Have you ever gone to play a downloaded song in the Spotify App only to find out it no longer exists? What gives? Read on to know how downloaded music expires and how to keep it forever.
Spotify Premium users can download any song from the vast music library for offline listening.
Offline listening is among the best features of Spotify music. As this feature is not available to Spotify‘s free users, it’s among the top reason to pay $9.99 for a Premium plan.
A Spotify Premium account is the easiest way to download music and retain access to it from your computer or mobile. However, it only works if you continue the monthly subscription. But we often hear a common complaint – the downloaded songs “disappear.”
“I had dozens of Spotify downloads and offline songs that simply disappeared. There are no longer on my computer. What happened to my downloads and can I get them back?”
So, why do Spotify downloads disappear? Is there something you can do to prevent this? To start with, there are a handful of reasons it could happen. The most obvious one is canceling your monthly subscription. You lose all downloads when you are downgraded to the free version.
But we’ll address that and other reasons why downloads expire in more detail. We also talk about how to fix or resolve these issues and ways to permanently keep Spotify downloads.
Do Spotify downloads expire?
Spotify downloads expire if a) you cancel or fail to make a payment on your monthly subscription or b) after 30 days if you don’t go online with Spotify. You must log in to use your Spotify account at least once during the 30-day billing cycle.
If you fail to do so, Spotify will automatically remove or deleted all the songs you downloaded for offline listening on your device.
The app needs to connect to the Spotify server, and this can become a problem when you are traveling. We’ve discussed that in detail here.
Secondly, users who cancel Spotify premium are reverted to the ad-based free plan at the end of the billing cycle. They lose all downloads when the plan expires and will not see the download feature in the free version.
They also lose previously downloaded content for offline listening.
Do you own and keep downloaded songs from Spotify?
Spotify users do not own the songs or the right to keep downloads from Spotify Premium. Access to content is temporary, and valid until you have an active subscription. Simply put, you can access downloads on Spotify only if you continue paying the monthly fee.
Spotify Downloads: Format and Limitations
First off, the songs you download from Spotify are encoded in an open-source format called Ogg Vorbis for streaming. It is a two-decade-old audio codec technology that no one else favors anymore.
Other music streaming services use lossless or AAC file formats .
The quality of the files (read: bitrate) is generally at 320 kbps for Premium users. That said, ‘lossy’ files use variable bit-depth.
But there is no point in going into the technical details of that at the moment. It sounds perfectly fine unless you are a high-toned audiophile.
Secondly, and more importantly, downloaded music is stored as common or cache files on your device. Cache data is stored temporarily on a mobile or desktop to reduce load times for future listening. However, you can only open downloaded music files using the Spotify client (app).
Songs downloaded from Spotify for offline listening won’t work in an MP3 player like VLC.
Does Spotify premium let you keep downloaded songs?
Spotify Premium does not let you keep downloaded songs after your Premium Plan (subscription) expires. Your account will be reverted to a free version if you cancel Spotify premium or fail to renew it. You instantly lose access to the downloaded songs and content.
Again, Spotify songs are stored as cache files on a mobile, tablet, or desktop. It is not the same as an MP3 file. You can access the Spotify common files only by using a Spotify client (mobile or desktop app) and an active Premium plan.
For more information about downloading music from Spotify take a look at this YouTube video.
That means you can listen to downloaded songs in Spotify’s Offline mode, but that’s it. There is a workaround to it if you wish to keep or listen to downloaded music without the Spotify App using a music converter software. We will discuss that in the next section.
How to download Spotify songs for free?
At heart, this question – how to download Spotify songs for free – translates to ‘how to download Spotify songs without a Premium Plan.’ In other words, how can you rip music and save it permanently on a desktop or mobile?
Downloading music on Spotify is simple. Search a playlist that you wish to save for offline listening. Click the down-facing arrow (icon) on iPhone or the download button on Android next to the song or playlist. Wait for the song to download and enjoy it anytime, anywhere.
That being said, Spotify itself doesn’t allow you to download songs for free i.e. without a Premium Plan. Even the downloads you make via Spotify are temporary i.e. valid only as long as you pay the monthly subscription free. And, you don’t own these songs at any point.
Neither Spotify nor its users own the copyright to the music available on the app. They are obligated to protect the copyright and do so by encoding songs in an OGG Vorbis format.
That means no user – free or Premium – can play downloaded music on common devices like MP3 players. The only way to do this is you find a good way to rip music from Spotify to MP3 (at 320 Kbps) using special software. This software goes by many names, some of which are:
- A Spotify ripper
- Audio Capture Software
- Music Converter Software
#1 Use a 3rd party Audio Capture or Music Converter Tool
To permanently keep Spotify downloads, you need to find, download, and use a third–party audio recorder or music converter software (or shareware). A music converter can either capture the audio, record the song, or rip it and store it on your mobile or PC in MP3 format.
These are third-party hacks to download Spotify songs for offline playback on common devices, wearables, and more. Additionally, they support input formats from Spotify, Deezer, YouTube, or any audio from the internet.
The audio quality is great with no quality loss. But the quality of the rip depends on the version of the music converter software you use. It can be free, paid, or freemium – a free trial with limited features with an option to buy the full version.
Here are three recommendations for the best Spotify MP3 converters to check out:
Spotify Ripper: Also known as the Cinch audio recorder, it is available for Windows and Mac and is legal as long as you use the music for personal use. You can use it to download streaming music to MP3 with an automatic ID3 tagger (artist and title) while retaining 100% audio quality.
TunesKit Audio Recorder: Available for Windows and Mac, you can use this multi-track audio recorder to capture any sound and convert it to MP3, Wav, AAC, M4A, M4B, and FLAC with original quality. TunesKit has a built-in ID3 tagger and audio editing features. They offer a free trial, but you need to pay $29.95 to $69.95 for a lifetime license.
AlltoMP3: This needs 115 megabytes and works for Mac, PC, and Linux. It allows you to download music from Soundcloud, Youtube, or Spotify and convert it into MP3. The audio quality is comparatively low but it’s one of the few options for Linux users.
Note that some software may require you to download a cracked Spotify version.
#2 Use a free Spotify music ripping software:
Free software alludes to online tools to rip Spotify music for one time. It’s the only option for people unwilling to pay for the process. Unfortunately, free versions seldom have lossless audio and are rife with bugs in the ripping process.
In most cases, they have severe limitations, and the quality is nowhere close to the paid versions. You can get the job done with a free DAW (like Audacity) but it can get complicated if you have no experience with music production.
So, we’ll leave that method out of our list for now.
#3 Use a Spotify Downloader Chrome Extension
Alternately, you can also use a “Spotify Downloader” Google Chrome extension to rip music from Spotify for free. Go to the Chrome Web Store and search for the term “Spotify Downloader.” Select the one you like, install it, and launch it.
Once activated, the extension displays a ‘Download’ button beside the tracks. You can download songs to your computer and listen to them without the Spotify desktop app. Playlist Converter and Web Music Downloader are a few popular extensions in this category.
Hopefully, this post has shed light on why Spotify downloads disappear altogether and what you can do to remedy or prevent it.
We haven’t addressed songs greyed out from your Spotify Playlists (free or premium version). That’s a different matter we’ll address in the future.
Check our other articles on where your Spotify downloads are stored (link to where does Spotify download article), what happens to the Spotify downloads if you cancel the subscription and whether you can listen to the Spotify downloads without a Premium subscription.