Spotify is rolling out pricing for customers all over the world, leaving many customers (including me) wondering if there is a better alternative.
In the US, Spotify’s family plans jump from $ 1 per month to $ 15.99, while in the UK that same price drops from £ 14.99 to £ 16.99 per month. Various other price increases for the Student and Duo plans will be implemented in the UK and Europe.
Rival Deezer is clearly trying to capitalize on customer dissatisfaction. Its chief commercial officer issued a stinging statement shortly after Spotify’s price hikes were announced, claiming that “Deezer will not raise prices amid the pandemic” and that if “we were to ever raise prices, we would give our users a three month warning to make sure it’s not a surprise ”. Shots were fired.
With Deezer’s prices matching pre-Spotify’s pre-price hike levels ($ 9.99 for premium, $ 14.99 for a family account), many customers might be tempted to try it out, especially those who have family packages.
I tested Deezer alongside Spotify over the last month to see how the two services stack up and if it’s worth saving.
Music and podcast library
As for the music offered by both services, both have a huge library of over 70 million songs, with all major labels registered with both.
Spotify has the advantage when it comes to exclusive performance, which slightly fills its library. However, there isn’t much in between. When I transferred all of my Spotify playlists (containing over 10,000 songs) to Deezer, less than 50 tracks were unavailable.
However, Spotify definitely has the upper hand when it comes to the breadth of its podcast library. Not only is Spotify producing more and more of its own podcasts, but almost any podcast you can think of will be submitted to Spotify as well. That’s not necessarily the case for Deezer, where here in the UK I’ve noticed that several of my favorite shows aren’t available.
It’s not really a fatal blow, as you can grab most podcasts from third-party podcast apps, but it’s a clear win for Spotify.
However, Deezer returns with something Spotify doesn’t have at all: live radio streaming. Here in the UK that includes most mainstream stations (BBC, Capital, TalkSport, Virgin, Magic, etc.) as well as many other niche broadcasters.
Overall, then, when it comes to the breadth of audio content, this is a narrow victory for Deezer.
One of the reasons you might be reluctant to quit Spotify for a few dollars a month is the strength of its musical discovery. Spotify is brilliant at creating those automated playlists filled with songs from artists you love.
One of the main strengths of the service is the Daily Mix playlists, for example, in which Spotify brings you a new automated selection of six different playlists in different genres. Discover Weekly is great for unearthing new content, while Release Radar lets you keep track of new tracks and albums from your favorite artists.
Deezer has many of the same features, however. “ Flow ” is an endless mix of favorite tracks and new tracks based on your listening history, and it also does daily mixes, though they’re smaller in number and less well-defined than Spotify’s. .
If I have one major criticism of Spotify, it’s that the automated music it offers is very similar, with lots of track repeats. Deezer, on the other hand, exposed me to a lot of cool artists. It was a breath of fresh air for a change.
Deezer’s standard audio quality for paid subscribers is 320kbps MP3 (although this can drop to 128kbps if you’re streaming to a mobile device and have chosen to record data).
Deezer offers a more expensive ‘HiFi’ tier, which offers CD-quality lossless 16-bit FLAC streams delivered at 1411 Kbps, but that will still set you back $ 5 (or £ 5) per month. Deezer also offers a fine selection of albums in “360 Reality Audio,” which aims to provide immersive surround sound for headphone support, but is hit and miss in my experience.
Spotify has yet to release its high-quality streams, with the service reaching a maximum of 320kbps AAC files for now, with lower bitrates available for those who wish to record data.
So, unless you’re willing to pay 50% more for Deezer’s HiFi package, there’s not much to choose between the two. Additionally, Apple Music and Amazon’s recent decision to upgrade paid subscribers to lossless audio for free has put pressure on Spotify and Deezer to follow suit. Will they come full circle?
App features and smart speakers
Spotify makes frequent changes to its apps, but it looks like the mobile app could get a complete overhaul. Spotify doesn’t seem to know what to do with podcasts, now grouping them together in “ Your Library ” and using a filtering system to find your subscribed shows, which is inconvenient at best. The search is quite fast and if you are proficient in advanced search terms it can unlock hidden gems in the music library.
Deezer apps are more cleanly designed in my opinion, with separate sections for music, podcasts, and saved favorites, which are easier to navigate. One feature I really like about Deezer’s search is the ability to search by sound, so if you hear a song playing in a bar or on TV, you can discover it and instantly add it to your favorites. or playlists.
Spotify has the upper hand when it comes to third-party integrations and smart speakers. If you have hardware that can access streaming services, it will almost certainly support Spotify – the same can’t be said for Deezer.
That said, Deezer is supported on Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, although there are gaps here. For example, on Amazon Echo devices, you can ask Deezer to play specific songs, albums, or artists, but you can’t ask Deezer to play your saved playlists, which is a big lack.
However, one thing I love about Deezer is that – unlike Spotify – someone at my house can ask them to start playing songs on a smart speaker and it doesn’t immediately mute the music on my phone, though. I’m not at home. .
Should you change?
The truth is, there isn’t much of a difference between Spotify and Deezer. I’ve been using Deezer as my primary music service for about a month now, and haven’t missed Spotify at all.
Yes, you might decide that the slight price difference isn’t worth changing, and it will be interesting to see how Spotify prices its lossless streams, but small price increases are lethal by a thousand cuts.
If you decide to cut your bills, Deezer won’t let you down.