I Don’t Like Spotify But I Just Can’t Quit

Spotify is by far my most-used streaming service, but I can’t say I’m happy about it. Sometimes, a great product is created by a not-so-great company—but I just can’t seem to find another music streaming service that scratches the same itch. It’s time to air some grievances.

Prices Increase, Features Don’t

Spotify logo on a throne.
Joe Fedewa / How-To Geek | DALL-E 3

I’ll start with my most obvious complaint—frequent price increases for Spotify Premium. For a long time, this wasn’t a problem at all. Spotify Premium was $9.99 for 12 years until it jumped to $10.99 in 2023 and then again less than a year later. Two price hikes that close together don’t feel great.

The other problem is with what you actually get for the Premium price tag. You could argue that Spotify Premium doesn’t really have many bonus “features.” Instead, I feel more like I’m paying Spotify to stop holding basic music features hostage. For example, you literally can’t play any song on demand with a free account, and Spotify recently put lyrics behind the paywall, too.

I subscribe to Spotify Premium because I don’t want to be interrupted by ads, I want to be able to play anything at any time, and I like offline downloads. These features do genuinely improve the experience, but there’s so, so much more Spotify could be doing.

Poor Treatment of Artists

Spotify mobile app running on an Apple iPhone 14 Pro
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

It’s no secret that Spotify doesn’t treat artists very well. This was perhaps most well-known in the late 2010s when Taylor Swift pulled her entire music catalog from the service. She specifically mentioned that streaming had “shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically.”

So, how much money do artists actually make on Spotify? Back when Taylor was having her beef with Spotify (which has since been resolved), it was around $0.006 and $0.0084 per play. More recently, the max possible was $0.003 per stream. For someone like Taylor Swift, whose top songs are getting millions of streams, that might not be a big deal, but it is for smaller artists.

To make matters worse, in 2024, Spotify started requiring tracks to pass 1,000 streams in the first 12 months in order to receive payment. That means some artists will literally be getting zero payments for their music. Ouch.

Trying to Ruin Podcasts

Podcasts in Spotify app

Podcasts are one of the last nearly platform-agnostic forms of entertainment. Movies and TV shows are spread out among dozens of services, but a podcast is usually available pretty much anywhere you might want to listen. That’s magical, and Spotify is trying to ruin it.

See, Spotify didn’t just start letting podcasters publish their shows to the platform. In 2018, the company acquired its first show, making it exclusive to Spotify. You could no longer listen to it with your podcast app of choice. Since then, Spotify has acquired a number of shows, making them exclusively available on the platform. These are some of the most popular podcasts available today.

Platform-exclusive podcasts go against everything that makes podcasts great. You shouldn’t need a specific streaming service to listen to your favorite podcast.

Spotify is the Best Lean-Back Music Service

Spotify DJ and Daylist playlist covers.
Joe Fedewa / How-To Geek

Okay, so I’ve laid out my complaints: The price for Spotify Premium keeps going up, “premium” features don’t feel like features, the company doesn’t treat artists well, and it’s trying to make podcasts worse. Why do I still use Spotify?

I’m a very “hands-off” music listener. I don’t typically have something specific in mind that I want to listen to. Rather than seeking out an artist or album, I seek out a genre or mood. Playlists and mixes are my bread and butter, and that’s what Spotify does better than anyone.

The “Daylist” and “DJ” features, for example, are perfect for how I like to listen to music. These features take a lot of the thought out of finding something to play. I can pull up my Daylist a few times per day and get an automatically curated collection of songs that might fit my mood in that moment. Or I can just let the DJ do his thing all day long and never touch Spotify.

Nobody Does Music Discovery Better

Press Play and Go: Spotify's Daily Mixes Are the Best Auto-Playlists Yet

The byproduct of listening to music almost exclusively through personalized playlists and mixes is I hear stuff I wouldn’t have found on my own. When you only play specific artists and albums, you miss out of finding new stuff. So many of my favorite artists nowadays have come from hearing songs in random playlists.

It’s not that other streaming services don’t also offer music discovery features—they do. But Spotify just has so much more to offer. The aforementioned Daylist and DJ, genre mixes, decade mixes, Daily Mixes, friend mixes, Release Radar, Discover Weekly, Time Capsule, Repeat Rewind, user-created playlists, etc.

The reality is I don’t like Spotify, but the service seems specifically geared toward how I personally enjoy listening to music. So, I will continue to begrudgingly pay for the service in hopes of finding something better.

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