How to Stream Higher Quality Music on Spotify

With Spotify Premium, you get access to higher quality music streaming. By default (and if you’re on the free plan), Spotify streams at 96kbps on mobile and 160kbps on your computer. At these sort of bitrates, you’ll hear a small but noticeable drop in quality compared to a CD.

With Premium, however, you can stream tracks at up to 320kbps; that’s pretty much the gold standard of lossy bitrates and most people can’t reliably tell the difference between it and a lossless format like a CD.

If you’re curious, check out this test from NPR. It presents you with the same track in three formats: a 128kbps MP3, a 320kbps MP3, and an uncompressed WAV. You just have to select the highest quality track from the selection. While I could pretty easily avoid the lowest quality track, I wasn’t able to pick between 320kbps and lossless with any consistency.

Want to get your Spotify tracks at that higher, 320kbps quality? Here’s how.

On Mobile

Open Spotify, go to the Your Library tab and tap settings icon in the top right. On iOS, select Music Quality. On Android, scroll down until you find it.

Spotify has three different audio qualities available on mobile: Normal (96kbps), High (160kbps), and Extreme (320kbps). There’s also an Automatic option that will dynamically adjust the bitrate based on your network quality and what kind of network you’re on.

You can set one audio quality for streaming and another for tracks you download. Remember, the higher the bitrate the more data you will use while streaming and the more space the tracks will take up when downloaded.

My own personal choice is High for Streaming and Extreme for Downloads. I feel this strikes the best balance between having high quality music while still being able to stream over cellular data in most places without any issues.

On the Desktop

Open Spotify, click the downward facing arrow next to your username and select Settings.

Under Music Quality, turn on High Quality Streaming.

This enables streaming at 320kbps.

Harry Guinness writes occasionally when he’s not busy skiing, sailing, partying, lifting weights, or otherwise dodging responsibility. His main areas of interest are himself, gin, and crazy people with interesting stories to tell. When people won’t pay him to write ill-thought-out opinion pieces, he covers photography, technology, and culture. You can follow him on Twitter.