How Much Data Does Music Streaming Use? (iHeartRadio vs Pandora vs Spotify)

Short Answer

The amount of data you consume when streaming depends on things such as the quality of songs and for how long you listen. While iHeartRadio streams music at 128kbps, Spotify offers songs at between 96kbps to 320kbps, and on Pandora, your music streaming will be between 64k AAC+ and 192kbps for paid service.

You may sometimes get free wi-fi to stream everything from music you last heard 10 years ago to one that you probably heard just a few minutes ago or something in between, but the truth is that data is expensive. Everything you do on the internet takes part of your data and one of the things that take away data more than most other things is music streaming.

What is even more, is that there are some streaming sites that consume more data than others based on the rate at which you stream music which is calculated in Killobyte per second. Calculating the Kb you use per second into minutes and then hours, can reveal the amount of data in kilobytes, megabyte, or even gigabyte, that you consume streaming music from different websites.

How Much Data Does Music Streaming Use?

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As indicated above, the service you choose can get you to either use more data when streaming or less. The good news is that there are many services that you can choose from including iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Spotify.


iHeartRadio is a very popular platform that broadcasts live radio stations, podcasts, and many songs for streaming. Founded only in 2010, the services it offers are free.

The data consumption here is pretty straightforward as iHeartRadio only streams at a single bitrate of 128Kbps. What this simply means is that you get to consume close to 58MB per hour and streaming for over 17 hours will cost you a gigabyte of data.

While this is not the best in data consumption, it is also not the worst. Instead, it puts you somewhere in the mid-range when compared to what you get with other streaming services.


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Also referred to as Pandora Internet Radio, this service also offers internet radio services while it is also a music streaming platform. Started in 2000, this is completely different from iHeartRadio when it comes to the amount of data that you use. This is simply because the data used here depends on whether you are a paid subscriber or you are using the services for free.

If you are listening for free on this platform, you will stream at 64k AAC+. However, if you are using a paid subscription, you will stream at a higher 192kbps.

Another thing that counts when you are using Pandora apart from whether it is paid or for free is whether you are playing from the site itself or if you are using the app. With the app, you will get to stream at 64k AAC+ but that may change based on your device and your network strength. To avoid too much consumption of data, what you may want to do is to uncheck the “Higher Quality Audio” box on the app.

If you are playing music on 192kbps, you will spend more data than streaming 128Kbps on iHeartRadio. However, 64Kbs will get you spending less data, however, the quality of the audio may slightly reduce.


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Spotify is strictly a music streaming platform that offers paid subscription services.

With Spotify, it is even much more different as it allows you to select the quality of music that you want and it is by this that your data is consumed. The platform has a standard rate of 96Kbs per second which is rather good.

If what you are looking for is a much higher quality, Spotify gives you the option of streaming at as much as 320Kbps which although will naturally give you the best in terms of audio quality, will also cost you so much in terms of data.

iHeartRadio vs Pandora vs Spotify music streaming

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Placing the three music streaming platforms together, Pandora delivers the lowest data consumption at only 64Kbps. With this setting, you will get to spend only 30MB per hour and 300MB in 10 hours. What this simply means is that you can stream music for 24 hours without exhausting 1Gb of data.

On the other hand, Spotify takes the place of the highest data-consuming platform but that is only when you set the data usage to 320Kbps. With that setting, you will be consuming almost a massive 150MB in an hour. This means that in only 10 hours, you will be spending a massive 1.5Gb.

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In between the two, iHeartRadio’s 128Kbps will have you using 57.6MB per hour as pointed above while if you set your Spotify to use 160KBS, you will spend 70MB per hour, 700MB in 10 hours and 1.4GB in 20 hours.

In summary, here is the approximate data that you will consume for each hour based on the data setting you are using:

  • 96kbps = 43MB
  • 128kbps = 58MB
  • 160kbps = 72MB
  • 256kbps = 115MB
  • 320kbps = 144MB


Apart from the above services, there are many others that give different data usage. However, Spotify is among the services consuming the least data. It is important to note that while a lower data usage will reduce cost, the quality of music will also reduce when the data is low. For example, streaming at 64kbps will deliver significantly less quality than streaming at 320Kb music.

More Questions About Music Streaming

Which music streaming app uses the least data?

As indicated above, Pandora and Spotify is one of the least data consuming music streaming app. Nonetheless, it is also among the highest when your setting is on extreme quality.

The normal data consumption of Spotify is 96Kps, 160Kbs is the high setting, while 320Kbs is the extreme.

What music apps don’t use data?

There are some streaming services that allow you to listen to music without data such as iHeartRadio (Android app and iOS), Pandora (Android app and iOS), Spotify for Android, and SoundCloud for Android among others.

How much data does Spotify use per song?

This depends on your settings because if you are a premium member who is streaming music on 320Kbps, a 5-minute song will use 12 MB. The data you use decreases with your setting or may go higher with the same setting and a song that plays for over 5 minutes.

How long does it take to use 1gb of data?

The time it takes to use 1GB of data as seen above, depends on what you are streaming. When streaming at 320Kbps, you will reach 1GB in only 10 hours, and when on 96Kpbs, you will use up the same amount of data in over 24 hours.


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