Spotify is a P2P application and so I assume it uses quite a bit of network traffic downloading and sharing tracks. Can a Spotify guru tell me if it does this only when the player is in use (eg when you are browsing or play tracks) or all the time?


Being a P2P application, it will be using network traffic when:

  • You are requesting data from peers
  • Peers are requesting data from you

so even if you aren't listening yourself, you could be uploading to other users.

To quote the Spotify wiki article:

The contents of each client's cache is summarized in an index which is sent to the Spotify stream hub upon connecting to the service. This index is then used to inform other clients about additional peers they can connect to for fetching streamed data for individual tracks being played. This is accommodated by each client, upon startup, acting as a server listening for incoming connections from other Spotify users, as well as intuitively connecting to other users to exchange cached data as appropriate. There are currently no official details from the developers about how many connections and how much of a user's upstream bandwidth the Spotify client will use when streaming to other users; the Spotify client offers no way for the user to configure this, but this may change in the future. Audio streams are in the Vorbis format at q5 (approx ~160 kbit/s), or optional q9 (approx ~320kbit/s) for premium subscribers, the highest streaming rate for any online service.

  • so as long as the tray icon is there it could be streaming to others? – McBainUK Dec 11 '09 at 11:24
  • 2
    you are correct – John T Dec 11 '09 at 15:40
  • Spotify seems to have phased out its P2P method. Source: techcrunch.com/2014/04/17/… – Kenston Choi Nov 25 '19 at 3:12

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