Spotify vs Deezer: Can David take on Goliath?

Spotify vs Deezer featured image

Spotify is the biggest premium music streaming service in the world with over 130 million paid users. Deezer is quite a bit smaller with its subscriber base of less than 10 million. But is Spotify really that much better than its rival or is this a story similar to that of David and Goliath, in which the underdog wins the fight in the end?

That’s what we’re about to find out. We’ll take a look at all the differences between the two streaming services to figure out which one comes out on top in the Spotify vs Deezer battle. Let’s dive in.

Spotify vs Deezer: Content

Deezer music 1

Both Deezer and Spotify have a library of over 50 million songs. I didn’t notice a big difference between the two since all of my favorite artists and songs are available on both platforms. These include world-famous musicians as well as smaller bands and DJs.

But music isn’t the only content the two services have on offer. Both also feature podcasts, which is where I saw a difference between the services. Deezer has a decent selection of podcasts, but Spotify is a step ahead of its rival. A lot of the podcasts I listen to are available on Spotify but not on Deezer.

The Joe Rogan Experience podcast will soon be exclusively available on Spotify.

Spotify is investing more money in the sector. It recently struck a deal with Joe Rogan that will bring his popular podcast called The Joe Rogan Experience exclusively to Spotify. It’s a brilliant move by the Swedish streaming giant considering the popularity of Rogan’s podcast. His audience will have no choice but to follow him to Spotify if they want to continue to listen to him.

Both services also have several videos on their platforms, although they aren’t front and center like with YouTube Music or Tidal. There are no dedicated video sections available, but you do come across video content when searching for artists and songs.

If all you care about is music, you’ll be happy with either of the two services. Both have a big selection of songs and artists available. But if you enjoy listening to podcasts and don’t want a separate app for it, Spotify has the advantage here. Deezer is also investing heavily in trying to bring as many podcasts to its platform as possible, but it’s just a little behind Spotify at the moment.

Spotify vs Deezer: Music discovery

Spotify menu on a smartphone on a bed of rocks

Both streaming services are great for music discovery. Spotify has the popular Discover Weekly playlist containing songs from artists and genres you usually listen to. You get a new one every Monday with 30 tracks. The service also creates up to six daily mixes for you based on your listening habits. Additionally, there’s also a Release Radar playlist with songs from new releases the service thinks you’ll like.

Deezer’s offering is even better in my opinion. The service has what it calls Flow, which is an infinite mix of new and your favorite tracks. There’s also a Discovery playlist that’s updated every Monday and is full of songs you haven’t listened to yet on Deezer. Then there’s the New Releases playlist that contain new tracks from the artists you love, and the Chill playlist with songs to listen to while chilling over weekends. What’s more, Deezer also creates a few mixes for you based on your listening habits with both new and known songs.

Read next: Why I’m an avid Spotify user despite dubious audio quality

Both services also allow you to browse music by genres and moods. There are a lot of playlists available, and although it’s hard to figure out which one has more of them, I’d say that Spotify has a slight advantage here. However, quantity isn’t everything. When you tap on a genre on Spotify (example: pop), all you see is a list of playlists. When you do the same on Deezer, the app also shows you the latest albums released, the most popular pop artists, and even the most popular songs by well-known artists from the genre.

Overall, I prefer Deezer’s music discovery features to those of Spotify. But in all honesty, the difference isn’t massive. Spotify still gets the job done brilliantly, so I think you’ll be happy with either one.

Spotify vs Deezer: Audio quality

Deezer Android app

This is where Deezer has Spotify beat, but only if you’re prepared to pay a premium. On the regular plan offered by both companies, streaming tops out at 320kbps. Both also have the option of decreasing the quality to save data.

But unlike Spotify, Deezer also offers a HiFi plan that gives you access to high-quality FLAC audio files with a bitrate of 1,411kbps. But you’ll need a decent pair of headphones to take advantage of the higher audio quality.

Additionally, Deezer’s HiFi plan gives you access to 360 Reality Audio tracks by downloading a separate app called 360 by Deezer. 360 Reality Audio is the newest push by Sony to bring a new format for audio streaming. It’s a new way of mixing audio that allows the engineers to make the instruments sound like they’re placed in space around you.

If you’re an audiophile, Deezer is definitely the better option for you. But keep in mind that you’ll have to pay $5 extra per month to get access to the company’s HiFi plan. In case you want to opt for a standard plan to save money, then there are no differences between the quality you get with Spotify and Deezer. For most people, the standard audio quality is more than good enough on both services.

Spotify vs Deezer: Pricing and plans

OnePlus 7T music playback spotify

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Both Spotify and Deezer have a free plan available with more or less the same limitations. You can only listen in shuffle mode with the exception of a few specific playlists, you can skip six tracks per hour, and you can’t download music for offline listening. There is, however, a slight difference in audio quality — 128kbps for Deezer and 160kbps for Spotify.

When it comes to premium plans, the two services share a lot of similarities as well. In the US, both offer a basic subscription for $9.99 per month, or $4.99 if you’re a student. A family plan that supports up to six accounts is available for $14.99.

Deezer’s annual subscription will save you around $20.

However, Deezer allows you to pay for an annual subscription upfront, saving you around $20. This means you’re basically getting two months for free. An annual subscription will set you back exactly $99.90, while paying on a monthly basis means you’ll dish out $119.88 over the course of a year.

Deezer also has a HiFi plan that offers better audio quality — learn more in the section above. It will set you back $14.99 per month.

Spotify, on the other hand, has a plan called Duo Premium in its lineup that’s primarily aimed at couples. However, the problem is that it’s only available in a few markets for now, with the US not being one of them.

Spotify vs Deezer: Other differences

Spotify vs Deezer differences

There are a lot of smaller differences between the two services as well. For example, Deezer has a SongCatcher built-in, which is their version of SoundHound or Shazam. When you’re out and about and hear a great song you aren’t familiar with, all you have to do is launch SongCatcher and it will tell you the name of the song and artist.

The French streaming service also has a better UI, although this comes down to personal preference. It pays artists more than Spotify, so it’s a better choice if you want to support the artists you’re into — especially those who are just starting out.

Read next: Tidal vs Spotify — Which one is the better option for you?

Spotify, on the other hand, has a Crossfade feature that lets you create a seamless transition between songs. It also comes with a Gapless mode that tries to eliminate the pause after one song ends and a new one starts. Then there’s the integration with Google Maps and Waze. This means that while you’re navigating, you can play, pause, or skip tracks without leaving the app.

These are smaller differences that won’t be a major factor in deciding which service to subscribe to for most people, but it’s still nice to keep them in mind.

Does the underdog win?

Spotify vs Deezer decision

So, does David beat Goliath? Yes and no. In terms of popularity and market share, Deezer is no match for Spotify. It would have to expand its subscriber base by over 120 million users in order to beat it, which isn’t likely to happen any time soon.

But when it comes to audio quality, music discovery, and just general usability, Deezer does come out on top. At least for some. It has better music discovery features in my opinion, the audio quality is better — but comes at a premium — and it is packed with extra features like SongCatcher. What’s more, the service is also cheaper provided you opt for an annual plan. If any of these things matter to you, I have no problem recommending Deezer over Spotify.

The difference between Spotify and Deezer isn’t massive.

However, Spotify is still a brilliant service and has a few advantages over Deezer as well. The main one is the selection of podcasts. There are more of them available, and a few popular and exclusive ones will make it to the service soon — like The Joe Rogan Experience. There are also a few extra features on board  I really enjoy like Crossfade and Google Maps integration. If these things are more important to you than the better audio quality and all the other bells and whistles you get with Deezer, Spotify is the way to go.

If it were my money, I’d go with Deezer. However, keep in mind that the overall difference between the two isn’t massive. I’d be happy with either one, as would most people in my opinion.

It’s worth noting that both services offer a free trial for their premium service. You can use Deezer free of charge for 30 days, while Spotify lets you use all of its features for three months without spending a dime. So if you’re still on the fence regarding which one to go with, test them out both first to see which one is best suited for your needs.

These are the main differences between Deezer and Spotify, although there are a few other smaller ones as well. In case we’ve missed any major ones, feel free to let us know in the comments.

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