In short: Yes, Spotify affects gaming performance (FPS and lag). Technically, the more applications your system is running at once, the more processing power it needs to allocate.
Some gamers prefer to listen to music when playing their favorite games. And since Spotify is arguably the most popular music app, the question remains: does it affect gaming performance?
Does Spotify affect FPS (frames per second)?
Yes, Spotify affects frames per second (FPS). Running Spotify in the background while playing a resource-intensive game can create a larger workload than your hardware can handle.
I’ve noticed that my game has gone from a great FPS (more than 200) down to around less than 30 when a song ends and a new one begins. After 10 seconds, the FPS goes back to normal.
It seems to be random because it doesn’t happen with every song on Spotify. This is mildly annoying when I’m playing because it will just randomly happen whenever Spotify is on.
My theory is that whenever a new song begins on Spotify, it causes a bottleneck that tells my CPU to tell the GPU to render a large number of objects at once.
As a result, my PC draws fewer frames per second.
You can always get a faster CPU, more RAM, or a newer graphics card, but keep in mind that Spotify running in the background will always affect your frames per second (FPS).
Does Spotify cause lag?
Yes, Spotify causes lag. Running Spotify in the background together with a resource-intensive game means your operating system needs more processing power.
I’d really like to listen to music while I’m playing, but I’m unable to because whenever I listen to Spotify, I get several-second lag spikes which are caused by my limited upstream bandwidth.
Spotify apparently uses peer-to-peer technology which uses ALL the bandwidth it can get. It doesn’t even matter what game you’re playing, Spotify will cause lag.
To prove this, I did a simple test.
When switching the song, Spotify network usage spikes between 5-30 Mbps for about a second, which is enough to cause lagging that ruins my gaming performance.
Spotify seems to download the full song when playback is started, so when you are skipping a few songs, spikes appear more frequently, which is really annoying.
Does Spotify affect gaming performance?
Spotify affects gaming performance, plain and simple. The app seems to use all the bandwidth it can get, which causes lag and reduces FPS, especially when a new song begins.
How to improve gaming performance when using Spotify
It’s no secret that Spotify affects gaming performance in a negative way (drops FPS and causes lagging). Here are 4 hacks you can do to improve gaming performance when using Spotify.
1. Disable hardware acceleration on Spotify
To make sure Spotify doesn’t affect gaming performance, disable hardware acceleration. If you turn this off, Spotify will use your CPU instead of the GPU you are using to play a game.
This will disable the use of the graphics processor (GPU) in your computer, which can sometimes solve graphic issues but can also make Spotify slower when redrawing the screen.
Here’s how to turn hardware acceleration off:
- Open the Spotify desktop app.
- Click the three-dot icon at the top left corner.
- Go to Edit > Preferences.
- Scroll to the bottom and click “SHOW ADVANCED SETTINGS”.
- Scroll to the bottom and find the “Enable hardware acceleration”.
- Switch the toggle OFF.
If you’re using macOS, then the process is much faster. Click “Spotify” on the menu bar, and click on “Hardware Acceleration” to toggle the setting on and off.
For this to take effect, you need to restart Spotify.
Hardware acceleration is a setting that allows Spotify to use the computer’s hardware, such as the GPU, to perform functions and processes more efficiently.
Basically, it offloads the work that would otherwise be left to your CPU and the software itself over to the unallocated processing power of your other parts.
It works great if you’re just listening to Spotify, but if you’re playing a game, Spotify will use the GPU you are using to play a game, which will cause lagging and FPS drops.
2. Close Spotify for ranked games
Most operating systems will continue dedicating resources to all background processes. This means you might get less performance if you’re running a demanding app like Spotify.
If you’re playing casual games, Spotify is no problem. But if you’re playing demanding ranked games, the safest option is to close Spotify to make sure it doesn’t cause lag or FPS drops.
3. Run the game as Full Screen Borderless Windowed Mode
Another trick you can do is to run the game using borderless windowed mode.
The game you’re running will look like it’s running in fullscreen mode (since it’s covering your entire screen) but it’s actually just a borderless window.
Since borderless looks like fullscreen, you can’t tell the difference visually. You can access your displays and launch apps, like Spotify, while your game stays on the main display.
4. Use Spotify Web Player on Opera GX
Last but not least, you can also use the Spotify Web Player on Opera GX.
Opera GX is a special version of the Opera browser built specifically for gamers. It is perfect to run Spotify on because it has handy features including the CPU, RAM, and bandwidth limiters.
The RAM Limiter lets you use a slider to define how much memory the browser can use. You can limit it by narrow 0.25GB increments. The CPU Limiter is toggled the same way.
I don’t recommend running Spotify in the background when playing ranked games, but if you are someone who needs to listen to music, using Opera GX is a great alternative.