Spotify vs Deezer

It seems that if you want a music streaming service, the main contenders available in the UK are Spotify and Deezer, with Spotify being the more famous of the two.  I recently came back to Spotify Premium after about half a year with a Deezer subscription.  So I feel I’m in quite a good position to give a comparison between the two services.  Why did I move from Spotify to Deezer in the first place?  Why have I come back to Spotify?

Shedding the Spots

The main reason I moved away from Spotify was because I discovered that it uses P2P (peer-to-peer) technology and that there is no option to disable this.  This means that whenever the Spotify program is open, it will happily upload lots of music data that you happen to have on your hard drive (perhaps because it’s cached or because it’s in an “available offline” playlist) to other Spotify users.

This poses a number of problems.  Firstly, those with a limited amount of bandwidth provided by their ISP may find that Spotify uses up a lot of their allowance.  Secondly, when uploading to other users, it can cause problems for other applications that use your Internet connection.  In particular, online gamers (such as myself) will find their ping/latency in games reach unacceptable levels.

I had been slightly grumpy with Spotify for a while (due to posting a number of issues / recommendations on their support forum and not getting any official responses.)  At the time I was also using a 1st generation iPhone (‘2G’) and Spotify had recently decided (without warning) to remove support for these iPhones from their mobile app.

So I couldn’t really have Spotify open (and therefore listen to music) at the same time as playing Guild Wars and I could no longer listen to Spotify on the move. I decided to look elsewhere.

Becoming a Deezer Geezer

Deezer seemed to fit the bill nicely.  Not only do they offer a free month’s trial (I didn’t even have to enter my credit card details if I remember correctly), it works from within the web browser (so it definitely doesn’t use P2P) and has a large collection of music.  Plus their app worked on iOS 3 and so I could listen to music on my mobile again.

All well and good but after a few months I noticed a number of problems.  Because Deezer works within the web browser, this introduces a number of limitations.  Firstly, any multimedia keys you have on your keyboard (‘play/pause’, ‘next track’, etc) will not function.  Secondly, it cannot play any local music tracks (e.g. mp3s) that you have on your computer without you uploading them first.  And once uploaded, the way u navigate them is rather clumsy – it wouldn’t even let me sort them by or even list their track numbers.  Thirdly, the only way to add an album to a playlist in Deezer is to add each track in turn.  This may not sound like much of a problem but it can get pretty irritating pretty quickly.  Lastly I found that Deezer didn’t have music from a number of artists that I really like that Spotify does have; Hybrid, Plaid and Autechre, for example.  By this point I had ditched the iPhone and got a fantastic Samsung Galaxy SII which Spotify supported so I chose to return to Spotify.

Re-Spotification

Spotify have recently implemented ‘gapless playback’, a feature that many users had been requesting for ages.  When listening to an album where one track is supposed to mix seemlessly into another, this feature really improves the experience for me.

But what about the P2P problem?  I still played Guild Wars and I still wanted to listen to music whilst playing without it uploading lots of data to others and giving making my character the response time of a drunken tortoise.  Unfortunately, Spotify still provide no option for disabling the P2P part of the program so I had to resort to more technical measures.

At first I thought I would have to enable ‘offline mode’ whenever I was playing an online game.  However, this would prevent me streaming any music (that wasn’t “available offline”.)  What I did was to use the Windows Firewall built into Windows 7 and configure it such that incoming connections to Spotify were refused except for IP addresses on the local subnet (i.e. other computers/devices on my home network.)  If you want to know more details about how to do this, please leave a comment and if there is enough demand I will explain in a seperate blog post.

So now I’m back with Spotify, minus the annoying P2P and with a supported mobile phone!  Hooray!

Summary of the advantages

Spotify

  • Larger music collection
  • Gapless playback
  • Multimedia keyboard keys work properly
  • Better support for playback of local music files

Deezer

  • Works within any Flash-enabled web browser therefore more ‘portable’
  • No peer-to-peer (P2P)
  • Support for the original (‘2G’) iPhone

10 thoughts on “Spotify vs Deezer”

  1. Another criteria some might find relevant: the social responsability of the company.

    Deezer pays the artist more than Spotify. Besides that the difference are minor – and even then that is not much. So it s an easy pick: pay the artist. Pay the producer not the banks.

    Spotify s engineerd in sweden, but puts headquaters in london to pay less tax. Deezer s in paris.

    Regarding running in a browser, I find that an advantage, specially that deezer has the mixing desk: it s great for parties, or to go somewhere and let your friends listent to something.

    Regarding GUI: deezer song organization is not perfect I agree (not that spotify is either, but a bit better), but contrarily to what you wrote in the article, it is indeed possible to add a full album using check box select all then button add, or event drag n drop an album in a directory

    1. It’s actually not too hard. Here’s a what I did (in Windows 7)..

      1. Open Control Panel
      2. Double click ‘Windows Firewall’
      3. Click ‘Advanced Settings’ on the left-hand side
      4. Click ‘Inbound Rules’ on the left-hand side
      5. Scroll down to “Spotify” or “spotify.exe” and double click
      6. Click the ‘Advanced’ tab
      7. Select ‘Block edge traversal’ from the drop down within ‘Edge Traversal’ section
      8. Click the ‘Scope’ tab
      9. In the ‘Remote IP addresses’ section select ‘These IP addresses’
      10. Click the Add button
      11. Select ‘Pre-defined set of computers’
      12. Select ‘Local subnet’ from the drop down
      13. Click the ‘OK’ button
      14. Click the other ‘OK’ button
      15. Follow steps 5-14 for any other ‘Spotify’ or ‘spotify.exe’ entries

    2. I would agree with you if it weren’t for the fact that..

      a. I’m paying £9.99 a month for the service
      b. there is no ability in Spotify to configure the uploading so it means that without the firewall config, I cannot listen to Spotify whilst online gaming

    3. Wow, you guys pay a lot for spotify in the UK. Here in Mexico it costs 99 pesos/month, which equals less than 5 british pounds.

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