1GB can generally hold around 300 songs, which translates to roughly 16.5 hours of audio. Of course, this can increase or decrease based on variables like runtime, bitrate, and format.
Hi, I’m Devansh. I’ve always been a music lover. Unfortunately, before streaming services were the norm, I struggled to fit my enormous music library into limited storage drives and had to find clever ways to use the available space as efficiently as possible.
In this article, I’ll give you an approximation of how many songs you can fit into 1GB, then I’ll go through three factors that can affect song file size. I’ll also answer a few relevant technical questions that can save you hours of Googling.
If you have an old MP3 player lying around that you’d like to put to use or just want a general idea of how many songs you can load up in a few remaining gigs on a device, keep reading!
How Many Songs Can 1GB Hold?
Now for the million dollar question. Since MP3 is the most popular audio format out there, that’s the one I’ll discuss in this section. Songs with a bitrate of 128 kbit/s, which are considered mid-range in quality, can take roughly 1MB per minute of runtime.
If you’re looking into more high-quality songs with a bitrate of 192 or 256 kbit/s, that can increase to 2MB per minute of runtime and beyond. With the average song length on the Billboard Hot 100 chart being around three minutes and thirty seconds (source), that can end up being 3.30MB per song.
That boils down to around 310 songs in 1GB at 128 kbit/s, which is the most widespread bitrate. Armed with this knowledge, let’s take the example of a smartphone with 1GB of free space and put this data into a real-world user perspective.
- First comes the most popular genres of music, mainly pop, EDM, and Deep House. As I stated before, these generally average out at around three minutes and thirty seconds. Running with a bitrate of 128 kbit/s, you’ll be able to fit around 310 tracks or about 16.5 hours of nonstop music.
- On the other hand, what if listening to symphonies by Mozart, Chopin, or Tchaikovsky is your jam? Most symphonies are about an hour to ninety minutes long. At 128 kbit/s, you can fit around sixteen symphonies in total.
- If you’re more of a podcast person, 128 kbit/s binaural audio is a bit overkill. Instead, I’m going to assume you use 64 kbit/s monaural audio instead, which is good enough for this purpose. That way, you’ll be able to store roughly 32 episodes with an average runtime of an hour.
Of course, runtime is only one of the major factors affecting song file size. There are also two others. Let’s discuss all three in the next section.
Factors that Affect Song File Size
If the terms I talked about above had you scratching your head, you’ll find the right explanation in this section. Don’t worry, I’ll make it as easy to understand as possible. Keeping these terms in mind could help you maximize the number of songs you can store in one gigabyte.
As I stated before, most pop songs these days clock in at around three minutes and thirty seconds. So, that’s a good average to go by. However, almost nobody just has pop songs on their playlist. You might mix in some classical symphonies, some old-school dubstep, and some ‘80s R&B.
This could mix and skew your preconceived estimations, so it can vary. Naturally, this isn’t really something you can (or even should) control. However, just keep it in mind.
If your head was spinning when I mentioned all those ‘kbit/s’ values before, you’ll get your answer here. ‘Bitrate’ basically refers to the amount of data being transferred into an audio file.
Consequently, this affects the song size to a large degree. Other factors remain the same, a song encoded at 320 kbit/s will always take up more space than one encoded at 256 or 128 kbit/s. Of course, this higher storage size also reflects in the acoustic properties of the song.
As I said before, MP3 is the most prevalent audio format. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the only one you can use. There are more efficient formats out there that have a smaller file size but still maintain higher audio quality. AAC is one of the best.
Since it takes up less space and generally sounds more refined than an MP3 song at the same bitrate, it’s used by many platforms like Apple Music (source). So, when possible, try to test out other audio formats too, since they can give you the best of both worlds – sounding awesome while taking up less space on your drive.
At this point in the article, you probably know more about audio files than most people ever will. However, we’ve only just scratched the surface. So, here are three common questions you might be curious about.
What is the Best Cloud Storage Service With Built-in Music Player?
When it comes to storing music, pCloud stands above all else thanks to its built-in music player available for Android, iOS, and Web. There’s a dedicated “Audio” section where all your audio files will be added automatically. In addition to that, playlists are also available for easy organization, along with ‘Shuffle’ and ‘Repeat’ modes. It’s the next best thing to a full-fledged streaming service!
The MP3 audio format is popular for supporting tags and album art, which can add extra padding to file sizes. Although it’s possible to get rid of them manually using Windows Explorer or Finder, it’s better to use a tool like MP3tag or Picard to do it instead. Both are completely free and make the process a breeze.
What is the Best Tool to Resize MP3s?
When shaving off some MBs from your tracklist, you first need to determine what bitrate you’d be happy with. Once that’s decided, you can use the Format Options window in Audacity, or 123apps’ Online Audio Converter to adjust the bitrate between 64, 128, 192, and 320 kbit/s. These options also work for WAV, M4A, and FLAC formats.
All in all, you can store around 300 songs in 1GB. This depends on runtime, the quality of the songs, and the format. If it’s a mish-mash of all kinds of music, you can expect it to increase or decrease a bit accordingly.
As you might know, each song has its own unique magic, so deleting it is always a tough choice. However, never compress it below a reasonable bitrate. That will lower its size, but it will also take the fun and groove out of it by making it sound rough and distorted.
Instead, if you need to stuff more songs into a limited amount of storage space, I’d recommend you try out a cloud storage service or expand the available storage space using an SD card or an external storage drive.
What system or tool do you use to manage your music library in the most efficient way? Share your answer with me in the comments!