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Spotify attracts much more listeners than Apple Music, SoundCloud, YouTube Music, and others due to its excellent streaming service. Listeners can opt to listen to favorite singers or playlists on either the Spotify web player or the Spotify app for desktop. Some listeners think that Spotify desktop version consumes so much memory and CPU that it overwhelms the computer while working. Therefore, they prefer to stick to Spotify web player while losing some features of the desktop version.

It's true that the appearance and function of both versions are identical, but there still are some differences in terms of availability, music quality, functionality, and more. This post is an in-depth comparison between the Spotify app vs web player. Let's check out all the differences below.


Spotify Web Player vs Desktop App: Availability & Portability

Winner: Spotify web player

Speaking of portability, the Spotify web player totally outperforms the app. You can directly open the Spotify web player as long as your device supports one of the web browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Edge, Opera, and Safari. Moreover, Spotify is expanding its availability on a variety of operating systems.

iOS: iOS 13 or later
Android: Android OS 5.0 or later
Mac: OS X 10.13 or later
Windows: Windows 7 or above

If you have an older version of a mobile or desktop device, you still can play millions of tracks on the Spotify web player. Better yet, the app enables the Spotify Connect feature that allows users to listen to Spotify music everywhere on wireless devices such as Smart Speakers, Smart TVs, Car Audio, Gaming Consoles, Wearables, and so on. You can see whether a specific device is supported on this page - Listen Everywhere.

Spotify Web Player vs Desktop App: Music Quality and Format

Winner: Spotify desktop app

As for listeners, music quality is a great concern. Spotify delivers different audio quality in different formats on the web player and the app. The web player delivers a lower bitrate of 128kbps by default and listeners are unable to change the streaming audio quality on the Spotify web player (Automatic, Low, Normal, High, or Very High.)

If you have a Spotify Premium subscription, you can enjoy a higher music quality of 256kbps when listening to Spotify music on the browser. The desktop app uses Ogg Vorbis or AAC codec to deliver a sound quality of up to 320kbps under the Premium plan, while free accounts can enjoy music quality of up to 160kbps.

To conclude, Spotify desktop version offers more quality options (and also higher) to play music resources. While on Spotify web player, the quality options are fewer, and of lower quality (even for premium subscribers). Check details of music quality delivered in both Spotify web player and Spotify desktop app through the table below:

Spotify Web Player AAC (128kbps for free users, 256kbps for Premium users.)
Spotify Desktop App Ogg Vorbis (96kbps, 160kbps, 320kbps)
AAC (128kbps, 256kbps)
He-AACv2 (24kbps)

Spotify Web Player vs Desktop App: Offline Listening

Winner: Spotify desktop app

Spotify doesn't allow users to download Spotify Music without Premium for offline playback as this feature is an exclusive service for the Premium subscription. Once you subscribe to the Premium plan, you'll be able to download songs from Spotify for playback offline. However, downloads are restricted to being played on the Spotify desktop app due to Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions. Moreover, the download function is not supported on Spotify web player. In other words, even if you have been a Spotify Premium user, you can only access the offline listening feature within the Spotify desktop app.

Also, downloads are valid and available for offline listening only when your Premium subscription is activated. If your subscription was canceled or expired, the downloads would become a pile of storage-taking trash in no instant. So, if you want to keep Spotify downloads offline forever, you need to get them out of DRM protection and save them as common audio such as MP3 files. To do this, a professional Spotify DRM removal tool, TuneFab Spotify Music Converter can work to help. For more details, please scroll down to the Bonus Tip part.

Spotify Web Player vs Desktop App: Space Occupation

Winner: Spotify web player

When you're streaming songs online, the tracks are actually loaded in the background, taking up some storage on your mobile or desktop device. The proof is that you'll run out of mobile data when you play Spotify music overnight. The difference is that the Spotify web player uses caches when you're streaming Spotify songs, which are easy to clear up in the browser.

However, the Spotify desktop app will save your listening history by default in Settings - Show Advanced Settings - Offline storage location. Usually, the music tracks will be saved in the local disk (C:) on your Windows computer. That's why you might notice that your device is running slower than ever. Therefore, it's recommended to regularly and manually delete some auto-loaded cache on your Windows or Mac.

Spotify Offline Storage Location

Spotify Web Player vs Desktop App: Lyric

Winner: Draw

Spotify has been lacking the on-screen lyrics feature for a long time. After years of expectations, Spotify finally released the lyrics feature across 26 markets in June 2020. Lyrics are now available for most songs on the Spotify app and the web player. Spotify insists on adding new lyrics every day, but some niche songs may still lack lyrics at present.

To view lyrics on the web player or the Spotify app, you need to start playing a song and then click/tap on the microphone icon on the lower right. Now, you'll see a scrolling screen of lyrics and you can sing along with your favorite tunes.

Spotify Lyrics on Web Player and Desktop App

Spotify Web Player vs Desktop: Hotkey

Winner: Spotify desktop app

The Spotify web player doesn't have shortcuts for playing, pausing, or switching songs. If you want to employ hotkeys while listening to music on the web player, you'll need to install an extension to your browser, for example, Spotify Web Player Hotkeys

As for the Spotify desktop app, there are indeed a lot of hotkeys to help users quickly take full control of the app. The shortcuts are different on Windows and Mac computers. There is a full list of all the hotkeys below. You can take a look and make the most out of the Spotify desktop app.

  Action Windows Mac
Music Playback Play/pause Space Space
Next track Ctrl + Right Cmd + Right
Previous track Ctrl + Left Cmd + Left
Seek backward/forward Shift + Left/Right Cmd + Shift + Left/Right
Play currently-selected item Enter Return
Toggle shuffle mode Ctrl + S Cmd + S
Cycle repeat modes Ctrl + R Cmd + R
Raise volume Ctrl + Up Cmd + Up
Lower volume Ctrl + Down Cmd + Down
Navigation Go back to the previous screen Alt + Left Option + Left
Go forward one screen Alt + Right Option + Right
Open the Search screen Ctrl + L Cmd + L
Show the Search feature Ctrl + F Cmd + F
Zoom Zoom in Ctrl + Plus (+) Cmd + Plus (+)
Zoom out Ctrl + Minus (-) Cmd + Minus (-)
Reset zoom to 100% Ctrl + Zero (0) Cmd + Zero (0)
Account and App Management Open Spotify Preferences Ctrl + P Cmd + Comma (,)
Open Spotify Support in your browser F1 n/a
Log out of your account Ctrl + Shift + W Cmd + Shift + W
Quit Spotify Alt + F4 or Ctrl + Shift + Q Cmd + Q
Basic Functions / Playlists    
Create a new playlist Ctrl + N Cmd + N
Create a new playlist folder Ctrl + Shift + N Cmd + Shift + N
Cut Ctrl + X Cmd + X
Copy Ctrl + C Cmd + C
Paste Ctrl + V Cmd + V
Undo Ctrl + Z Cmd + Z
Redo Ctrl + Y Cmd + Shift + Z
Delete Del Delete
Select all Ctrl + A Cmd + A
Mac-Only Shortcuts Hide the Spotify window n/a Cmd + H
Hide other app windows n/a Cmd + Option + H
Close the Spotify window n/a Cmd + W
Minimize window n/a Cmd + M
Restore minimized window n/a Cmd + Option + 1
Full-screen n/a Fn + F

To conclude, when Spotify desktop app is equipped with sets of shortcuts, it means that the music playback control can definitely be more convenient than using Spotify web player. If you consider such functions, Spotify app will be better for you to enjoy more convenient streaming than using the web player.

Spotify Web Player vs Desktop App: Local Music Playback

Winner: Spotify desktop app

You may not know that the Spotify desktop app can work as a media player for your local files including MP3, MP4, M4A, FLAC, and WAV. First of all, you need to enable this feature in Settings - Local Files - Show Local Files - Turn on/off the local folders - Add a source and then the files will be in the Local Files folder in your library. The Spotify web player cannot play local audio files on the web, so you may need to download the desktop app if you want to play local music files.

Tips: To save time and effort, you can use TuneFab Spotify Music Converter to download songs from Spotify into mainstream formats and then upload them to the Spotify App or any device to listen to them.

Spotify Web Player vs Desktop App: Spotify Equalizer

Winner: Spotify desktop app

Many mainstream music streaming platforms like YouTube and TikTok are equipped with the equalizer to let users customize settings and create unique sound effects to stream songs. This feature is also provided on Spotify! However, it is a pity that the equalizer is only accessible in the Spotify desktop app and its mobile versions. In other words, users of Spotify web player can't find this function but can only enjoy music playback with Spotify'd default streaming settings. To customize sound effects, you need to switch to Spotify desktop or mobile apps to access and use Spotify equalizer instead.

Spotify Equalizer

Spotify Web Player vs Desktop App: Playlist Control

Winner: Spotify desktop app (offers much easier control)

A great advantage of Spotify's music streaming service should be the rich playlist resources generated by itself. No matter you are using Spotify web player or its desktop app, you can access playlists of all categories and ranking lists, then enjoy the playback immediately.

However, compared with Spotify web player, Spotify desktop app offers much easier control of its playlist function. For example, it would be much simpler to create and add/delete multiple songs to/from the playlists at once. While on Spotify web player, it can be more time-consuming - you have to add/delete songs one by one, making it less efficient to manage Spotify playlists.

Spotify Web Player vs Desktop App: Update Option

Winner: Spotify desktop app

As Spotify will keep updating its services regularly to ensure the best music playback experience for users, both the Spotify app and web player will be updated in time with bugs fixed and performance enhanced. However, the Spotify desktop app will offer update options (and even the opt-out feature) to let you control the software update whenever you want. While on Spotify web player, there isn't coming with such options, and the features will all be upgraded automatically by the official even before you notice.

Which One to Choose, Spotify Web Player or Spotify Desktop?

So, which one do you prefer? If you need to cheer yourself up at work and are not picky about the sound quality, the Spotify web player can be a nice option. Also, if you're afraid that streaming music will take up device storage and slow down the performance, it's recommended to utilize the web player with no need to download any software.

On the other hand, if you have Spotify Premium and get used to listening to Spotify music on your own computer, you can enjoy better listening quality and offline playback with the Spotify Desktop app. Moreover, it can play local files on your computer directly in the app.

Select Spotify App VS Web Player

Bonus Tip: Download Spotify Songs from in-Built Web Player

As mentioned, Spotify web player is not equipped with the offline listening function even if you are a Spotify premium subscriber. More importantly, its music streaming quality can only reach 256Kbps. If you prefer using Spotify web player, but still want to get these two extra features, TuneFab Spotify Music Converter can be your best helper.

TuneFab Spotify Music Converter directly added a Spotify web player inside its software, allowing you to access the same music library by logging in with just a free account. It has added the download function, and offers the best 320Kbps quality for you to keep any Spotify songs or playlists offline in common audio formats such as MP3 forever. You can add these files back to Spotify or just play them using other media players as you want flexibly.

💡 Key Features:

● TuneFab Spotify Music Converter can easily remove DRM and rip Spotify music to popular audio formats such as MP3, M4A, and more without a Premium subscription.
● You can directly access the official Spotify web player and download all Spotify playlists/albums/podcasts without restrictions.
● The software employs acceleration technology to boost the whole process up to 35X faster than other tools.
● Users can customize output audio quality, including the sample rate (at the best 48000hz) and bitrate (up to 320Kbps).
● All music downloads will keep their original ID3 information so that music management offline can be much easier.
● The downloads will be available all the time without worrying about expiration someday.

Read more: TuneFab Spotify Music Converter: Hands-on Review in 2024

If you want to try out this powerful software, the detailed guide below will help you download Spotify songs from web player as lossless local files to listen to anytime.

STEP 1. Log in with Spotify

Launch the TuneFab Spotify Music Converter after you install the program on your Mac or Windows. Then, click the Open the Spotify web player option and you'll be prompted to sign in with your Spotify account. It doesn't matter whether you subscribe to Spotify Premium. The program will require your login info to access Spotify music

Sign in Spotify Web Player

STEP 2. Select Songs to Listen to or Download

Go to your library or search for the song you like to listen to. To download a single track, you can directly drag the song to the Green Plus button. Or, you can directly download the entire playlist by clicking on the Green Plus button in a playlist or album.

Select Spotify Playlists to Download

STEP 3. Select Output Format and Quality

Once all Spotify songs are added to the "Converting" list, now you can select an output format such as MP3 from the top-right "Convert all files to" menu.

Select Output Format to Download Spotify Songs

If you need to customize output quality before downloading them, go to "Preferences" and switch to the "Advanced" tab, both the "SampleRate" and "Bitrate" can be adjusted as you want.

Adjust Quality to Download Spotify Songs

STEP 4. Download Favorite Songs

When all settings are finished now, you'll check out the music feeds in the window. Finally, simply click Convert All to download all your selected songs from Spotify web player as common music files to enjoy offline more conveniently at the best 320Kbps quality that Spotify web player doesn't offer!

Download Spotify Playlists Offline

In Conclusion

Although Spotify web player and desktop app offer seemingly the same services to stream music online, they still contain differences. After reading this Spotify app vs web player review, you must know which one is better to choose.

If you still prefer Spotify web player but want to access some extra functions such as the offline listening mode and higher music playback quality, TuneFab Spotify Music Converter can bring them to Spotify web player for you. Try it for free now!

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