Spotify moneysaving

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. But with Spotify hiking some prices by up to £24/year, we've a bunch of ways to cut costs, including getting up to three months' Spotify Premium free, why you should never pay for more than one plan per household and seeing if you can save with gift cards.

This is the first incarnation of this guide, and we'd love to hear what you think of it and what we could do to improve it. If you've got feedback or have a tip you think we should add, let us know in the Spotify MoneySaving Tips forum thread or via the MSE Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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How to cut the cost of Spotify

  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.

    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.

    While with Spotify Free you can listen to all the music and podcasts you can with Spotify Premium, 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. Ends soon. New or ex-users can get up to three months' free Spotify Premium

    Spotify Premium is Spotify's paid-for subscription service, which has 158 million users worldwide. Unlike Spotify Free, it allows you to listen without interruption from adverts, download albums and playlists to listen to offline and listen on demand, ie, select specific tracks to listen to and skip as much as you want.

    It usually costs from £9.99/month to subscribe, but currently newbies can get three months' free Spotify Premium Individual – and if you previously subscribed to it you might be able to as well. In both cases, the offer ends on Tuesday 22 June, so go quick if you want to take advantage. Here's how to get it:

    • New to Spotify Premium? You can get up to three months' free Spotify Premium Individual when you sign up. You have to enter debit card, credit card or PayPal details to get the free period, and you'll automatically be charged when it ends if you don't cancel.

    • Used to subscribe to Spotify Premium? You could get three months' free Spotify Premium Individual if you go back. To qualify, you must have cancelled your previous subscription on or before 26 April 2021. Resubscribe via Spotify's website.

    Whether you're new to Spotify Premium or returning to it, you can cancel at any time, but you'll have access to Spotify Premium until the end of the free three months. 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 for the following month's use.

    The other Spotify Premium plans offer newbies one month free – see our table below for a side-by-side comparison.

  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) £9.99 but you get three months free till Tue 22 Jun
    Spotify Premium Duo (for two people) Same features as Individual, but for two Premium users living at the same address (1) £13.99 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) £16.99 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 get 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 Duo plan could save £2.99/mth (£36/yr) compared with two separate Individual accounts. A large household with six people living together on a Family plan could each save £7.15/mth (£86/yr) compared with Individual plans.

  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* £7.99/mth as part of Prime membership, so if you already have Prime it's 'free' (30-day free trial) Two million songs, thousands of playlists, listen offline
    Amazon Music Unlimited*

    Not included with Amazon Prime


    Individual: £9.99/mth, £7.99/mth for Prime members (three months free)
    Family: £14.99/mth (four months free – ends Tue 22 Jun)

    70 million songs, on-demand listening, unlimited skips, listen offline
    Apple Music Individual: £9.99/mth (three months free)
    Family: £14.99/mth (three months free)
    Over 75 million songs, listen offline, exclusive playlists and live radio
    Deezer Free (with ads, online only, shuffle only)
    Individual: £9.99/mth (three months free)
    Family: £14.99/mth (three months free)
    73 million songs (plus listen offline if you pay)
    SoundCloud Free (with ads, online only)
    Go: £5.99/mth (seven-day free trial)
    Go+: £9.99/mth (30-day free trial)
    Over 150 million tracks (plus no ads and listen offline if you pay)
    Tidal £9.99/mth (30-day free trial) Over 70 million songs, over 250,000 videos, unlimited skips, listen offline
    YouTube Music Free (with ads, online only)
    Individual: £9.99/mth (one month free)
    Family: £14.99/mth (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 10 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 & 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 15 June we found Amazon* and PayPal were offering a gift card that gives you 12 months' Premium Individual for the price of 10 – £99. Twelve months would usually set you back £119.88, so you'd save £20.88/yr (£1.74/mth).

    While this isn't as good as the three months free currently available to Spotify Premium newbies, this is an offer existing and former subscribers can take advantage of (though until Tuesday 22 June, former subscribers may also be able to get three months free).

    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 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 15 June, Vodafone was offering a 12-month or 24-month subscription to Spotify Premium (or Amazon Prime or YouTube Premium) for 'free' when you sign up to a Vodafone Entertainment* plan.

    It's important to 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, 100GB 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/mth (and the first month's free)

    If you're studying at university, you can take advantage of Spotify Premium Student, which costs £5.99/mth, with the first month being free. Not taking free periods into account, this will save you £4/mth or £48/yr on subscribing to Spotify Premium Individual. (Including the current free periods for both plans, you'll save £24 in the first year, or £2/mth.)

    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 your uni or college name "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 Spotify 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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