How much data does music streaming use?

  • Spotify will have you consuming 2.40MB of data per minute
  • Apple music gives you the option of listening to music at 64, 128 or 256 Kbps
  • Free Pandora users will go through data at around 57.6MB per hour

Whether you’re getting yourself pumped up for a rigorous gym workout, trying to drown out the sound of chit chat on public transport or simply just addicted to this month’s top 50 Pop Songs, all of us love a little music in our lives. Gone are the days where everyone would have to carry a walkman or discman around (no offense if you still do - ha!). In current times, online music streaming is the way to go. From Primary School kids all the way up to your granny, most people are utilising music streaming services today. Whilst all that is fine and dandy, one may forget to pay attention to questions such as “How much data does music streaming use?” and “Am I going to go over my monthly mobile-data limits if I listen to the rest of this U2 album?”. In a bid to answer these questions, below you will find a brief summary on the various music streaming services available to the public and how much data each of them uses.

Spotify

Spotify is without a doubt, one of the most popular music streaming services available today and has over a whopping 100 million users (as of January 2016 - so one can only imagine how many users are on the Spotify bandwagon a whole year later). When it comes to data usage, highest quality streaming of music at 320 Kbps on Spotify will have you consuming 2.40MB of data per minute which is a grand total of 115.2MB per hour. If you reduce the quality at which you are nodding your head to Ed Sheeran down to 160 Kbps, you will only be using 1.20MB of data per minute or grand total of 72MB per hour.

Apple Music

Another highly popular music streaming service today would be Apple Music. Apple music gives you the option of listening to music at 64, 128 or 256 Kbps (maximum quality being slightly lower than that of Spotify). At those varying qualities, there is a data usage of 1GB for ever 36, 18 or 9 hours of music streaming that you’re tuning in to respectively.

Pandora

Pandora is a part streaming and part radio station service available on your phone, tablet or PC. Free Pandora users will go through data at around 57.6MB per hour and about half a GB over the course of an eight hour day if listening at 128Kbps.

Should you be running Pandora on your iPhone, you have the option of streaming at either 64Kbps or 128Kbps. Lower quality streaming will inevitably use a lower amount d data as well. At the highest level as a paying/premium customer, Pandora streams at 192Kbps, using a total of 86.4MB of data per hour or 0.7GB over eight hours.

YouTube

Although most people use YouTube for streaming videos, we know of many people who do also utilise it as a means of listening to their favourite tunes (with YouTube Red or the YouTube Music App available now). With regards to data, for every 1 hour of 720p video footage (the quality at which most of us view videos on) you watch on YouTube, you are using up about 2.2GB of data - which is quite a fair bit to use and may send you over the limits of your mobile or broadband data plan in no time.

Tidal

Tidal is another music streaming service offers a range of quality options today as well. Tuning into Tidal at ‘High’ settings automatically sets your listening quality to 320Kbps, which is the same as high quality on Spotify. At this rate, you’d be using approximately 1GB of data for an 8 hour day. A switch from High to Normal drops the quality at which you listen to music to 96Kbps, thus in turn lowering your data consumption to 720Kb of data per minute, 43.2MB per hour and 0.34GB over the course of a day.

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With these statistics in mind, always be sure to adjust your broadband or mobile data plans (so that you don’t end up having to pay a penalty fee) in accordance to how much data you are consuming whilst enjoying your favourite tunes. If you are a premium member of most of these music streaming services, a great tip on lowering your daily data consumption would be to download music or make your songs available offline. By doing this, your application automatically downloads your selected songs into your phone when hooked up to a WIFI connection, reducing the amount of data you have to use every day if you are listening to the same playlist.