Is SoundCloud sound quality better than YouTube?

SoundCloud is like YouTube for audio sound tracks where you can upload, share and embed your music and it is also free to use up to a limit of 180 minutes. A pro account subscription allows four hours of uploads for $6 per month or $55 per year. A user who wants unlimited usage without any upload limit is billed $15 per month annually. Or $19.95 per month which is billed monthly. These accounts allow more downloads and let their users highlight five sound tracks on the top of their profiles. Besides this, they can also make their statistics and comments private by turning on the quite mode.

Soundcloud does not pay for streams and if you want to get paid for streams, you will have to partner up with Sound Exchange and get your music licensed. This way Soundcloud is more of a sharing medium than a selling medium. However, if you include the buy button then you can link it to iTunes.

YouTube is a platform where videos can be shared along with audios with a much larger audience and it can be monetized as well. It is difficult to find out the exact amount paid to artists for featuring their sound tracks on YouTube due to a non-disclosure agreement signed by them, but apparently it isn’t too much. YouTube does not have performance rights agreement with their service all around the world; therefore many of the views actually do not contribute to the reward. So, it doesn’t really matter if a song is popular or not because it will bring little difference for the reward sum as the video streaming company has to pay a substantial sum for getting the song licensed. 

If you generate enough views on YouTube, you can become a premium partner and earn profit through advertising on YouTube. Although YouTube is a very popular medium among the masses and very useful in sharing music but one can’t expect a lot of profit from it. 

Now, let us have a look at the pros and cons of SoundCloud and YouTube:



  • It has a large catalogue of music which has a variety from where you can choose covers, recordings and mixes of sound tracks.
  • As anybody can upload content to YouTube, therefore it has content ranging from remixes of famous songs to hour lengthy mixes.
  • Most of this content is not available on other music streaming services.thermoplastics
  • YouTube gets customised according to your choices; it gives you really good music suggestions based on the songs you play.
  • It allows endless music streaming services.
  • There are multiple frontends available for YouTube, for example Chrome extensions like Streamus and Upnext, Web apps like The Parade, and desktop apps like Atraci are all powered by YouTube. They offer additional features and convenience.


  • The YouTube music app allows you to stream music videos as well as the audios of the songs in studio versions whereas this feature is not available in the normal YouTube app or in its website.
  • You have to subscribe to YouTube Red for $9.99 per month in order to get ad-free service.
  • Musical playlists can be saved for offline use in the YouTube music app only. This way it gets very confusing because this service requires using different apps of YouTube along with a website and subscription in order to get the full of YouTube music.
  • Lots of ads in the middle of songs are way too annoying because some of them can be skipped while others cannot.
  • YouTube pays very small amount to artists based on the number of plays as compared to spotify.
  • YouTube does not allow to monetize ambient music sound tracks.



  • It gives recommendations and links based on what you are listening. It is present in the sidebar.
  • You can also follow people who have similar tastes to you in music and when they will mark a song as their favourite, you will get notified about it.
  • When an artist uploads a new sound track, you can get notified immediately if you are subscribed to them.
  • It is free to use and if you don’t want to create an account on it, that’s totally up to you.
  • You can download as much music as you want to but if you want to upload large numbers of audios, then there are paid options available for that.
  • New music and trending music can be filtered and customised based on your preferences.
  • Some sound tracks are first released on Soundcloud before being release on any other platform.
  • Music that is licensed under Creative Commons can be found easily on SoundCloud.


  • There are many bugs in the SoundCloud Interface due to which you can face notification reminder issues.
  • It does not let you do advanced search.
  •  The sponsored sound tracks have audio advertisements in between which can be annoying.

Next, let’s have a look at the specifications of YouTube and SoundCloud:


Offline download partially allowed

Available platforms Android/iOS/Web

Top labels SME/WMG/UMG


User-created Playlists Allowed

Available platforms Android/Web

Sharing of playlists Allowed

Audio quality 64kbs for free and 256kbs for paid

Subscription charges 99 Euros yearly

Talking about the sound quality, generally speaking YouTube sound quality changes with the video quality. If you switch the video quality to a better one, it improves the sound quality as well.

But as YouTube is broadly a video platform as compared to SoundCloud which is specifically built for audio tracks, therefore, we can expect better sound quality from SoundCloud which has an expertise in the audio it offers.

SoundCloud offers high quality streaming which has a format encoded in 256 kbps AAC that is equivalent to an mp3 recording encoded in 320 kbps. Those sound tracks are available for high quality streaming that are uploaded at lossless or high bitrate. But this high quality streaming is available only to those users that are subscribed to SoundCloud Go+.  After you have subscribed, you can also download high quality tracks to listen offline, whether you are an android user or an iOS user. If you are using iOS, click on the library option and then on settings. Choose the download option and then download high quality audio option.

To enable high quality streaming, open your SoundCloud app on your desktop and go to the settings tab, then choose the high quality audio option present under the settings tab. If you are using SoundCloud on iOS, open the app and go to your library. You will see three tiny dots in the right corner at the top of the page. Click on it and go to the settings page and choose streaming quality. Next choose high quality audio. And if you are an android user, go to the app and click on the symbol at the bottom right. A ‘More’ page will open from where you can access the settings. Next, choose audio quality option and then high quality audio option to enable high quality streaming on your android.

If you are an artist who uploads sound tracks and wants them to be in high quality, then keep in mind that only those files that have been uploaded in a high quality format with no losses, for example .flac, .wav, .alac, .aiff, will be encoded into the high quality format of SoundCloud.