Spotify is the world’s most popular music streaming service. It’s got more music than anyone will ever be able to listen to in one lifetime. And the best part is that you can access all of it from anywhere with an internet connection.
An ever-growing library of tunes in the sky…
Although, you might not always have an internet connection. Luckily, it’s possible to make songs available offline using Spotify. There are various ways you can go about it, depending on whether you’re using the mobile app or the desktop version.
The only issue is that sometimes the instructions for downloading can be a bit confusing. There are also various download limitations to take note of.
That’s why I decided to take a look at how to download songs on Spotify on both the mobile app and the desktop version. Also, I’ll look at the differences between the free and premium versions of Spotify in terms of downloading content. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Can Any User Download Songs From Spotify?
Anyone with a Spotify account, whether it be Free or Premium, can stream music from Spotify anytime they like. But, downloading content is a different matter.
Spotify users with Premium accounts have the option to download content for offline listening. The options available to them range from downloading single songs to entire albums, playlists, and podcasts. Content can be downloaded to various devices.
Spotify users with Free accounts are limited to streaming anything they want. But, when it comes to downloads, only podcasts are available for offline listening.
How To Download Songs on Spotify
Streaming is nothing short of a miracle. And, it might even be included among the wonders of the world soon. That being said, your WiFi signal might not always be as close or as reliable as you would like it to be. Likewise, mobile data can be expensive and just as shoddy sometimes.
Thankfully, Spotify Premium allows users to download their favorite songs, albums, and playlists for offline listening. So, let’s take a look at how to download content from Spotify.
Using the Spotify App on iOS and Android Devices
- Start by opening the Spotify app on your device, and make sure that you are signed into your account.
- Navigate to the album, playlist, or song that you would like to download.
- When viewing the playlist or album, you can tap the downwards pointing arrow inside the circle to download the songs. The download button is located at the top right next to the like button (heart symbol).
- When viewing a podcast, the procedure is almost the same, except there is no like button, only a plus symbol. The download button is located next to that.
- You will know that your album, playlist, or podcast has been downloaded successfully when the arrow lights up green.
Using these steps, you can download only the podcasts and playlists/albums that you want on your device for offline listening. When it comes to downloading specific songs, though, you will need to work around this by first creating a new playlist.
Using the Desktop Application
- Open the Spotify application on your computer and navigate to the album or podcast that you would like to download.
- At the top of the song list, to the right of the album art, you will find four buttons. The download button is the downward pointing arrow, the third one from the left, to the right of the like (heart) button. Click on this to begin the download.
For a podcast, the procedure is almost the same. Hover your pointer over the podcast episode that you would like to download, and the download button will be displayed in the bottom right corner of the highlighted window.
You will know that the album, playlist, or podcast has been successfully downloaded when the download button turns green on the inside.
Just like when using the mobile app…
This method of downloading from Spotify allows you to download podcasts, albums, and playlists but not individual songs. You’d have to create a playlist with one song on it and download that as a workaround.
As for the Spotify Web player, there is no current way of downloading content from the Spotify web player.
Download Limits for Spotify Premium Users
If you’ve just signed up for a Premium membership to Spotify, you are probably very excited. You may be thinking about the limitless library of music you’re going to assemble on your hard drive. But, I’m afraid that, like with most things in life, it is not that simple.
Even for Premium Spotify subscribers, various limitations and restrictions apply to downloading content. So, we might as well familiarize ourselves with these before we start clicking away.
Spotify Only Compatibility
Were you planning on downloading as much content as you could for one month and then cancel your subscription with the hope of playing the music using another music app? Well, you’re out of luck. Any content downloaded from Spotify can only be played using the Spotify App.
Spotify Download Limits
It’s unlikely one person would be able to go this far, but Spotify limits each account holder to 10,000 songs per device and allows up to five devices per account.
This means you can have 50,000 unique downloads spread across five devices. The moment you start downloading content onto a sixth device, you will begin to lose songs from the first one.
Log In Requirement
To verify that a user’s subscription plan is still active, Spotify places a 30-day limit on offline availability. So, if you do not log in to your account at least once a month after you’ve downloaded content, you will lose access to it and will have to re-download everything when you regain access to the internet.
Downloads Linked To Premium Accounts
To listen to downloaded content from Spotify, you’ll need a premium account. And, if you do not renew the subscription, you will lose access to all the songs when the subscription expires.
How To Delete/Remove Songs Downloaded From Spotify
Space is always a concern. And, if you find yourself running out of it on your device, you can easily get rid of some of the content you’ve already downloaded from Spotify.
Once again, the limitation regarding individual songs applies. You can only get rid of entire playlists or albums, not individual songs. The procedure is the same, navigate to the content you wish to remove and tap or click the download button (which ought to be green since it’s offline content).
Once the downwards pointing arrow turns from green to grey, you know that the content has been successfully removed from your device.
The final option…
…to remove downloaded Spotify content from your device is to remove everything that you’ve downloaded. The “Remove All Downloads” option was put in the software for just this purpose. Here’s how to access and use it:
- Open the Spotify App.
- Tap on the gear icon located in the upper right corner.
- Scroll down to get to the Storage section.
- Tap on the “Remove All Downloads” option.
- Confirm your deletion by tapping on the green Remove button when prompted. However, remember that the “Remove All Downloads” option is not available on the desktop version of Spotify.
The Optimum Settings for Spotify Music Downloads
Spotify’s official recommendation regarding the app’s performance is to have at least 1GB of free space available at all times. This will help the Spotify app run properly by leaving enough room for the storage of temporary cache files.
These temporary files will maximize the app’s efficiency, especially on slower devices. However, when you start filling up your storage space with downloads, the app will not run as smoothly.
One of the greatest factors regarding storage will be the quality setting that you choose for your music and podcasts. There are five quality settings for Spotify content:
- Automatic: dependent on the speed of network connection.
- Low: 24 kbps.
- Normal: 96 kbps.
- High: 160 kbps.
- Very High: 320 kbps.
Spotify bit-rate quality…
The nitty gritty details are not important right now. What is important to understand is that the higher the quality setting, the more storage will be taken up by each download. For example, when using the Very High setting, the average storage use will be about 2.4MB per minute.
Most tunes nowadays will average roughly 200 seconds or about three and a half minutes. This means that you are looking at about 7.5MB to 8MB of storage space consumed per song.
The low-quality setting will produce songs that use around 0.18MB per minute, which means that per song, you’ll be using less than a megabyte of storage.
If you don’t have a lot of free space on your device…
Then using a lower quality setting will be to your benefit. However, if the loss in quality is too unbearable for your ears, it would be best to stick to streaming the songs or podcasts that you want to enjoy.
In contrast to this, you may have a poor internet connection but a lot of free storage space. In this case, I would recommend downloading the content you want in a high-quality setting and then enjoying it offline without distortion or stuttering.
If you are concerned about losing your expensive data when downloading content, remember that you can deactivate the “Download Using Cellular Data” option. This way, you will only be able to download Spotify songs when you are on WiFi.
Workarounds and Tips for Spotify Music Downloads
By now, you should have a basic understanding of how to download songs on Spotify. So, let’s take a look at some workaround and other tricks to get the most out of your Spotify downloads.
Downloading Individual Songs from Spotify
As I’ve already covered, downloading new albums or playlists is as easy as tapping that download button. But, for some reason, Spotify doesn’t allow the downloading of individual songs.
Luckily there is a great way around this. All you have to do is create a new playlist and then add the specific song that you want to download to that playlist. This is a great way to save space by not downloading the entire album, only the one or two songs that you like from it.
Automatically Download Songs that You’ve Liked on Spotify
Instead of creating a new playlist every time you want to add new content to your offline library, you can simply click on the like button to add it to your playlist of liked songs. Then you just download your “liked” playlist.
The great thing about this is that the moment you tap on the like button for a song, it will automatically be added to the liked playlist, and therefore, it will also be downloaded. This saves you from having to keep up with what’s been downloaded and what’s not.
This is a great method for those who use Spotify a lot and are constantly trying to discover new sounds. Just tap that heart icon, and you’re on to the next one.
Limiting the Spotify Cache Size
As mentioned before, cache files are copies of files that you access and play a lot. This saves time when you access the file since it’s already loaded into the RAM. Cache files are a great help, especially for those who are plagued by a slow or dodgy internet connection.
Problem is that these files will add up over time. The cache is increased every time that new content is accessed. Therefore, the more frequently you use the app, the faster the cache will grow.
Keep in mind that not only the songs that you choose to download but also the songs that you stream will get started n the cache. The reason for this is that the songs will keep playing normally should you lose internet connection for a few seconds.
Useful as these cache files are…
They can become a problem when they start adding up over time, especially if you are using a device that is already limited in storage space.
If the cache files are left unchecked, you will have no space left for new downloads. You will also begin to experience performance problems like lagging and syncing issues.
But, there is some good news though if you are using Spotify on a desktop. You can avoid the above-mentioned build-up of cache files by setting a limit on their size. Here’s how to do this.
Using a Mac device:
- If the Spotify app is open, close it completely.
- Go to the menu bar at the top of the home screen and click on “Go.” Then, select “Go To Folder” from the drop-down menu.
- In the search bar, type: “~/Library/Application Support/Spotify/prefs”
- When the window with the folder contents appears, open the file named “prefs” using TextEdit.
- When the document opens, look for the command line that looks something like “storage.size=”.
- This command line is where the cache file gets set; make sure you assign a specific value in megabytes. For example, if you want the cache to be limited to 450 megabytes, then you need to edit the command line to look like this: “storage.size=450”.
- Once you have made the alternation, save the file and close the text editor. After restarting the Spotify app, you will notice that the cache file has been changed to the specified size.
Using a Windows device:
- Start by closing the Spotify app if it’s open.
- Open the file explorer by opening any folder or using the keyboard shortcut “⊞ + E.”
- Click inside the address bar and type in: “%localappdata%\Packages\SpotifyAB.SpotifyMusic_xxxxxxxxxxxxx\LocalState\Spotify” and press enter.
- Once the Spotify folder has opened, right-click on the file named “prefs” and select “open with” then “notepad.”
- After the file has been opened in the text editor, look for the command line that reads “storage.size=”. If you have trouble finding it, you can use “Ctrl + F” to open the find function.
- Once you’ve found the command line, you need to edit it to the specific site. Remember that you need to assign a cache size in megabytes. So, if you want the cache size to be limited to 350MB, then it needs to look like “storage.size=350”.
- Lastly, save the file and then re-open Spotify. You will see that the maximum cache size has been changed to the specified value.
Unfortunately, there is no method of limiting the cache size for the mobile version of Spotify. There has been a lot of chatter about it on forums, and no doubt the developers at Spotify are hard at work to fix this with a future update.
Want to Learn More About Spotify?
Well, then take a look at our hand articles on How to Change Spotify Username, Spotify Web Player, Free Spotify vs Spotify Premium, YouTube Music vs Spotify, and Apple Music vs Spotify for more useful information.
Of course, you need to listen to Spotify. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones For Rock & Metal Music, the Best Headphones for Music, the Most Comfortable Headphones, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, and the Best Bass Earbuds you can buy in 2023.
How to Download Songs on Spotify – Final Thoughts
There you have it. All the ins and outs of downloading content from Spotify. Hopefully, this article has not only given you some new info but has helped you get your offline library started or get more out of it.
Until next time, happy listening.