Deezer vs Spotify

Can Deezer push Spotify off the throne?

I’ve been a premium Spotify subscriber since 2010-and-something, and it’s some of my most well-spent money. If I had bought all the music I’ve listened to and discovered on Spotify, I would have been broke years ago.

But Spotify is not the only music streaming service on the internet. Among the more prominent ones are Apple Music and Google Play Music - soon to be replaced by YouTube Music - but they aren’t really options for me because they are, well, owned by Apple and Google.

In the beginning of May, I accidentally stumbled across this tweet:

Tweet: “If you want the best of both worlds, try @Deezer. Fantastic audio quality with the best UI/UX around.

I’m all for “fantastic audio quality with the best UI/UX around”, so I decided to give Deezer a try.

Here’s how that played out.

Same Shit, Nearly Identical Wrapping

Like most other streaming services, Deezer offers a range of different subscriptions. Their Deezer Premium tier is the alternative that suits me best. Here it is compared to the Spotify Premium plan I currently subscribe to.

Deezer Premium Spotify Premium
Adds? No ads No Ads
# of Available Tracks 56 million 50 million
# of Skips Unlimited Unlimited
Audio Quality (Format) 320 kbit/s (MP3) 320 kbit/s (Ogg Vorbis)
Offline Mode Yes Yes
Last.fm support Yes Yes
Generic Music Discovery Curated playlists, genres, moods, charts, new releases, Deezer Next, artist mix, track mix Curated playlists, genres, moods, charts, new releases, artist radio, track radio
Personalized Music Discovery Flow, new releases and recommendations, personal playlists based on previous listening Your Daily Mix, new releases and recommendations, Discover Weekly, Release Radar
Revo SuperConnect integration No Yes
Price per Month $9.99
NOK 99
$8.88 (paid annually)
NOK 82,5 (paid anually)
$9.99
NOK 109

I’ve only compared the features that are important to me personally, but based on numbers alone, Deezer would be the obvious choice.

Deezer gives me access to 6 million more tracks than Spotify, and it’s cheaper, in particular if I pay annually, which is not even an option Spotify provides. Also, note that Spotify is more expensive in NOK than in USD. In terms of other features, the services are pretty much identical. My lovely Revo SuperConnect doesn’t support Deezer, but I can just connect to the SuperConnect via Bluetooth to stream, so that’s no biggie.

Music discovery is an important part of my daily use of Spotify. Both services provide a wide rang of ways to discover new music, and they are basically the same, just with different names.

Deezer main window in dark mode.
Deezer main window in dark mode.

Deezer in Practice

I used Tune My Music to transfer all my playlists, artists, and albums from Spotify to Deezer. It turned out to be a surprisingly smooth experience. I just allowed Tune My Music to access both my Spotify and Deezer libraries, and off it went. After the transfer was done, I simply revoked the service' access to my accounts.

In spite of Deezer having 6 million more tracks in its library than Spotify, 74 out of 3067 tracks from my Spotify library weren’t found on Deezer. Among the missing tracks were The Midnight’s second remix album1. But I can live with that; it’s not a very good album, to be honest.

The tweet that got me curious about Deezer promised “the best UI/UX around”, but I beg to differ. It’s sub-par compared to Spotify. The Deezer user interface looks more or less the same as Spotify’s, in particular in dark mode. There’s no shame in that, there are only so many different ways you can design two applications that do exactly the same thing.

Unfortunately, Deezer somehow manages to mess up a wide range of small things anyway. Here are a few things I noticed when testing the Deezer desktop client on Android, Mac, and Windows:

Many of the items above are petty trifles and annoyances. But all the small issues hint that Deezer is not a company that pays attention to detail in the same way Spotify does. And that’s a shame.

The Mystery of the Missing Scrobbles

I’ve been scrobbling to Last.fm since 2004, and I use the service to discover new music. I also love all the number crunching Last.fm does, and the statistics they provide. In fact, I love Last.fm so much, I gladly pay $3 a month for a pro subscription. So a music streaming service that doesn’t properly support Last.fm scrobbling is not an option for me.

But it seems like scrobbling was only as issue when I tried the Mac client. On both Windows and Android, scrobbling has worked as expected. Perhaps it’s a bug in the Mac client? I doubt that, because you have to link your Deezer and Last.fm accounts to enable scrobbling. Knowing that, I’d make a semi-qualified guess that a scrobble is not done by the client, but by Deezer’s backend making a server-to-server request directly to Last.fm.

There’s a good chance that the myestery of the missing scrobbles can be explained by your ordinary, run-of-the-mill glitch in the matrix. A plain, old, “computer says no”.

Update 2020-05-21: I’ve now been using Deezer as my daily driver for about a week. It looks like everything I play gets registered with Last.fm. Good times all around.

Deezer queue view in dark mode.
Deezer queue view in dark mode.

Deezer vs Spotify

When my Last.fm scrobbles didn’t register when I used the Mac client, I very much dismissed Deezer as a dud. After four hours, I went back to Spotify. But now I’m willing to give Deezer a proper try. I’ve got a month’s worth of free Deezer premium, which means I should be able to get a idea of how it compares to Spotify.

Most of the shortcoming I point out above are stuff that I can either learn to live with, or that wouldn’t be too much work for Deezer to fix. What I suspect I’ll miss the most is the Spotify playlists I subscribe to, and Spotify’s Discover Weekly and Release Radar playlists.

I’ll cancel my recurring Spotify Premium subscription. We’ll see if I decide to activate it again in a month.


  1. As it turns out, the album appeared on Deezer shortly after I transferred my music from Spotify to Deezer. ↩︎


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