The Data Accounting of Music Streaming

I stream music all day at work. I do this because I can’t work without music – and if I had to, I think I’d lose my mind. I am aware that this is a bit petty, but I know a few other people who are the same. If I can get into the zone, with an album or playlist that grabs me, I can work endlessly for hours and hours. Sometimes, it’s the only way I can work.

It got me thinking though; how much bandwidth am I eating through? I don’t stream on my phone, just through the computer. So, what’s the damage?

Let’s assume each song is 320kbps. That’s the highest bit rate that I can get on MP3s, and I am assuming that Spotify and Google Play stream at that (despite it probably not being as high as that). Another assumption: I play music for 5 hours a day. I did say 100% of my day, but with meetings and such, 30 hours a week seems a fair assumption.

As an aside, once you realise how much time you have available to listen to music, you realise that it’s finite – even if I tried, there is a limit as to how much music I can listen to in my life. Woah. Weird to think like that.

So, assuming that it is 320kbps, that is 40,000 bytes per second. 5 hours converted to seconds is 5 x 60 x 60 = 18,000 seconds. So, if I play music every day for 5 hours it is 720,000,000 bytes per day. This converts to 0.686Gb a day of data streamed.

We can scale it up too – assuming I work 5 days a week, with seven weeks off a year, we can take that 0.686Gb and scale it!

0.686Gb x 5 x (52 – 7) = 154495Mb, or 150.87Gb a year.


That’s quite a lot of data, eh?

UPDATE Thanks to Hyder for pointing out that I'd done the maths right, and converted the units right, but tripped up when actually putting the units down. I'd typed Mb rather than Gb for the data streamed in a day.