotify has a pretty good tool for music discovery, which is the Discover Weekly playlist. However, some users aren’t fully satisfied with the Discover Weekly. If you prefer a real, live radio, Spotify is not the best choice for you.
Finally, it is okay to have ads on the free version, but the ads on Spotify’s free version are just a little bit too many. You will probably get tired of the ads and upgrade to a premium account only to get rid of the annoying ads.
iHeartRadio is a free broadcast and Internet radio platform with lots of songs and podcasts. It was founded in 2008 as well. However, iHeartRadio also has a function as a music recommender system. In addition, in late 2016, iHeartRadio released a new on-demand feature which enables the users to listen to any song in the catalog. iHeartRadio is available in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Just like Spotify, iHeartRadio is available for various platforms including smart home appliances, mobile devices, wearables, and video game platforms.
The premium subscription, iHeartRadio All Access, costs $9.99 per month for web and Google Play sign-up. The cost is higher for iOS App Store sign-up, which is $12.99 per month. The premium account allows you to listen to songs and streams on-demand, create playlists, save and replay songs from the live radio channels, and listen offline.
First of all, the big advantage of iHeartRadio that people should know when choosing between Spotify vs iHeartRadio is that, currently, iHeartRadio is the only service that allows the users to save songs right from the live broadcast radio to their playlists. This feature makes iHeartRadio a truly great music discovery tool. You can find new songs from the live radio, and immediately put the songs that you like into your playlists. No need to manually search for the song title and artist.
iHeartRadio has many live and curated streams. It can show the lyric of the currently playing song. It is also very interesting because it has informative artist bios and news articles – great for killing the time or refreshing the mind. It has a separate Events section, too. The performance is very fast and impressive.
iHeartRadio was not a real competitor to Spotify when it didn’t have the music on-demand feature. Now that it has the on-demand feature and even the ability to directly save songs from the live radio, what disadvantage does it have? Perhaps one downside is the commercials. If you are streaming to the live radio, you will come across radio promos, commercials, and DJ announcements. But this is not a big deal.
|- Only has music on-demand and curated playlists||- Live radio, curated streams, and music on-demand|
|- Cross-fade songs, add your own songs to the local library||- Save and replay songs from the live radio to your playlists|
|- Available in at least 20 countries around the world||- Available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand|
|- Several subscription options, including for students and for family||- One subscription plan|
|- The free version has a lot of ads||- The live radio typically gives some commercials|
In general, iHeartRadio makes a better choice. It is a great tool for music discovery, as you can save songs directly from the live radio. You can also enjoy music on-demand features here. Nevertheless, if live radio isn’t really your style and you prefer a service that is entirely focused to music on-demand, Spotify is the way to go.