How Many Songs Does a Gigabyte of Storage Hold?

Music Storage on Phone
Storing music on your portable. Source: Pixabay

These days it's not uncommon for most portable devices to sport large storage capacities that run into several GBs (Gigabytes). This amount of space is ideal for carrying around a good selection of your digital music library along with other types of media files. But, have you ever wondered just how many songs you could potentially carry around with you?

Whether you use an iPhone, iPod or another type of device to play digital music, it's useful to know approximately how many songs you can get on your device.

This frequently asked question comes up a lot and so this article points out what you'll need to take into account in order to arrive at a reasonably accurate estimate. At the end of this guide, you'll also find links to some good online calculators. These are specifically designed to give you an instant estimate on how many songs you'll likely get on your portable.

 So, what are the main considerations you'll need to think about when working this figure out?

Estimating the Number of Songs That Will fit Into a Gigabyte

You may think that there's a simple calculation for working out how many songs fit into each gigabyte of storage space. However, there are a few variables that you will need to consider first in order to arrive at a more realistic number. The main ones being:

Length of Songs

Most of your music library will probably be made up of songs that are on average three to five minutes long.

However, you may have other things in your collection that can skew your estimations such as remixes or digitized 12-inch vinyl singles. These can be significantly longer than the usual song length. This is something you'll have to factor in if your music library has a good portion of songs that exceed the average 3 to the 5-minute mark.

Bitrate and Encoding Method

This factor is probably the biggest consideration you'll need to think about. The bitrate used for encoding a song has a large effect on file size. For example, a song that is encoded at 256 Kbps will have a larger file size than the same song encoded at a bitrate of 128 Kbps. The encoding method can also affect how many songs will fit on your portable -- VBR (Variable Bitrate) for instance typically produces a smaller file when compared to using CBR (Constant Bitrate).

Audio format

Choosing an audio format for your particular portable is also an important factor to consider. MP3 may be the most widely supported audio format, but your device may be able to use an alternative format that produces smaller files. AAC, for example, is regarded as being better than MP3. It typically produces higher quality audio and is more efficient at compression. This could give you more songs per GB than if solely using MP3 alone.

Online Calculators to Work Out Songs Per GB

To help you work out roughly how many songs will fit on your portable, here's a couple of Web-based calculators:

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