Napster VS Spotify: Which is Better in 2023?

Updated by Adam Gorden on Nov 23, 2022 5:00 PM.

napster vs spotify

With online music streaming being the popular way to listen to music, more companies are starting to focus on this field. Napster, as the old king of music sharing platform back in 2000, is also now a digital music service. While the new king Spotify, is gaining a larger audience throughout the world.

Napster or Spotify, which is better for 2020? Today we’re going to dive deep on these two music streaming platforms, I’m sure you’ll get your own answer.

Part 1. Napster & Spotify: Basic Introductions
Part 2. Napster vs. Spotify: Which is Better?
    1. Subscription Plans
    2. Music Collections
    3. Social Features
    4. Audio Quality
    5. User Experience
Part 3. Napster vs. Spotify: Comparison Table

Part 1. Napster & Spotify: Basic Introductions

Before we dive into the comparison of Napster vs. Spotify, it's necessary to start with a brief introduction to them.



Napster was originally founded in 1999 by two teenagers. It started as a peer-to-peer music sharing platform, users can upload files to the platform and others can download everything they found from that. Everybody can use its software application to share digital music files for free. It pioneered a new way to get music off the internet, and at a time people were crazy about finding new music on Napster. And Napster became extremely popular, at its highest point, nearly 80 million users signed up on its network.

However, the service didn’t last long. Napster was found illegal against copyright law. RIAA asserted Napster is guilty of distributing unauthorized copyrighted material. And later in 2001, Napster was forced to shut down.

Since then the brand changed a lot over the years. And the biggest one is that the music streaming service Rhapsody made a deal to acquire subscribers from Napster. In 2016, Rhapsody rebranded its service as Napster and rolled out a paid subscription service, and it now continues to expand as one of the on-demand music streaming platforms.



Founded by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon in 2006, Spotify debuted as a small company in Stockholm, Sweden.

It came as a paid subscription service, aiming to fight against the controversial online music file-sharing network like Napster. But two years later, it started to offer a free service with ads in an attempt to boost its 10$-per-month subscription plan.

Over time, Spotify becomes one of the largest music streaming providers and it holds more than 286 million monthly listeners across the world, over 110 million of them are Premium users, which makes it the world’s most used music platform in the world. Besides, Spotify never cease to expands its music library and updates its features for users. Over 50 million tracks are available on Spotify, features like Discover Weekly and Wrapping up are broadly welcoming among users.

Part 2. Napster vs. Spotify: Which is Better?

In this part, we'll dive into the differences between Spotify and Napster to find out which one is better for you.

1. Subscription Plans

Both Spotify and Premium offers different subscription plans for an individual user. Or if there're more than one individuals, these 2 services also offer their subscription plans.

Spotify Premium - $10/month

Spotify subscription

Spotify provides its unlimited and ad-free streaming service for each user with Premium Individual plan for $9.99/month or Student plan for $4.99/month. Most Spotify users subscribe to the most popular Individual Premium. If want to have the discounted Student plan for up to 4 years, please make sure you are in the eligible college/university and use the SheerID verification form to confirm eligibility and renew the plan after each year. See how to sign up for Spotify Student plan>>

If you are not the only person that wants the Spotify service, there're 2 more options for you: Duo plan for $13.99/month available up to 2 accounts or Family plan for $15.99/month up to 6 accounts. See how to get Spotify 6-month free trial>>

Napster Premier - $10/month

Napster subscription

For new users, Napster offers its Premier subscription free with a time-limited 30-day trial, then $9.9/month. If you are not the only person in the household, you can choose to start with Napster Family plan for $14.99/month up to 6 accounts.

However, the choice also comes down to how to do with the active subscription plans for these two services. Next up there’ll be a comparison on how their paid subscription plans perform in 4 different aspects.

2. Music Collections

As it stands now, Spotify has a music, podcast collection of over 80 million songs. Since the 25/9/2022, you can now even listen to Audiobooks on Spotify, but each book comes at an additional cost even the Premium subscription is active. You can browse to the Audiobooks section then purchase on the website. Asides from the extensive collection, Spotify users can create their own libraries on Spotify to save Spotify contents.

The best part of Spotify's music collection is that it allows both Spotify Free users or Spotify Premium users to use the "Upload Local Files" feature to upload your own music to Spotify in the desktop app only. For a Premium account, Spotify let you sync the uploaded music files to the mobile app on your phone devices. See how to upload local files to Spotify>>

On the other hand, Napster started as the music service that allows peer-to-peer file sharing where Napster users that have similar music tastes and activities to access and share music for free. Now it even expands the MP3 files' access to the hard drives, where users can also access songs like on the platform.

3. Social Features

For starters, you can always share your favorite music on platforms like SMS, Messenger, Twitter, WhatsApp or email via a link. For years, Spotify have expanded their sharing options to integrate with social media like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, along with other available features to share music in an instant.

You can use the "Friend Activity" feature to share each other's listening activities and music tastes up-to-date in the app. Besides, it's popular to create a Collaborative Playlist with your friends. See how to add friends on Spotify>>

In comparison, here's an effective Napster social feature to build a music network with people who are also wrapped in Napster world to interact and share songs. However, it's not available to check friends' listening contents on live.

4. Audio Quality

On Spotify Free, users will have the different listening experience with the audio quality. For the free version of Spotify Web Player, the audio quality is 126Kbps while in the free version of Spotify apps for desktop and mobile, it's 160kbps.

If you have active Premium subscription, you'll have the audio quality of 256Kbps for the Premium version of Spotify Web Player and up to 320Kbps in Spotify apps for desktop and mobile. Premium subscribers can change it in the "Audio quality" settings of the app from Automatic, Low (24Kbits), Normal (96Kbps), High (160Kbps) to Very High (320Kbps), and the download quality is independent to the streaming quality.

Tips: The most-requested HiFi subscription for lossless audio can be expected in 2023.

In comparison, Napster AAC files range from 64Kbps to 320Kbps. You can customize the audio settings to change to the desired one from Efficient(64Kbps), Normal(192Kbps), High(320Kbps) or Lossless(44.1kHZ/16bit).

Speaking of audio quality, it’s always a very personal thing, you can’t verdict only by someone else’s words. Thus you’ll have to hear it to believe. But since both Napster and Spotify are streaming music online, the quality might be different as the internet connection becomes unstable.

So the best way to compare them is to download a Napster song and get the same track from Spotify with ViWizard Spotify Music Converter, and then play them offline in the same media player. You can even use this tool to improve Spotify audio quality. In this way, nothing can fool you from judging the quality except for your ears and mind.

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5. User Experience

Napster uses pure white as its background, and generally it’s a bit messy and obscure when users want to find something specific. The title of each part is not big enough to stand out from the actual content and the graphics are not self-explanatory enough to help users to figure out what it really is without reading the description.

napster interface

Consistency, is what you can feel over on Spotify’s webpage, PC client and mobile apps. With a slick interface lining with recommendations all over its page, Spotify implies a dark background that won’t make you feel excessive no matter how many materials it puts on each page. And each photo is brief enough to let you know what you’re going to hear in it.

napster interface

Overall, user experience is far more better on Spotify especially with its algorithm which is trying to know what you want to listen to.

Part 3. Spotify vs. Napster: Comparison Table

Spotify vs. Napster

Provider spotify logo napster logo
Music Library Size 50 million songs 40 million songs
Subscription Plans Free, Premium Premier
Cost $9.99/month for Individual; $4.99/month for Student, $15.99/month for Family $9.99/month for Individual;$14.99/month for Family
Supported Platforms Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Windows Phone, Android, streaming boxes, game consoles  Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, & Windows Phone, Mac or PC, Xbox and Sonos
Subscribers 186 million 3.5 million
Music Quality 256Kbps (Premium) or 128Kbps (free) on web player; up to 320Kbps (Premium) or 160Kbps (free) on desktop, mobile and tablet. 64Kbps to 320Kbps
Audio Format OGG Vorbis AAC

Bottom Line

Napster is no more the music sharing platform back in 2000, and all it leaves for now is its brand and the logo. If you're a Nostalgic person, the logo of Napster may be the reminiscence of those good old days, but the difference is, the reign is gone. Spotify is now leading a new way of digital music streaming service, which might be the right way for both artists and listeners.Time changes, but the music doesn't change, you can still get music from Napster and Spotify for offline listening and enjoy those everlasting moments.


is an experienced writer of ViWizard who is obsessed about tech, movie and software.

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