Napster VS Spotify

The first point I would like to make before I start the comparison is that I have been a full subscriber to both services for more than 2 years, and so have had plenty of play time to find strengths & weaknesses with both services. I also used to have a healthy iTunes habit of spending vast amounts of money on albums per month.


Napster by Rhapsody, as it is now called, was the first music service I subscribed to and it opened me up to the world of streaming music.

You have various ways to listen to Napster services: Napster’s dedicated iPhone / iPad app, web browser, and Sonos integration.

I am mainly going to cover Sonos integration, but I will reflect on the other ways to listen to your music, as this may ultimately affect your decision.

If I were to choose only one music service to use with Sonos, I would choose Napster. This is because I like how you find new music, check charts, and the brilliant music channels.

Napster GUI

New music

Napster on Sonos has a dedicated New Releases section with album art and title text (see pics). This is updated every Monday and always has the latest Next Big Thing, as well as a few Napster selections.

Napster GUI


This is how I mainly listen to Napster on Sonos. It is split into categories – the top 100 albums, artists, and top 100 tracks right now. A great way to listen to this is to select the latest 100 tracks right now and to shuffle the selection for an up-to-date music playlist.

Music channels

There are hundreds of music channels available, ranging from hip hop to 60s classics, to dinner party, or the lazy days channel. The choice is excellent with something for everyone. When you select one of these channels, the choice is random but there is the ability to skip tracks, and they will play as long as you would like.

Napster GUI


Another useful feature is when you can find an album you like, you can add it to your Napster library - this will then be available on all devices, for example you add a album to your Napster library at work on your iPhone. When you return home, it will be avaliable on your Sonos system.

Web browser

For me, this is Napster’s weakest point as the interface feels a bit sluggish and the music player sometimes takes a while to play even with a fast internet connection. On the plus side, there are some very good playlists that Napster publishes, and music discovery is quite good. Of course, anything saved here into your library will be available on your Sonos system or Napster iPhone / iPad app.

iPhone / iPad apps

These have been recently updated and are much improved, with music genre and choice using a Windows tile effect with album and artist artwork. Your music library is also available here, so for example if you saved an album on your Sonos system, it will be available on your iPhone. There is also the download option; this enables you to download content so if your phone is in aeroplane mode or you don't want to use your month's worth of data in a day then it saves albums, songs, and playlists onto your iPhone’s memory.

Multiple streams

This is a massive strength over Spotify when using Sonos, and other devices. For example, if one of your family members was listening to Napster through one of your home Sonos players and you were at the gym and decided to listen to Napster, both would carry on playing. If you were using Spotify, it would only allow one account to be streaming music at any given time, so if 2 different devices try to play content, it will automatically pause one of the streams.


With Sonos integration, if you are a Spotify user, the interface will instantly look familiar with playlists, Starred, New Releases, Top Tracks and Inbox taps for instant access.


These will mirror playlists you have created on your iPhone / iPad or PC, and Spotify have recently added the ability to make a playlist on the Sonos app which will then be available on all your devices. NEW UPDATE: Sonos now allows you to create playlists within their own app, and these playlists will then show on all your other devices.


This is Spotify’s way of letting the listener quickly star a track for easy access later. I love this feature, and it works well when browsing tracks as you can quickly star them, and later go back and add them to a relevant playlist. This is a feature that really gets used day to day, and certainly one that Napster could do with.

New Releases

This is where you can find the latest albums & singles, and this has a good selection from well-known artists as well as a few that you might never have heard of, but who are normally worth a listen.

Napster GUI

Top Tracks

This is an up-to-date playlist with the most played songs on Spotify at present.


This is where your friends can send you tracks they think you may like to listen to. You can integrate Spotify with Facebook to easily connect with your friends.

iPhone / iPad apps

This is definitely a win for Spotify here, as the apps are very easy to use, with great user-friendly interfaces. Saving playlists offline is easy to implement, and it allows you to save tracks to your phone’s memory to save data charges.

PC / Mac

This, for me, is the best way to find and organise your music collection. It is a dedicated app and not run through a web browser, which speeds music playback up. It also allows you to add tracks from iTunes and other music collections to your Spotify playlists. These can then be downloaded to your phone via the Spotify app, and it works very well.

Napster VS Spotify: CONCLUSION

It is a tough decision to make, but based on our experience and requirements, I would choose Spotify over Napster. It works well for me as I find music on my Spotify PC to add albums and make playlists. I then download playlists direct to my iPhone and make edits if needed, and all these changes are available instantly on my Sonos system. The Sonos experience would benefit from a music channel selection like Napster, although I do think that the Spotify radio feature will make its way to the Sonos app in the future.

That said, if you plan to have various family members using an online music service, Napster is the only way to go with its 5 streams of audio available at one time. This allows Dad to be listening to The Beatles in the lounge, Mum to be listening to Rod Stewart in the kitchen, and the children listening to Jessie J in the playroom. Please excuse the cliché music selections! But this really is a great feature, and one some families will definitely require.


Smart Home Sounds is a UK Sonos specialist. We provide expert advice on the full Sonos range, from a single Play:1 to a full Sonos surround system with Playbar, Sub, and Play 1's.

All our blogs are written in conjuction with our sister site Play Audio.