12 Spotify MoneySaving tips

When it comes to streaming music, Spotify is number one in the UK, with over two-thirds of those who subscribe to a music streaming service choosing it, according to data analysts Kantar. As it's so popular and because it's hiking prices this month, we've a bunch of ways to cut costs...

Have we missed anything? If you've got feedback on how we could improve this guide or have a tip you think we should add, let us know in the Spotify MoneySaving tips forum thread or via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

How to cut the cost of Spotify

Use our tips below so you can pay less to play more.

  1. Get Spotify for free – if you can handle ads, plus listening on shuffle-only while on mobile

    One of the reasons Spotify is so popular is that, unlike with most other music streaming services, you can use it without paying a penny – though as you'll see below, you won't get the same experience and features as you do with the paid-for version, Spotify Premium (see below for how to get it free for three months if you're a newbie).

    To get Spotify Free, as the free version's known, all you have to do is sign up using your email address and some personal info – no debit or credit card needed.

    With Spotify Free you can listen to all the music and podcasts you can with Spotify Premium, but the kicker is the following:

    • Your listening will be interrupted by adverts.
    • You can't download music to listen to offline, only podcasts.
    • On mobile (both app and web browser), you can't select specific songs to listen to – you can only listen on 'shuffle' within an album or playlist (you'll also hear tracks from similar artists).
    • Also on mobile (both app and web browser), you're limited to skipping only six tracks an hour.

    Whether Spotify Free works for you really depends on two things – what device you mostly listen on and how you like to listen to music. If you mostly listen on a computer and/or like to listen to music on shuffle, it'll be right up your street. If you mostly listen on a smartphone or tablet and/or like to listen to specific tracks/albums (or have a low tolerance of adverts), a paid-for subscription or another service might be a better bet – for alternatives, see Free Music Online.

  2. Newbies can get three months' free Spotify Premium

    Spotify Premium is its paid-for subscription service, which has over 200 million users worldwide. Unlike Spotify Free, it allows you to listen without interruption from adverts, download albums and playlists to listen to offline, select specific tracks to listen to, and skip as much as you'd like.

    • New to Spotify Premium? You can get up to three months' free Spotify Premium Individual when you sign up via PayPal's website, until Friday 15 September (you'll need a PayPal account if signing up this way).

    • Try free for a month: If you're new to Spotify, you can try premium for a month free of charge. After this, you'll pay £10.99 a month.

    Whether you sign up through Spotify or PayPal, you can cancel at any time, but you'll have access to Spotify Premium until the end of the offer period. If you know you don't want to keep it beyond that, cancel straightaway or make a note to do so (you'll be told what date billing will start when you sign up), because if you forget, you'll automatically be charged full price for the following month's use.

    The other Spotify Premium plans (Duo, Family and Student) currently offer newbies one month free – see our table below for a side-by-side comparison.

    I'm an existing/former Spotify Premium user – is there a way to get the three months free offer? While info on how to take advantage of promos like this even if you're not a new user is widely available, the T&Cs state that to be eligible "you must be a new subscriber to any and all forms of Spotify Premium" and that "Spotify reserves the right to modify, suspend or terminate a promotional offer at any time". So if you sign up despite not being a newbie, the free period could be cancelled.

    Don't forget Spotify's competitors...

    • Never used Apple Music? You can get three months' Apple Music for free until Monday 21 August when you sign up via an iPhone, iPad or Mac. Remember to cancel if you don't want to be charged £10.99 a month once the free period is over
    • Never used Amazon Music Unlimited? You can get 30 days for free (for some it's more), but remember to cancel if you don't want to be charged £10.99 a month (£8.99 a month if you're a Prime member) once the free trial is over.
  3. Spotify Free not right for you? We've the Premium prices – plus why you should never pay for more than one plan per household

    Spotify's free version may not be right for everyone due to its limitations we told you about above, so many people pay for a Spotify Premium plan. As you're not allowed to share logins (more on sharing rules below), which of the plans you plump for comes down to how many people in your household will want to listen to their own Spotify.

    If you live on your own, the choice is simple. If there are more of you, it's almost NEVER worth paying for more than one Spotify Premium subscription. The Premium Duo and Premium Family plans are designed to be shared with one or more people living at the same address, and each login comes with the same full benefits. This means you could be better off paying for one of those plans and splitting the cost.

    Here's how the plans compare side by side:

    Spotify Premium plans

    Plan Features Price per month
    Spotify Premium Individual (for one person) Ad-free listening, listen offline, listen on-demand (unlimited skipping) £10.99 but you can get three months free (until 15 Sept if you sign up via PayPal)
    Spotify Premium Duo (for two people) Same features as Individual, but for two Premium users living at the same address (1) £14.99 but you get one month free
    Spotify Premium Family (for up to six people) Same features as Individual, but for up to six Premium users living at the same address (1) £17.99 but you get one month free
    Spotify Premium Student (for one person) Same features as Individual, but only available to current university students £5.99 but you one month free

    (1) This plan also includes a regularly updated playlist for all users.

    As you can see, two people living at the same address and splitting the cost of a Premium Duo plan could save £3.50 each a month (£42 each a year) compared with two separate Premium Individual accounts. A large household with six people living together on a Premium Family plan could save £8 each a month (£96 each a year) compared with Premium Individual plans.

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  4. Beware... Spotify rules say you can't share logins and those on a Duo/Family plan must live together

    While sharing a Spotify Premium login to save money may seem tempting, it's against Spotify's rules, which state you mustn't "provide your password to any other person or use any other person's username or password". To prevent this, Spotify makes it so you can't play music using the same login on more than one device at the same time.

    It may also cross your mind that you can save by splitting a Premium Duo or Premium Family plan with someone who lives elsewhere, but Spotify's terms say "the primary account holder and subsidiary account holders... must reside at the same address" and that you will be asked to verify your home address upon activation of either plan, and again "from time to time". If it finds you're not eligible, it can terminate your access.

  5. Spotify isn't the be-all and end-all – check if alternatives are cheaper

    While it's the biggest name around when it comes to streaming music and podcasts, Spotify is far from the only option available, so don't automatically plump for it. Other services may be cheaper, or you may want to ramp up your MoneySaving game by taking advantage of the various free trials and other promotions on offer.

    Below is a quick rundown of how the main services compare, but bear in mind that we've mainly compared them by price – if you're really into your music, you may want to take other factors into account when choosing, such as sound quality, special features and, of course, what artists and albums you can stream. For full info, see our Free music online guide.

    Spotify alternatives

    Service Price + free period if offered (1) What it includes
    Amazon Music Prime* £8.99/month as part of Amazon Prime, so if you already have Prime it's 'free' (30 days free) 100 million songs, thousands of playlists, listen offline
    Amazon Music Unlimited*

    Not included with Amazon Prime

    Individual: £10.99/month, £8.99/month for Prime members (30 days free)
    Family: £16.99/month (30 days free) Student: £5.99/month (30 days free) Single device (Echo or Fire TV only): £4.99/month (30 days free)

    100 million songs, on-demand listening, unlimited skips, listen offline
    Apple Music Individual: £10.99/month (one month free)
    Family: £16.99/month (one month free)
    Student: £5.99/month (one month free)
    Voice (works via Siri only): £4.99/month (one month free)
    Over 100 million songs, listen offline, exclusive playlists and live radio
    Deezer Free (with ads, online only, shuffle only)
    Premium: £11.99/month (one month free) or £107.91/year (equivalent to £8.99/month)
    Family: £17.99/month (one month free)
    Student: £5.99/month (one month free)
    Over 90 million songs (plus listen offline if you pay)
    SoundCloud Free (with ads, online only)
    Go: £5.99/month (30 days free)
    Go+: £9.99/month (30 days free)
    Over 250 million tracks (plus no ads and listen offline if you pay)
    Tidal HiFi: £10.99/month (30 days free)
    HiFi Plus: £19.99/month (30 days free)
    Over 100 million songs, over 650,000 videos, unlimited skips, listen offline
    YouTube Music Free (with ads, online only)
    Premium: £9.99/month (one month free)
    Family: £14.99/month (one month free)
    Student: £4.99/month (one month free)
    Millions of songs and videos (plus play in background while using other apps/screen off on mobile if you pay)

    (1) All free periods for newbies only.

  6. Get 12 months' Spotify Premium Individual for the price of nine via a gift card

    Here at MSE Towers, we're not great fans of gift cards as they can easily be lost or forgotten about, plus there's the risk of the issuer going belly up, leaving you out of pocket – for more on this, see our Gift cards and vouchers guide. So bear this in mind when deciding whether to try this next tip, though get it right and you may be able to save on your Spotify Premium subscription.

    Sometimes you can find Spotify Premium gift cards that will help you cut the cost of your subscription. There's no guarantee of availability or how much you'll save, but when we looked on Tuesday 1 August we found Amazon* and PayPal were offering a gift card that gives you 12 months' Premium Individual for £99. It's listed as "for the price of 10 [months]", but with recent price hikes, it's more like nine months. Twelve months would usually set you back £131.88, so you'd save £32.88 a year (£2.74 a month).

    While this isn't as good as the three months free offer currently available via Paypal, this is a deal existing and former users can take advantage of.

    Spotify Premium gift cards are available from a wide variety of other retailers, such as Asda, Currys and Tesco, so keep an eye out for any that will help you cut the cost of your subscription. If you buy one, use it immediately to minimise any risk. (Note: Spotify gift cards can only be used to get Premium Individual, not Premium Duo, Premium Family or Premium Student).

  7. Stream on your mobile? You can change the settings so you use less data (but sound quality may be poorer)

    If you stream music or podcasts while out and about using mobile data, it can make a dent in your monthly data allowance. While streaming audio doesn't use anywhere near as much data as streaming video – Spotify uses about 40MB/hour, while Netflix uses around 1GB/hour – if you listen for a long time or have a small allowance it could easily take you over your limit, meaning you may get a shock when you get your bill.

    You can avoid this by changing the settings to limit how much data Spotify uses, although this means the sound quality might not be as good. When we tried it out on a smartphone using bog-standard headphones, the difference wasn't too noticeable, so while this might not be a tip for audiophiles, it should work OK for most. (Note: You can't do this on the Spotify web player).

    • To do this on the Spotify desktop app... click on the profile button at the top, then 'Settings'. Under 'Audio Quality' you'll see that 'Streaming quality' is set to 'Automatic', giving you the best quality for the internet connection you've got at the time. You can change this to 'Normal' or 'Low' to limit data use (or crank it up to 'High' or 'Very high' if you want the best quality possible).

    • To do this on the Spotify mobile app... tap the 'cog' icon in the top right corner to go to 'Settings' and switch the 'Data Saver' button to on – this means audio will only stream in low quality when you're listening via mobile data, and that 'artists' canvases' (visuals that play alongside some tracks) are disabled. By scrolling down to the 'Audio quality' section, you can also crank it up to 'High' or 'Very High' for streaming by mobile data and/or Wi-Fi if you prefer.
  8. Download albums, playlists and podcasts in advance to avoid denting your data allowance when off Wi-Fi

    If you subscribe to Spotify Premium and want to minimise the amount of mobile data it uses – or want to be able to listen when you're offline – you can download albums, playlists and podcasts to your device while connected to Wi-Fi. (With Spotify Free you can only download podcasts).

    • To do this on a desktop or laptop computer, open the Spotify app, find the album, playlist or podcast you want to download and simply click on the downwards arrow icon next to the play button – the arrow will turn green to indicate an album, playlist or podcast has been downloaded. To delete a download, click on the downwards arrow icon again.

    • To do this on a smartphone or tablet, open the Spotify app, find the album, playlist or podcast you want to download and simply tap the 'Download' switch if it's an album or playlist, or tap the downwards arrow icon on the right if it's a podcast. For albums and playlists, the download switch will turn green to indicate they've been downloaded, and for podcasts the downwards arrow icon will turn green. To delete a download, tap the switch or icon again.

    You can download up to 10,000 tracks on up to five different devices (so 50,000 in total – roughly 3,000 albums) and they'll remain on there indefinitely provided you use Spotify at least once every 30 days and don't reinstall the app.

    What you can download will also depend on how much storage space you've got on your device – each track takes up between 3MB and 10MB depending on the quality you download them in (so 150MB–500MB for a 50-track playlist), but Spotify recommends having at least 1GB free. For help with making space on your device, check out our Increase phone storage guide.

  9. Get Spotify Premium for 'free' with a mobile phone contract – but check it's the best deal for you

    Mobile phone contracts that include 'free' Spotify Premium subscriptions – ie, you pay a monthly bill and Spotify Premium is thrown in with it – come around every so often, so are worth looking out for if you're considering switching mobile contract and you want to subscribe to Spotify Premium (or already do).

    As we always say with these sort of deals, the 'freebie' is only worth it if you were going to choose that particular deal in the first place. We won't be able to keep this point updated all the time, but when we checked on Tuesday 1 August, Vodafone was offering subscriptions to Spotify Premium (or Amazon Prime or YouTube Premium) for 'free' when you sign up to a Vodafone Entertainment* plan.

    Make sure you check out what you'll get and what you'll pay over the course of any mobile contract to find the right one for you. For example, Vodafone's plans that include Spotify Premium offer a 5GB, 20GB, 150GB, 200GB, 250GB or unlimited monthly data allowance, yet most people use less than 3GB a month, so you could find yourself paying for a lot more data than you need, cancelling out the saving on Spotify. 

    Use our free Cheap Mobile Finder tool to compare 1,000s of mobile phone deals and find the one that best suits you.

  10. Student? Get Spotify for £5.99 a month (and the first month for free)

    If you're studying at university, you can take advantage of Spotify Premium Student, which costs £5.99 a month, with the first month being free. Not taking free periods into account, this will save you £5 a month or £60 a year on subscribing to Spotify Premium Individual.

    To qualify, you must be a student at an "accredited higher education institution" (if you're not sure whether you are, you can check via Gov.uk) and you'll be asked for the name of your uni or college and/or "other documents" as well as the usual info when you sign up.

    Note: A Spotify Premium Student subscription will initially last for 12 months. Students can then use it for another three 12-month periods (so four years altogether), but you may be asked to reverify that you're a student. When your four years are up, you'll automatically be switched to Spotify Premium Individual, so make a note to cancel if you don't want to pay full-price once you've graduated. 

  11. Look out for whether you can claim a 'free' or discounted £49 Google Nest Mini via Spotify Premium

    In the past, Spotify has offered a free or discounted Google Nest Mini voice-activated smart speaker, normally worth £49, to new and existing Spotify Premium subscribers. The last time it did this in September 2020, the MSE Deals team discovered you could subscribe just to claim the Google Nest Mini, then immediately cancel, paying for just one month's membership.

    While this offer isn't currently on, it's well worth keeping an eye out for, whether you already subscribe to Spotify Premium or are thinking about doing so. The best way to find out if Spotify offers it again is to sign up to MSE's free weekly Money Tips email, which has the latest deals, and to check our Spotify Deals page. 

  12. Download the free Spotify app to get a couple of important extra features

    You can listen to Spotify via web browser on your computer, tablet or smartphone. However, the free Spotify app, which you can download for Windows, Mac, Chromebook and Linux computers, plus Apple* and Android tablets and smartphones, has a couple of important extra features. (Note: Spotify Free has the same limitations on mobile via the app as it does via browser).

    Using Spotify via the app allows you to download albums, playlists and podcasts to listen to offline (just podcasts if using Spotify Free) and to limit how much mobile data Spotify uses (with Spotify Free and Premium), which you can't do on the web player.

    The app is also available on PlayStation and Xbox video game consoles and a range of smart TVs, TV streaming devices, wireless smart speakers and smartwatches, plus car/smartphone 'audio interface systems' such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. For full info, go to the Spotify Everywhere website.

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