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How Much Speed Do I Need to Stream Music?

Know the internet speed you need for the online music services you love most.

You don’t need a lot of speed to stream music from the internet. You’ll sip just half of a megabit per second from most music streaming services like iHeartRadio, Spotify, and Pandora. Any internet plan with speeds of 10Mbps or more can stream average-quality music.

Some music streaming services like Apple Music and Tidal offer high-definition “lossless” audio, however. These streams can reach just over 9 megabits per second (Mbps). You’ll need an internet plan that’s at least 20Mbps to handle these streams.

To see how much speed you need to stream music from your favorite service, just select it below.

Spotify | YouTube Music | Pandora | Amazon Music | Apple Music | iHeartRadio | SoundCloud | Tidal | Deezer | SiriusXM | TuneIn Radio | LiveXLive | Idagio | Primephonic

However, before you dive in, we suggest you download our free, easy-to-use speed test app. Testing your speed will show where your connection currently stands so you can compare it to the music streaming requirements.

However, before you dive in, we suggest you take our internet speed test to see where your connection currently stands so you can compare it to the music streaming requirements. Do you plan to stream video too? Be sure to use our How Much Speed Do I Need tool to determine what you need for different services.



How much speed do you need to stream music?

The amount of internet speed you need per music stream depends on the quality. The lowest streaming rate is around 32 kilobits per second (Kbps)—a low-quality stream like talk radio—while the highest is around 9,216Kbps (9.126Mbps).

A good rule of thumb is to double those numbers for each stream, so your music has plenty of breathing room. For example, if your audio stream is 9,216Kbps, a speed of 18,432Kbps (18.43Mbps) should be more than sufficient.

Music streaming speed requirements at a glance

Here’s a general list of internet speed requirements for Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora, Amazon Music, and more.

ServiceRecommended speed (in Mbps)
YouTube Music0.09–0.51
Amazon Music0.50–7.46
Apple Music0.50–7.46
TuneIn Radio0.64

Do you have the best connection to stream music?

While music doesn’t require a lot of bandwidth to stream, you’ll need just over 18Mbps in speed to get the highest quality audio stream available. Enter your zip code below to find out what’s available in your area.

Music streaming data requirements

Here we will break down the bitrates and recommended speed requirements based on quality or tier for each music streaming service. We’ll also provide more detail in regards to sample rates and bit depth for curious audiophiles.

How much data does Spotify use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
Free24–1603200.32Get Spotify
Premium24–3206400.64Get Spotify

If you stream Spotify from a browser, the Free account is locked to 128Kbps AAC audio, and the Premium account remains at 256Kbps AAC.

However, if you’re using Spotify’s desktop software, a tablet, or a smartphone, you’ll see Low (24Kbps), Normal (98Kbps), and High (160Kbps) quality options with the Free and Premium accounts. The Premium plan adds a Very High setting (320Kbps). Both plans have an Automatic setting that adjusts the bitrate according to your connection.

How much data does YouTube Music use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
Low48560.06Get YouTube Music
Normal1282560.26Get YouTube Music
High/Always High2565120.51Get YouTube Music

YouTube Music uses the AAC format to stream music, but the maximum bitrate is lower than other services. The “always high” setting maintains the 256Kbps bitrate even when the connection is poor. YouTube Music does not offer lossless audio.

Looking for Google Play Music?

Google shut down Play Music in 2020, so your music is now available on YouTube Music.

How much data does Pandora use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
Free24–641280.13Get Pandora
Plus24–1923840.38Get Pandora
Premium128–1923840.38Get Pandora

The audio quality ranges from 64Kbps AAC+ to 192Kbps when listening through a web browser. The Free and Plus plans range from 24Kbps to 64Kbps on mobile (Android, iOS, iPadOS), while the Premium subscription jumps up to 192Kbps on the same devices. If you have a Sonos or similar device, the stream will always be 128Kbps, no matter what plan you have.

How much data does Amazon Music use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
SD2565120.51Get Amazon Music Unlimited
HD8501,7001.70Get Amazon Music Unlimited
Ultra HD3,7307,4607.46Get Amazon Music Unlimited

Amazon’s HD quality tier streams 16-bit songs with a 44.1 kHz sample rate at 850Kbps. The Ultra HD tier streams 24-bit songs with sample rates ranging between 44.1 kHz to 192 kHz at 3,730Kbps average. Both “HD” tiers use lossless compression to preserve the fidelity of the original analog recording.

How much data does Apple Music use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
SD2565120.51Get Apple Music
Lossless8501,7001.70Get Apple Music
Hi-Resolution Lossless3,7307,4607.46Get Apple Music

Like Amazon, Apple provides two high-quality tiers that use lossless compression. Apple relies on its proprietary ALAC codec to stream 16-bit (44.1 kHz) and 24-bit (48 kHz) audio. The High-Resolution Lossless tier streams 24-bit music with sample rates up to 192 kHz.

How much data does iHeartRadio use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
Standard1282560.26Get iHeartRadio

iHeartRadio’s maximum bitrate is 128Kbps. That equals 58MB per hour, which isn’t bad if you’re streaming using your mobile carrier’s data plan.

How much data does SoundCloud Go use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
Standard641280.26Get SoundCloud Go
High Quality2565120.51Get SoundCloud Go

The SoundCloud Go+ High Quality tier streams at 256Kbps, but sounds like MP3 audio encoded for 320Kbps due to the ACC format. Meanwhile, the standard 64Kbps stream uses the Opus format, so the music sounds like MP3 audio encoded for 128Kbps.

How much data does Tidal use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
Standard3206400.64Get Tidal
HiFi1,4112,8222.82Get Tidal
Master2,304–9,2164,608–18,4324.61–18.43Get Tidal

The Standard tier uses the AAC format to stream at 320Kbps, while the HiFi tier uses the FLAC format to stream lossless 16-bit audio (44.1 kHz) at 1,411Kbps. Tidal’s Master tier uses MQA technology and typically streams 24-bit audio with a 96 kHz sample rate but can reach up to 24-bit/192 kHz streams.

How much data does Deezer use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
Basic641280.13Get Deezer
Standard1282560.26Get Deezer
High Quality3206400.64Get Deezer
HiFi1,1412,2822.28Get Deezer

Deezer’s first three tiers rely on the MP3 format, while the HiFi tier uses FLAC (lossless). The Deezer Free account provides Basic and Standard audio quality while the Student, Premium, Family, and HiFi plans add the High Quality audio tier. Deezer HiFi and Deezer Family HiFi are the only plans with lossless audio.

How much data does SiriusXM use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
Music641280.13–0.26Get SiriusXM
Talk32640.06Get SiriusXM

If you listen to SiriusXM satellite radio on the internet, the bitrate is much lower than what you get when listening from a compatible car radio. Streams use the AAC codec, which means music sounds like MP3 audio encoded for 128Kbps even though the stream is 64Kbps. In addition, SiriusXM uses “variable bitrates” that change based on your connection.

How much data does TuneIn Radio use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
Standard32–3206400.64Get TuneIn Radio

The bitrate depends on the broadcast. For instance, a local radio station may transmit in 64Kbps AAC or 64 Kbps MP3 audio only—you can manually switch between the two streams. Another radio station may stream in 128Kbps MP3 only, while another station is locked to 32Kbps AAC.

How much data does LiveXLive use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
Free64–1282560.26Get LiveXLive
Plus3206400.64Get LiveXLive
Premium3206400.64Get LiveXLive

The bitrate of songs played through LiveXLive depends on the platform and subscription. If you’re listening through a browser, you can set the quality to 128Kbps or 320Kbps. On mobile devices, you have an extra quality setting of 64Kbps, presumably offered for those who listen using a cellular connection. LiveXLive acquired Slacker Radio in 2017.

How much data does Idagio use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
Normal160–1923840.38Get Idagio
High3206400.64Get Idagio
Lossless1,4112,8222.88Get Idagio

Idagio’s free plan streams music at Normal quality, but the bitrate and format depend on the platform. The Premium plan supports both Normal and High quality tiers, while the Premium+ plan supports all three quality levels.

How much data does Primephonic use?

Quality/TierBitrate (in Kbps)Recommended (in Kbps)Recommended (in Mbps)More info
Premium3206400.64Get Primephonic
Platinum2,116–9,2164,232–18,4324.23–18.43Get Primephonic

The Premium plan streams music in the MP3 format at 320Kbps. The Platinum plan streams lossless FLAC music up to 24-bit songs with sample rates ranging from 44.1 kHz to 192 kHz. Primephonic does not offer a free option.

FAQ about streaming music

What is bitrate?

A bitrate is how many bits are transferred in a set amount of time. In this case, the rate depends on how many bits you download each second. A higher bitrate translates to more received bits each second, leading to clearer, richer sound.

  • 1 Kbps = 1 thousand bits per second
  • 1 Mbps = 1 million bits per second
  • 1 Gbps = 1 billion bits per second

What is an audio codec?

An audio codec is software that compresses a raw digital recording for downloading or for streaming. The algorithm removes data that it determines as unnecessary to reduce the file size while maintaining the song’s quality. Codecs typically compress songs based on a target bitrate, like 128Kbps.

What is a sample rate?

A sample rate is the number of samples taken from analog audio when creating a digital audio file. Higher samples produce better audio quality but larger files. This number is usually measured in kiloHertz (kHz).

For example, an audio track on a CD typically has a sample rate of 44.1kHz. That means the digital recorder sampled the analog audio 44,100 times per second—one kiloHertz equals 1,000 samples per second. Higher samples produce better audio quality but larger files.

What is lossless?

Lossless means there is no loss of audio quality. This form of audio compression preserves the quality of the original raw digital recording.

Traditional “lossy” compression focuses on file size and how that size is transmitted over the internet. The problem with this method is that you can lose some data, lowering the song’s overall quality.

For instance, an MP3 file compressed for a 128Kbps bitrate isn’t exactly CD quality. The algorithm discards data it deems as unnecessary, lowering the overall quality. Plus, the compressed song cannot be restored to its original form.

Lossless compression is different. It rewrites the digital audio file so that it’s more efficient structurally and smaller in size. It keeps the “unnecessary” data typically discarded by lossy compression to keep the audio quality intact. This compression method leads to larger bitrates than standard streams.

Apple provides its own lossless codec—Apple Lossless Audio Codec(ALAC)—while other services use Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC).

How is audio resolution measured?

Audio resolution (or depth) is measured in bits. Higher bit counts provide more sound.

For instance, an audio track on a CD has a sample rate of 44.1kHz at 16 bits per sample. A song with a higher 24-bit depth stored on a DVD or a Blu-ray disc produces more sound without distortion. Some services like Amazon Music can stream music at a 24-bit/192 kHz rate for extremely rich, “ultra HD” sound.

Streaming vs. downloading music: What’s the difference?

The short answer is that downloaded songs are saved locally on your device while streamed songs are not.

A longer explanation is that digital audio in its raw form is huge. Songs are compressed using an audio codec—like MP3 and AAC—to conserve space on your device and make them easy to transfer across the internet. How it’s encoded depends on if you are streaming or downloading.

For streaming, the song is encoded in a way so that it’s transmitted across the internet without using large amounts of bandwidth. The app on your device decodes the file, temporarily stores the unpacked bits of music in memory as they’re received, and then deletes these bits when they’re converted into the analog audio waves that you hear.

Many music streaming services support offline listening, like Amazon Music Unlimited and Spotify. That means when you download songs, they’re placed onto your device’s storage as cache and cannot be exported for listening in other apps. You must have a subscription to hear these songs in offline mode.

If you purchase music from services like Tidal or Walmart, you can download the songs directly to any device for playback using any compatible app. These songs are not stored as cache and are encoded in a way so the downloads aren’t massive.

What are some of the popular audio formats?

Apple Lossless Audio Code (ALAC)

Apple developed its own format for lossless audio compression in 2004. It became open-source and free to use in 2011. Apple devices natively support ALAC files, while support for FLAC audio didn’t appear until iOS 11.

Advanced Audio Coding (AAC)

This lossy format appeared in 1997 and is the successor to the popular MP3 format. It provides better audio quality while retaining the same file size. File extensions include m4a, m4b, m4p, m4v, m4r, 3gp, mp4, and aac.

Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC)

This format emerged in 2001 to compress raw digital audio by around 60% without losing any data. It’s a widely used format because it’s open source and free to use.

MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3)

This lossy format emerged in 1994 and became the most popular method of compressing raw digital audio for easy downloads. The format skyrocketed with the launch of Apple’s first iPod.

Waveform Audio File (WAV)

This file type contains uncompressed audio in the Pulse-Code Modulation (PCM) format, the digital version of pure analog audio signals. As a result, WAV files are almost always larger than MP3 and AAC files.

Author -

Kevin Parrish has more than a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, and product tester. He began writing about computer hardware and soon branched out to other devices and services such as networking equipment, phones and tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices. His work has appeared in Tom’s Hardware, Tom's Guide, Maximum PC, Digital Trends, Android Authority, How-To Geek, Lifewire, and others. At, he focuses on network equipment testing and review.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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