Soundcloud Vs Spotify: Which One Is Better for You?

We compared Spotify vs Soundcloud with hands-on testing to find the best streaming services for various types of users. Join us and find out who won!
soundcloud vs spotify article featured image

Putting Soundcloud against Spotify might seem like an odd comparison, and in many ways – it is.

Essentially, these two music services target different user types, making our Spotify vs Soundcloud comparison all the more important.

The goal of this guide is to introduce you to the unique features of Soundcloud and Spotify, and help you determine which suit your music-streaming needs better. Sounds good?

Spotify Vs Soundcloud: TL;DR
Pricing
Content Library
Soundcloud vs Spotify Sound Quality
UI & Navigation
Content Discovery & Sharing
Ease of Access
Our Ranking Explained
How to Transfer Playlists Between Soundcloud and Spotify
Summary
Comparison Table

Transfer your playlists between Spotify and Soundcloud in about 3 clicks, free of charge.

Spotify Vs Soundcloud: TL;DR

Overall, Spotify is better than Soundcloud for most users. It has a more extensive catalog and covers more types of content (including audiobooks and podcasts), higher audio quality, and better user interface. Still, Soundcloud is cheaper and is a better option for obscure and non-mainstream artists.

Soundcloud Vs Spotify: Pricing

soundcloud vs spotify article - screenshot comparing pricing plans for both streaming sites

Winner: Soundcloud

In terms of pricing, we believe Soundcloud is a bit better than Spotify, simply because it’s cheaper.

Starting with Spotify, their Free tier is, as the name suggests, completely free of charge. However, it comes with limitations such as ads, no offline downloads, standard audio quality, and limited skips.

On the other hand, Spotify Premium offers several tiers: Individual at $11.99 per month, Duo at $16.99 per month, Family at $19.99 per month (which includes up to six accounts), and Student at $5.99 per month.

All these Premium plans come with ad-free listening, offline downloads, high audio quality, and unlimited skips.

Each Spotify Premium plan also grants access to 15 hours of listening time from the Audiobooks Subscriber catalog each month. A dedicated $9.99/month plan is available if you just want the 15-hour/month access to Spotify Audiobooks.

SoundCloud, a popular alternative to Spotify, also offers a free tier with similar limitations to Spotify Free: ads, no offline downloads, standard audio quality, and limited skips. However, SoundCloud’s premium options are significantly cheaper.

SoundCloud Go costs just $4.99 per month and provides ad-free listening, offline downloads, and standard audio quality. If you want the best experience SoundCloud has to offer, SoundCloud Go+ is available at $10.99 per month and also includes high audio quality and unlimited skips.

Looking closely at the pricing structure, it’s clear that SoundCloud offers more budget-friendly options. At $4.99 per month, SoundCloud Go substantially undercuts Spotify’s lowest-paid option. Even SoundCloud Go+, which provides high audio quality and unlimited skips, is still cheaper than Spotify’s Individual Premium plan by a dollar.

FeatureSpotify FreeSpotify Premium IndividualSpotify Premium DuoSpotify Premium FamilySpotify Premium StudentSoundCloud FreeSoundCloud GoSoundCloud Go+
Monthly PriceFree$11.99$16.99$19.99$5.99Free$4.99$10.99
Number of Accounts112Up to 61111
Ad-Free ListeningNoYesYesYesYesNoYesYes
Offline DownloadsNoYesYesYesYesNoYesYes
Audio QualityStandardHighHighHighHighStandardStandardHigh
Unlimited SkipsNoYesYesYesYesNoYesYes
Table comparing free and premium Spotify and Soundcloud plans

So, while both platforms have their unique advantages and features, if you’re primarily focused on cost-effectiveness, SoundCloud emerges as the winner.

Soundcloud or Spotify: Content Library

spotify vs soundcloud article - screenshot showing content on both sites

Winner: Spotify

Soundcloud has some amazing benefits, but we believe Spotify is the winner for most music fans when it comes to content library.

Spotify has 100+ million tracks. It’s a massive library with virtually any song you desire. But Spotify also offers videos, over 6 million podcast titles, and 350,000+ audiobooks.

So – Spotify is not just a music-streaming service now but a platform that covers your podcast and audiobook needs, which boosts overall engagement significantly.

SoundCloud, while impressive in its own right, focuses primarily on independent and emerging artists – which is pretty cool! Hosting over 350 million tracks (wow), it’s a haven for discovering new and underground music.

The site supports extensive user-generated content, allowing artists to upload tracks. You can’t do this that easily on Spotify, which adds to SoundCloud’s unique diversity. But then again, it falls short regarding podcasts and audiobooks, with a limited selection of both content types.

SpotifySoundCloud
Total TracksOver 100 millionOver 350 million
FocusMainstream, indie music, podcasts, and audiobooksIndependent, emerging artists, and niche genres
User-Generated ContentLimited (mostly playlists)Extensive (artists can upload their own tracks)
PodcastsOver 6 million titlesLimited
AudiobooksOver 350,000 titlesLimited
Table comparing Spotify and Soundcloud content libraries

Overall, while SoundCloud is excellent for discovering new and independent music, Spotify’s extensive catalog of over 100 million tracks, 6 million podcasts, and 350,000 audiobooks makes it a more versatile and robust platform, catering to a broader audience.

SoundCloud vs Spotify: Audio Quality

spotify vs soundcloud article - screenshot showing audio quality

Winner: Spotify

Neither Spotify nor SoundCloud is known for top-tier audio quality – check out our Tidal vs Spotify comparison for more info. But, while they offer decent sound quality, Spotify is the better option.

Spotify offers multiple audio quality settings tailored to different types of users and their data needs. Free-tier users can stream at up to 160 kbps. Premium subscribers, however, get access to significantly better audio quality, with streams reaching up to 320 kbps in Ogg Vorbis format.

This high bitrate is enough for a fairly crisp listening experience. For example, when streaming popular tracks like Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” or The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights”, the difference in audio fidelity is noticeable.

On the other side, what is SoundCloud sound quality? Well, the platform takes a different approach to audio quality. Free users typically stream music at 128 kbps MP3, which is serviceable but lower in fidelity compared to Spotify’s free tier.

For those who subscribe to SoundCloud Go or Go+, the streaming quality improves to 256 kbps AAC. While this offers enhanced sound quality, it still falls short of Spotify’s highest setting.

From our experience using both platforms, Spotify’s 320 kbps streams deliver a consistently superior audio experience, particularly noticeable in genres like classical music where detail and clarity are paramount. For instance, listening to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 on Spotify Premium reveals a depth and richness that enhances the overall enjoyment.

SpotifySoundCloud
Free Tier QualityUp to 160 kbps128 kbps MP3
Premium Tier QualityUp to 320 kbps Ogg VorbisUp to 256 kbps AAC
Audio FormatOgg VorbisMP3, AAC
Bitrate AdjustmentAutomatic based on network conditionsNo automatic adjustment
Table summarizing Soundcloud vs Spotify sound quality comparison

So, while SoundCloud provides respectable audio quality, Spotify’s higher maximum bitrate of 320 kbps gives it a clear advantage.

Spotify vs Soundcloud: UI & Navigation

spotify vs soundcloud article - screenshot showing user interface on both sites

Winner: Spotify

Spotify has a better user interface than Soundcloud, in our humble opinion. It’s fast, streamlined, intuitive, and highly optimized. Soundcloud has its unique perks as always, though, so let’s talk more.

The Spotify home screen grants quick access to recently played tracks, personalized playlists like “Discover Weekly” and “Release Radar”, and top charts. Users can easily navigate through the app using a well-organized navigation bar on the left side for desktop users and at the bottom for mobile users.

This includes clearly labeled tabs such as Home, Search, Your Library, and Premium. The search functionality is particularly robust, delivering quick results and curated suggestions based on user behavior, which enhances discoverability.

One of Spotify’s strengths is its consistency across different devices. Users can expect a uniform design and seamless transition on desktop or mobile. Also, customizable playlists and collaborative playlists add layers of personalization and interaction.

SoundCloud, on the other hand, is all about simplicity and community engagement. The home feed highlights community activity, showcasing uploads from followed artists, likes, and reposts. While this setup fosters a sense of community, it can sometimes feel cluttered and overwhelming for new users.

The search functionality is straightforward but lacks the advanced curation seen in Spotify. A unique feature of SoundCloud is the waveform display for each track, allowing users to comment on specific moments within the song, which fosters direct artist feedback.

However, despite these interactive elements, SoundCloud’s overall design can be inconsistent and cluttered compared to Spotify’s streamlined approach.

SpotifySoundCloud
Home Screen FocusRecently played, personalized playlists (e.g., Discover Weekly, Release Radar), top chartsCommunity activity, recent uploads, likes, reposts
Search FunctionalityAdvanced, quick results, curated suggestions based on user behaviorStraightforward, efficient, lacks advanced curation
Consistency Across DevicesHigh; uniform design and experience across desktop and mobileModerate; similar design across devices but can vary in complexity
CustomizationCustomizable and collaborative playlists, personalized recommendationsUser profile customization, upload your own tracks, create playlists
Interactive ElementsLimited interactive elements, mostly within social sharingWaveform comments, likes, reposts, track-specific feedback
Table comparing Spotify and Soundcloud user interface and navigation features

The bottom line is that Spotify has a user-friendly, consistent design, advanced search functionalities, and robust social features that most users will enjoy. SoundCloud’s unique community-driven features are commendable, but Spotify’s superior UI and navigation make it the clear winner.

Spotify vs Soundcloud: Content Discovery & Sharing

spotify vs soundcloud article - screenshot showing discovery features and suggestions

Winner: Tie

This one’s a tie, if you ask us. Spotify and SoundCloud have their own content discovery and sharing features, and the final answer depends on your preference.

Spotify is known for its sophisticated algorithms and curated playlists. You can easily access playlists such as “Discover Weekly”, which is regularly updated with new music tailored to your listening habits. There are also Spotify Daily Mixes for genre-specific playlists based on your favorite tracks.

The “Browse” section is packed with curated playlists, top charts, and new releases across various genres and moods, making it easy to find fresh content.

Sharing on Spotify is straightforward; you can share tracks, albums, and playlists via social media, direct links, or within the Spotify app. Collaborative playlists allow multiple users to contribute, enhancing social interaction and collective discovery.

SoundCloud’s approach to content discovery is community-driven. The platform’s home feed displays uploads from followed artists, likes, reposts, and recommendations based on your activity.

The search functionality allows users to explore tracks, playlists, and profiles efficiently, though it lacks the advanced curation seen in Spotify.

A standout feature of SoundCloud is the ability to comment on specific moments within a track, fostering direct artist engagement and community interaction. Users can also like and repost tracks, boosting visibility and discovery within their network.

Sharing is done through direct links, social media, and embedding options.

SpotifySoundCloud
Personalized PlaylistsDiscover Weekly, Release Radar, Daily MixesNone specific, relies on user activity and follows
Curated ContentBrowse section with top charts, genres, moodsCommunity-driven, recent uploads from followed artists
Search FunctionalityAdvanced, quick results, curated suggestionsStraightforward, efficient
Social FeaturesShare tracks, albums, playlists; collaborative playlistsComment on waveforms, repost tracks, direct feedback
InteractionFollow friends, see their listening activityEngage with artist content directly through comments
Table summarizing Spotify vs Soundcloud comparison for discovery and sharing features

Soundcloud or Spotify: Ease of Access

spotify vs soundcloud article - screenshot showing sign up pages for both sites

Winner: Spotify

Both Spotify and SoundCloud offer robust access to content, but Spotify is the winner due to Soundcloud’s geo-based content restrictions.

Spotify is accessible in 184 countries. The sign-up process is straightforward, with options to register via email, Google, Facebook, or Apple. Once signed up, you are greeted with a clean, intuitive interface that facilitates easy navigation through the app.

SoundCloud is available in over 190 countries. Similar to Spotify, new users can sign up using email, Google, Apple, or Facebook.

SpotifySoundCloud
Sign-Up OptionsEmail, Google, Facebook, AppleEmail, Google, Apple, Facebook
Number of Available Countries184193
Offline ListeningAvailable with Premium subscriptionAvailable with Go+ subscription
Ad-Free ExperienceAvailable with PremiumAvailable with Go+
Table comparing Soundcloud and Spotify for ease of access

Our Ranking Explained

When we compare streaming services, we like to have a similar approach to each comparison so you can see the benefits of each platform more clearly. These are the benchmarks we applied to our Soundcloud vs Spotify showdown.

  • Pricing: We checked if the streaming services offer free plans and what exactly is included. Then, we dove deeper into the paid tiers and compared Soundcloud Go vs Spotify Premium for pricing and value for money.
  • Content Library: This benchmark covers the depth of content libraries. Going beyond the sheer song counts, we checked the availability of rare tracks and additional content like videos and audiobooks.
  • Audio Quality: The sound quality benchmark is simple; what’s the available sound quality in the free tier, and what’s the top audio quality in the paid section? We also checked for audio settings flexibility.
  • UI & Navigation: This one goes into how intuitive the user interface is on both streaming services, how fast they load on various platforms, and how easy it is to navigate the sites or apps and find the music you want.
  • Content Discovery & Sharing: Finding the music you really want often involves algorithm-driven suggestion, which is why we gave extra attention to content discovery features. And once you find your ideal matches, we checked how easy it is to share it with your friends.
  • Ease of Access: Lastly, we checked how easy it is to sign up at both streaming platforms and in how many countries they’re available.

Read more: Spotify vs Amazon Music

How to Transfer Playlists Between Soundcloud and Spotify

If you’re looking to leave Spotify for Soundcloud – or the other way around – you should take your playlists with you.

You can do that by manually recreating a playlist, but that’s tedious. The elegant solution is to use Tune My Music and transfer your playlists in about 3-4 clicks. Here’s how it’s done.

spotify vs soundcloud article - screenshot showing the first step of playlist transfer via tune my music

  • 3. Grant Tune My Music access to your streaming service account.
  • 4. Load the playlist or playlists you wish to transfer.
  • 5. Click “Choose Destination”.

spotify vs soundcloud article - screenshot showing playlist loading for transfer via tune my music

  • 6. Set Spotify or Soundcloud as the destination.

spotify vs soundcloud article - screenshot showing playlist loading for transfer from spotify to soundcloud via tune my music

  • 7. Click “Start Transfer”.

spotify vs soundcloud article - screenshot showing playlist transfer from spotify to soundcloud via tune my music

  • 8. You’ll get a confirmation message, and that’s a wrap!

spotify vs soundcloud article - screenshot showing successful playlist transfer from spotify to soundcloud via tune my music

Summary: Soundcloud vs Spotify

Again, the bottom line is that Spotify is a better streaming platform than Soundcloud. It has a more varied library, better audio quality, and a more polished UI.

Still, Soundcloud has its perks. It’s more affordable and is actually our favorite if you want to steer clear of mainstream acts and dive straight into the underground.

Table Comparing Soundcloud and Spotify

Let’s summarize our Spotify vs Soundcloud comparison in a brief table so everything is clear and clean. Here goes!

soundcloud logo transparentspotify logo transparent
Pricing9588
Content Library9095
Sound Quality7888
UI & Navigation8096
Content Discovery & Sharing9090
Ease of Access9295
Final Score87.593
The final summary of Soundcloud vs Spotify comparison

If you’re up for it, go to our comparisons page for more showdowns like this. Stay safe, and have a good one!