Spotify has launched in South Africa, taking on incumbent music streaming services.
As it does internationally, it offers an ad-supported Free tier that offers only shuffle play and limited skips, and a Premium plan.
The Premium plan is R59.99 per month, and includes an array of features – such as high-quality streams and no adverts.
Spotify is not the only platform which offers a combination of ad-supported and subscription music streaming services in South Africa, however.
While Spotify leads the subscription streaming music industry internationally – with over 159 million active users – it was beaten to market locally by several players.
These include Simfy, Deezer, Apple Music, and Google Play Music.
The table below summarises the pricing options available from music streaming services in South Africa.
Spotify said it expects to launch family and student pricing options in South Africa in the future.
|Service||Price||Free Tier||Trial||Family Plan||Additional|
|Apple Music||R59.99||No||3 months||R89.99||Student – R29.99 / Annual – R599|
|Google Play Music||R59.99||Yes||30 days||R89.99|
|Simfy||R60.00||No||14 days||–||Web and Desktop – R25|
With little difference in the pricing, the music service you select will likely depend on its features, song catalogue, and user experience.
The trial periods and free offerings of these services are therefore well worth checking out to see which one suits you best.
In terms of feature differences, this will be based on the quality of metadata, personalisation, and playlists available on a platform.
Then there are more obvious differences, such as device support and streaming quality options.
Of particular note is Deezer’s “basic” option, which reduces a song’s bitrate to 64kbps, and Spotify’s “data saver” option which uses a bitrate of 24kbps.
These are both intended to reduce mobile data consumption.
Spotify said its data saver mode uses only 10.8MB of data for every hour of streaming. Other services typically use 40MB over the same period, it said.
There are also major differences in the devices each service supports.
A full list of devices supported by Spotify in South Africa is detailed on Spotify’s local help page, and includes mobile, tablet, desktop, speaker, TV, car, and game console options.
What sets Spotify apart in this regard is its partnerships with Sony and Microsoft for their PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles.
A summary of supported devices, streaming quality, and catalogue sizes is detailed in the table below.
|Spotify||Google Play Music||Apple Music||Deezer||Simfy|
|Songs||35 million||40 million||45 million||40 million||36 million|
|Streaming Quality||Standard – 160kbps OGG (desktop), 128kbps AAC (web/Chromecast), 96kbps OGG (mobile)
High – 320kbps OGG (desktop), 256kbps AAC (web/Chromecast), 160kbps OGG (mobile)
Extreme – 320kbps OGG (mobile only)
Data saver mode – 24kbps OGG (mobile only)
|320kbps MP3||256kbps AAC||Compact – 128kbps
Balanced – 320kbps on Wi-Fi, 128kbps on mobile
Enhanced – 320kbps
Basic – 64kbps
|128kbps – 192kbps|
|Platform||Spotify||Google Play Music||Apple Music||Deezer||Simfy|
|Desktop||Windows/Mac Apps, Web||Web||iTunes (Windows/Mac)||Windows/Mac Apps, Web||Windows/Mac Apps, Web|
|Smartphone||iPhone, Android||iPhone, Android||iPhone, Android||iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry||iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone|
|Tablet||iPad, Android||iPad, Android||iPad||iPad, Android, Windows 8||iPad, Android|
|Players||iPod Touch||iPod Touch||iPod Touch||iPod Touch||iPod Touch|
|Wearables||–||Android Wear||Apple Watch||Apple Watch, Android Wear||–|
|TV||Samsung, Motorola STB, LG, Chromecast, Android TV, AirPlay, Sony, Amazon Fire TV||Android TV, Chromecast||Apple TV||ROKU, Chromecast, Bang & Olufsen, Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Philips, NetRange, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, TV Foxxum||Chromecast, Apple TV|
|Sound Systems||Sonos, Bose, UrbanEars, Marshall, Amazon, Google, Apple.||Google Home||HomePod||SONOS, Yamaha MusicCast, ROCKI, Bang & Olufsen, Phantom, LG Music Flow, Harman Kardon, SoundTouch, Samsung Wireless Audio 360, HEOS by Denon, Sony HD Audio, Onkyo Network, NuVo, Bluesound Network Player, Cabasse Stream HiFis, BIG JAMBOX, Philips, MOON.||SONOS, Samsung|
|Cars||Waze, Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, Android Auto, MINI, Volvo, Ford SYNC||Android Auto||CarPlay||MirrorLink via RockScout, Android Auto, CarPlay, Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, Parrot, BMW, MINI, Clarion.||–|
|Console||PlayStation, Xbox One||–||–||–||–|