Online music streaming has changed the way we consume and listen to our favorite songs. The accessibility of music has completely revolutionized the record industry. And given the average consumer a world of choice they could previously only dream of.
Since its launch in 2008, Spotify has become the undisputed champ in this arena. Now boasting over 350 million active monthly users, including 158 million paid-up subscribers. Only Apple Music has truly risen to challenge its domination in recent years.
Au contraire mon frere…
Despite being around as long as Spotify, the French company Deezer got off to a much slower start. Only bringing its service to the US market in 2016. They currently have an active user base of 14 million worldwide, with just over half that number paying a monthly subscription.
Those numbers would suggest that Spotify is the far better service of the two. But is that true? We thought we’d take a closer look at exactly what both companies have to offer.
So it’s Spotify vs Deezer in a head-to-head comparison. What are the pros and cons of Spotify and Deezer? And which is the better choice for the average consumer? Let’s find out.
When it comes to music, both Spotify and Deezer claim to have over 50 million songs available to their users, with thousands more added every day. That’s a ridiculously large amount of choice in anyone’s book.
Yes, a sizeable portion of these are cover versions and remixes. But rest assured that whatever you’re looking for can be found on either platform in the vast majority of cases.
The occasional artist will be missing if they’ve signed exclusivity deals elsewhere. But they are few and far between, and their content usually becomes more widely available after a time anyway.
Whether the music is new or old…
Famed or obscure, these giant music depositories can bring it forth with just a few keystrokes. So, in terms of their respective music libraries, there isn’t much to choose between them.
However, these days the streaming giants don’t just concentrate on music. Podcasts have now become part of their business models and in this department. Spotify undoubtedly offers more comprehensive coverage.
Whilst Deezer has a respectable enough podcast library, Spotify is miles ahead of its competitors in this area. They’ve invested large sums to attain this market dominance. Purchasing the podcast producing companies, Gimlet Media and The Ringer in recent years.
Add to this exclusivity deals…
With some of the biggest podcasts in the world and it’s pretty clear to see who’s winning this battle. Recent mega-deals with the likes of The Joe Rogan Experience, The Michelle Obama Podcast, and Prince Harry/Meghan Markle spell out Spotify’s intentions to dominate in this area.
Likewise, Deezer has exclusive podcasts, but nothing that compares with the lineup Spotify is steadily building. For this reason, Spotify edges it when it comes to overall content availability.
Both companies offer an unpaid version of their service, which are pretty similar in the restrictions they place on the user. When it comes to Spotify vs Deezer, the free versions are remarkably similar. But Spotify has an edge, as you will see.
On mobile devices, both free Spotify and free Deezer allow shuffled playback only. And limit the number of track skips to six per hour. Individual track searches bring up the album it’s on rather than the actual song.
Because of the forced shuffling, you’ll likely have to listen to a whole lot of music you didn’t want to hear before you get to the song you originally searched for.
Various curated playlists…
Ones that adapt to your listening habits are also available on both platforms for free users. Once again, though, you’ll be restricted to listening on shuffle mode.
However, use Free Spotify on their desktop app or web browser, and there are far fewer barriers in your way. You can search and play individual tracks without having to sift through whole albums, and you can select songs on the playlists without having to listen in shuffle mode.
Using Deezer Free on anything other than a smartphone, you’ll be restricted to 30-second snippets of each song. Needless to say, that somewhat spoils the experience.
“Free” isn’t really free…
On both platforms, if you don’t want to pay, you’ll be bombarded with ads, regardless of whether you’re on the mobile or desktop app. They are so annoying that it’s worth paying the subscription fee to get rid of the ads alone.
You’re also unable to download any music for offline playback if going free. This can have a detrimental effect on your data plan in the long run, actually costing you money.
Thanks to the fewer restrictions on their desktop app, Free Spotify is the best choice for those who refuse to pay.
Music Discovery and Playlists
With the decline in radio as a listening medium, it’s not always easy to discover music you haven’t heard before. Fortunately, this is no longer a problem, thanks to the incredibly smart algorithms music streaming companies employ to help in these matters.
Spotify’s excellent algorithm…
It’s long been one of the main reasons to choose Spotify over its competitors. They use it to generate playlists that have an uncanny ability to match music to your tastes.
One of the best is the legendary ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist. Nicely timed to arrive every Monday morning, it’s a two-hour list of songs based on your listening history and liked music.
The best thing about it is that you won’t have heard of most of the artists, allowing you to go off and explore them further. There is no better way of expanding your library with music perfectly tailored to your style.
Another notable mention…
The ‘Release Radar’ playlist. This gathers together any new material or sessions from your favorite artists for your listening pleasure every Friday.
The Spotify algorithm also creates playlists based around individual songs, artists, and whole genres, never making the choices too obvious or repetitive. Playlists based on mood, language, or even activities like working out are all available.
Deezer and most of the other main players have tried to replicate Spotify’s algorithmic approach, with varying degrees of success. While Deezer has managed it better than most, as yet, no company does it quite like Spotify.
There are also a ton of playlists to choose from on Deezer…
Like Spotify, they are based around genre, mood, era, or artist/song. The main complaint here is that they don’t generate too many surprises. It’s not that the songs are bad choices; it’s just that you’ve heard many of them before.
Likewise, Deezer makes personalized playlists based on your likes and listening history. The main list for this purpose is called “Flow.” It’s an infinite playlist that will reflect your tastes the more you use Deezer. It’s also supposed to provide new music you’ve not heard before.
Personally, it does a good job of providing song after song you want to hear, but not much in the way of new discoveries. Spotify still rules the day when it comes to music discovery and generating interesting playlists. Another one in the win column.
This is one of the reasons why Deezer is better than Spotify, according to some. For a few dollars more than their Premium subscription, you can access Deezer HiFi, which streams music via lossless FLAC format at 16-bit/1,411kbps. This is CD-quality playback.
Spotify has recently announced that they will also be rolling out a Spotify HiFi service. Although only in select regions initially, and as of yet, nothing has materialized.
To fully appreciate this increased sound quality, you’ll have to make sure you are listening over a decent pair of headphones or quality speakers. The average pair of earbuds isn’t up to the task.
Using the free versions…
Deezer will stream at a maximum of 128kbps, whilst Spotify has a slightly higher rate of 160kbps. Both Deezer and Spotify Premium accounts allow you to stream at a higher rate of 320kbps. This non-HiFi streaming offers MP3 files on Deezer and AAC files on Spotify.
Further adjustments can be made on both platforms via EQ settings. These go beyond presets and allow for full customization of the frequency bands. Thanks to their fully rolled out HiFi FLAC service, Deezer wins this one.
User Interface and Experience
Once again, Spotify has set the standard for the kind of slick and intuitive interface that’s the blueprint for other companies to follow. As a result, there isn’t too much of a difference between the usability of both platforms.
Both have user-friendly interfaces that are very easy to navigate. You very rarely have to expend any real effort to locate what you’re searching for. On both, the libraries of downloaded material are well organized, and playlists are all found in their own section.
If you prefer a more minimalist design, then the Deezer interface will probably be more aesthetically pleasing for you. However, both work seamlessly on whatever device or desktop setup you are using, so there’s very little to choose between the two.
Winner: A Draw.
Spotify can connect with virtually every device that can be connected to the internet. Smart TVs, leading game consoles, smart speakers, tablets, laptops, cars, even Linux desktops. The list is impressive. Furthermore, using the Spotify Connect app, you can also use your smartphone to control Spotify on any other devices too.
Deezer can also connect to a wide range of compatible devices, but you are limited to a maximum of three devices at once. This probably won’t be a problem for most people. But these days, that number is shrinking as we add more and more technology to our lives.
Social Media Interaction
Your Spotify and Facebook accounts can be linked together. Allowing you to check out artists they have listened to and view and save any playlists they’ve compiled.
If using the desktop app, you can also see what your friends are listening to at that moment via a ticker-tape stream on the right of the interface. However, if you’d rather not have people ogling your listening habits, this can be turned off.
Social interactivity is also increased by the ability to make collaborative playlists with your Spotify contacts. This is a fun way of sharing music with like-minded friends.
Deezer also allows you to share…
Same as Spotify, you can share your favorite tracks/playlists and follow friends on the platform. The only problem is that it’s unlikely many of your friends will have a Deezer account. Spotify currently has around 25 times more monthly users, and until Deezer can catch up, there simply won’t be much social interaction to be done.
Spotify has a Crossfade feature that essentially mixes songs into one another. You can set the duration anywhere up to twelve seconds. If you don’t want the songs to fade into each other, but want to lose the pause between tracks, you can activate Gapless mode.
Google Maps integration is another one of the useful features on Spotify. This means that you no longer have to leave the app if you want to control playback. You can pause, play and skip tracks right there.
Deezer, on the other hand, has a Shazam-like feature called “SongCatcher.” This will tell you the name of any song and the artist that you might hear whilst out and about. From there, you can save it to your library. Both Apple Carplay and Android Auto work with both streaming platforms too.
As mentioned already, both Spotify and Deezer have a free version of their service that can currently be used indefinitely. But when you look at the price of Spotify vs Deezer, the French company can save you a few dollars.
For those that decide to upgrade to a premium account, both platforms offer individual access to their premium service for $9.99 per month. Students only have to pay $4.99 per month for the same service. A student Premium account on Spotify will also get you a basic level subscription to the TV streaming app Hulu, making this one of the best deals around.
A family Premium account on both platforms will set you back $14.99 per month. This will support up to six accounts as long as they are all registered at the same address.
More subscription options…
Spotify also offers a Duo plan for couples or roommates at $12.99 per month for two Premium accounts. If you want access to the superior sound quality of Deezer HiFi, then an individual account will cost $14.99 per month.
Deezer also allows individuals to pay a yearly subscription of $99.90 for a premium account, a saving of $20 over paying monthly. Basically, two months for free. For this reason, Deezer has the edge in the pricing department.
Need More Information about Spotify?
Our experts are here to help. So check out our comprehensive guides on YouTube Music vs Spotify, Amazon Music HD vs Spotify Premium, Spotify vs Pandora, and Apple Music vs Spotify for more useful information.
You may also need some headphones advice, so you can listen to Spotify or Deezer. Take a look at our helpful guides on What Is a Good Driver Size for Headphones, In-Ear vs. On-Ear vs. Over-Ear Headphones, Open Back vs Closed Back Headphones, How to find the right ear tips for you, and How to Keep Your Earbuds From Falling Out for more handy tips.
And don’t miss our in-depth reviews of Samsung Galaxy Buds vs. Apple AirPods, AirPods Pro vs Beats Powerbeats Pro, and Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Sony WH-1000XM3 for amazing reviews of products you can buy in 2021.
Spotify vs Deezer – The Verdict
In all honesty, Spotify and Deezer offer an extremely similar service. Both have an immense music directory and offer platforms that have a very user-friendly interface. Which one is better for you will probably come down to the issues of audio quality vs music discovery.
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If you’re willing to pay $14.99 per month and have a decent enough system to appreciate the increased quality, then a subscription to Deezer HiFi would make the most sense for you.
However, Spotify’s amazing algorithm has still yet to be beaten. Especially when it comes to personalizing your listening experience, and this is a huge feather in their cap. Fortunately, both companies offer a 30-day trial period, so you can try both and see which one does it for you.
Until next time, see you in your streams.