Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dear Spotify, Please Give Us Premium Users 320K Quality

An Updated version of this article is here: Spotify Bitrategate, The Story So Far

Spotify introduced 320K streaming back in June 2009. Since then, no official statement on the conversion progress has been made. The closest I can find is on their support forum, GetSatisfaction, Spotify employee Andres said about 60% of their music were available in 320k. That was from one year ago.

So, as a premium user, what would you expect now? 80%, 90% or all Spotify music is available in 320K streaming?

I did a simple test: After restarting my Macbook, I use a freeware, MagicanPaster Lite to monitor the internet traffic. I save a track to offline playlist, and the downloaded data shows the file size of this track. Below is the reslut:

New singles, from Spotify's official playlist: New Singles on Spotify

1, Bombay Bicycle Club – Shuffle 7.16 MB, 160K
2, The Saturdays – Notorious - Chuckie Remix Radio Edit 4.13 MB, 160K
3, Rastamouse – Hot Hot Hot! (Single Version)  8.74 MB, 320K
4, The Japanese Popstars – Joshua (Radio Edit)  3.97 MB, 160K
5, Natisse – Fly Me Back To Heaven (Original Radio Edit) 3.75 MB, 160K

New albums, from Spotify's official playlist: New Album Releases on Spotify

1, Beyoncé – 1+1 5.36 MB, 160K
2, Biffy Clyro – The Captain - Live At Wembley 5.06 MB, 160K
3, Foster The People – Helena Beat 5.24 MB, 160K
4, Kaiser Chiefs – Little Shocks 4.34 MB, 160K
5, Limp Bizkit – Introbra 5.93 MB, 320K

Random, from Spotibot's random album of the day:

1, Sylvie Bodorová – I. Allegretto giocoso (Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano) 3.05MB, 160K
2, Homero Prado – Morena Morenita 2.64 MB, 160K
3, Memin – Que Tu Te Vas 6.70 MB, 160K
4, Life After Life – Harrahya 5.49 MB, 160K
5, Giddy Motors – Magmanic 5.39 MB, 160K

Top singles, from the Top Lists in Spotify's What's New page (location: everywhere)

1, Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer – Give Me Everything 11.51 MB, 320K
2, LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem 5.84 MB, 160K
3, David Guetta – Where Them Girls At (feat. Nicki Minaj & Flo Rida) 4.21 MB, 160K
4, Jennifer Lopez – On The Floor - Radio Edit 10.54 MB, 320K
5, Swedish House Mafia – Save The World (Radio Mix) 4.35 MB, 160K

Top albums, from the Top Lists in Spotify's What's New page (location: everywhere)

1, Veronica Maggio – Satan i gatan 7.96 MB, 320K
2, Bruno Mars – Grenade 8.81 MB, 320K
3, Rihanna – S&M 5.24 MB, 160K
4, Katy Perry – Teenage Dream 4.73 MB, 160K
5, Pitbull Featuring Vein – Mr. Worldwide (Intro) 3.83 MB, 320K

Classical music: randomly picked by me.

1, Sergio Azzolini – Concerto RV481 in D minor - Allegro 4.39 MB, 160K
2, Hugh Maguire – Don Quixote, Op. 35, TrV 184 : Introduction 5.21 MB, 160K
3, Sir Colin Davis – Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 - 4. Marche au supplice (Allegretto non troppo)  8.40 MB, 160K
4, Itzhak Perlman;Erich Leinsdorf – Violin Concerto, Op. 35 in D: Canzonetta:  Andante 13.18 MB, 320K
5, Alliage Quintett – Overture (from "Ruslan and Ludmilla") 10.92 MB 320K
6, Thomas Fey – Sinfonia in D major, Hob.Ia:7 (alternative Finale of Symphony No. 53) 4.46 MB, 160K
7, Robert Tear – Parry: Bright Star 3.24 MB, 160K
8, Liza Ferschtman – Violin Concerto in F sharp minor: III. Allegro capriccioso 5.38 MB, 160K
9, Ildebrando d' Arcangelo – Mozart: Così fan tutte, K.588 / Act 2 - "Donne mie, la fate a tanti" 3.90 MB, 160K
10, Amy Schwartz Moretti – Jules Massenet: Meditation from "Thais" 6.14 MB, 160K

All tested tracks are in this playlist: 320K Test.

For the non-classical stuff, only 7 out of 25 tracks are in 320K. And other than the random tracks, which is all in 160K, all other songs are selected from their newest/hottest catalog.

For classical music, it seems that only the Sony catalog is available in 320K.

If you are a premium user and also angry about this, please do something to persuade Spotify to speed up the long overdue conversion to 320K streaming. Please ask questions on GetSatisfaction, Twitter, Facebook, Quora or contact their customer services, let's hope our effort would make Spotify more transparent to users. Thanks.

I made a collaborative playlist: Classical Music available in 320 kbps. If an album sounds like 320K to you, just add it in and I'll listen and/or test. Thanks.


An updated version of this article will be published soon. Stay tuned.


  1. Just tested the new Premium exclusive album that Spotify promoted on their blog and Facebook: last track from CD 1, Full Moon Party, length, 3:11, file size: 3.95 MB. 160 kbps.

  2. Checked another 4 tracks from this official playlist: Spotify Premium pre-releases

    Dionne Bromfield – Yeah Right 4.94 MB, 160K
    Alice Gold – Runaway Love 4.00 MB, 160K
    Yuksek – Always On The Run 4.31 MB, 160K
    The Kenneth Bager Experience feat. Jazzbox, Cecilie & Frederikke – Naked Music 6.05 MB, 160K

  3. I just signed up on the first day of Spotify availability in the USA. The sound quality is good, but this is cause for concern. 320k was my primary reason for going Premium over Unlimited. Thanks for the work, good sir.


  4. Damn! I signed up to Premium for the better sound quality and after hitting the sound upgrade button I could not hear any difference between free and premium. I tried different tracks and kept switching between 160 and 320 but nope, not once could I tell any difference. Obviously the tracks were only being streamed in 160k! Just aswell I quickly cancelled.

  5. Hi roastedchestnuts,

    I have to post it here because Spotify's social function still doesn't work in Mac OS X Lion, I tried to send you a track in Spotify Android but it cannot be attached with a message.

    I saw you added hundreds of tracks into this "Classical Music available in 320 kbps" playlist a moment ago (I set this playlist as "Available offline", so I noticed it suddenly started to download many tracks). I tested two of them, one Yo-Yo Ma album and one Beethoven Triple Concerto from DG, they are not in 320 kbps. It seems that you added all those tracks without testing them yourself. Unfortunately I don't have time to test all of them, so I removed them from this playlist. Sorry for any inconvenience.

    Please add only one album at a time, unless you are sure the albums you add are all in 320 kbps (in that case please leave me a note). Thanks.

  6. Please test Cascada's new album Original Me, 320?

  7. And of course this is really annoying that most of songs are in 160...

  8. @Jyri, the album you mentioned is not available in my UK account, I have explained my testing method, you can test it by yourself if you want, or trust your ears:)

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  17. As a premium user of Spotify, it's understandable to expect a higher percentage of music available in 320K streaming quality over time. However, since there hasn't been an official statement on the conversion progress from Spotify, it's difficult to determine the exact percentage. Based on the information you provided, the closest estimate we have is from a Spotify employee on the GetSatisfaction forum, who mentioned that about 60% of their music was available in 320K a year ago.

    It's worth noting that the test you conducted by monitoring the file sizes of downloaded tracks may not provide a comprehensive representation of the overall availability of 320K streaming. The sample tracks you listed show a mix of 160K and 320K, indicating that the quality varies across different songs.

    To have a clearer understanding of the current status, it would be best to reach out to Spotify directly or keep an eye out for any official announcements they may make regarding the progress of music conversion to 320K streaming. You can read more article

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