Difference Between Spotify and Napster

Music streaming processes have evolved and digitalized. Various music streaming platforms have been launched which provide digital audio services.

The two most common and popular audio-sharing platforms are Spotify and Napster. Spotify is referred to as the “new king” while Napster is referred to as the “old king” of media players.

Spotify vs Napster

The main difference between Spotify and Napster is that Spotify is the latest and modern music and audio streaming service while Napster is an old media player and platform which has now become obsolete. The music quality of Spotify is 96 kbps for free and 320 kbps for the premium while the audio quality of Napster is 320 kbps.

Spotify vs Napster

Spotify was founded in the year 2006 but launched on 7th October 2008. The algorithm for music discovery in Spotify helps in discovering the best music according to every taste and mood.

It caters digitally copyrighted and restricted recorded music from various labels and media companies. The business model of Spotify has a freemium base.

On the other hand, Napster was launched in the year 1999 and faced major bankruptcy. It was again released in the year 2001. The algorithm for music discovery Napster is not as refined or extensive as Spotify.

The generation of revenue in Napster is dependent on permanent music download and subscription plans purchased by users. The format of most of the audio files is MP3.

Comparison Table Between Spotify and Napster

Parameters of Comparison SpotifyNapster
Year of launch In 2008 In 1999
Founders Martin Lorentzon and Daniel Ek Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker
HeadquartersStockholm, Sweden Seattle, Washington, United States
Type of industry Music and audio streaming service, and podcasting Media player
Algorithm Easy and effective in discovery Simple and moderately effective in discovery

What is Spotify?

Spotify is an audio and music streaming service that was founded in the year 2006. It is one of the largest public audio service providers.

It has over 380 million active users on a monthly basis. It is available in both free versions as well as paid subscription versions. The listing of the company is on Spotify technology S. A., which is a holding company domiciled in Luxembourg city.

The headquarters of Spotify is in Stockholm. It is available in 184 countries. It caters digitally copyrighted and restricted recorded music from various labels and media companies.

The free version has basic features with limited control and advertisement while the paid version provides additional features and a commercial-free listening experience.

Spotify is available in various operating systems like iOS, Windows, Android, MacOS, and even Linux computers. It can also integrate with various AI-enabled smart speakers and players.

70% of the total revenue of Spotify is distributed to right holders and individual agreements. Spotify has various subsidiaries like Spotify AB, Spotify USA Inc., Spotify Ltd (UK), and other regional subsidiaries.

The business model of Spotify has a freemium base. The main generation of revenue is by the sale of premium subscriptions and the placement of third-party advertisements.

The website “Spotify for Artists” explains the revenue data and business model of Spotify. The license type is proprietary. Spotify was announced as “Technology Pioneer for 2011” by World Economic Forum or WEF in 2010.

What is Napster?

Napster is a music and audio streaming service provider. The owner of Napster is MelodyVR. It was launched in the year 1999. The file-sharing software lays the entire emphasis on the digital distribution of audio files.

The format of most of the audio files is MP3. The service provider is available in a multilingual format. It belongs to the type of media player.

The initial envision of Napster was to be an independent peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing service by fanning. The company faced major bankruptcy due to legal copyright infringement issues and has to cease its operation in the year 2001.

However, the brand survived after the assets of the company were purchased and liquidated by other companies. The popularity of Napster was mainly due to its user-friendly interface. It had over 80 million users at its peak time of service.

The experiences of people at Napster has been released in various documents like Joseph Menn’s Napster biography, Steve Knopper’s Appetite for Self Destruction, John Alderman’s Sonic Boom, and others.

Various films have also documented the history of Napster like the Italian Job in 2003, the Social Network in 2010, and Downloaded in 2013.

During the bankruptcy auction of Napster, the logo and brand were acquired by Roxio. The brand was purchased by Best Buy, a US electronic retailer, worth $121 million in 2008. In 2020, it was bought by Melody VR.

Main Differences Between Spotify and Napster

  1. Spotify is available in the free version as well as paid subscription version while Napster has only a 30-day free trial after which the user has to switch to the paid plans.
  2. The interface of Spotify uses black or dark background while the interface of Napster uses a white background.
  3. The content and graphics of the Spotify interface are self-explanatory while the content and graphics of the Napster interface are not self-explanatory.
  4. The audio format of Spotify is OGG Vorbis while the audio format of Napster is AAC.
  5. The music library size of Spotify is over 70 million songs while the music library size of Napster is over 60 million songs.
Difference Between Spotify and Napster


Online music streaming platforms have changed the music experience. The platforms provide a huge variety from various languages.

The convenience of listening to any audio from anywhere in the world with a click has been brought about by online audio platforms. Most platforms also provide users with offline download options and other key features.

The two most renowned audio streaming service providers are Spotify and Napster. Both platforms have distinct features and functionality.

The revenue model and the pricing rates of both platforms are different from each other. The music library size is also different. The listeners and users should evaluate all the parameters before making a final choice of decision with the platform.


  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/uclaetrlr22&section=6
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-38845-8_12
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