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Spotify Cuts Amount Of Free Music Available

David Gilbert


Spotify Cuts Amount Of Free Music Available

Spotify is pretty great. Whether you’re paying a subscription or happy to put up with a few ads every now and then for free music, most people who use the service are content. News today however that Spotify plans on halving the amount of free music you can listen to every month will certainly upset a lot of the non-paying members.

The announcement came today on Spotify’s blog which detailed how things are going to change. For users who signed up before 1 November last year (six months ago), from 1 May they will be limited to listening to 10 hours of music a month (half the previous 20 hours) and only be able to listen to one track, five times. For new users this limited usage will only kick in after six months. The changes will obviously anger a lot of users and already on the comment section of its blog, users are venting ire with geekermo saying: “Bye bye Spotify” and vanderdecken adding: “Ah well, it was nice while it lasted. That's me over to Grooveshark/YouTube/piracy. Which is a shame, because Spotify had by far the best features and interface."

While non-paying users will obviously see this as a move towards getting everyone to pay for the service, Spotify has denied this. Ken Parks, Spotify's chief content officer, told the BBC: "Our chief priority is to keep the free service, which is what has made Spotify so popular. We're a company whose ambition is to offer all the world's music to everyone which means growing the business and our user base to many times its current size. Everything we do is designed to ensure our users continue to have access to an amazing free experience."

Last month Spotify passed the one million paying subscribers mark but that still leaves over 5.5 million non-paying subscribers, most of whom Spotify say use the service to “discover music - on average over 50 new tracks per month, even after a year." But it added that while it believes the new limits will be enough for most people, it added: "For anyone who thinks they might reach these limits, we hope you'll consider checking our our Unlimited and Premium services."

We’re not sure how many people this cut will affect but if you’re a Spotify user let us know whether these new limits will affect you or make you consider paying for the Premium or Unlimited services.

Source: Spotify


April 14, 2011, 9:31 pm

I pay for Premium, but I think this is a mistake personally. Sure, put annoying ads in there, but limiting to 10 hours? Bit harsh!


April 14, 2011, 10:53 pm

But it may lead to a spread of Spotify to other countries. Danish technology blog beep.dk speculates that this may open up the service to Denmark. Previously the service has been kept out by the rights holders KODA, since they did not fancy the free-model (perhaps they prefer that people pirate the music?).

Since I personally would use Spotify with my Squeezebox and mobile phone, I would get a premium account anyway.

Besides, I am not sure if the free model is really viable. If I remember correctly Norwegian artist have complained about getting paid very little for an extreme number of plays.


April 15, 2011, 1:17 am

Meh, I'm not fussed, Spotify was quite convenient but now I'll just have to try a competitor.


April 15, 2011, 3:17 am

I only registered for spotify today, off the back of this publicity. I have to say its a very good service. Superb way to find new music. But I certainly wont be relying on it for most of my music listening. 10 hours should be more than enough I think.


April 15, 2011, 12:32 pm

Can't say i'm too bothered, hadn't even realised there was a 20 hr limit.

Probably use a couple of hours a month at the very most, if they got rid of free access completely i'd just delete it.

Bought a few albums on the basis of checking them out on Spotify first, albums i'd not have taken a risk on otherwise.

Tried Grooveshark but don't like the way the albums are uploaded by users - too much duplication, and the legality is a concern.


April 15, 2011, 2:40 pm

I love Spotify and have been a Premium user for a while. Its exactly the way i want to listen to music, and i use it every day.

Premium users still have the ability to create invites for Spotify. I always thought that the invites created made old skool style 'Free' accounts. Allowing users ad supported unlimited listening. Can anyone confirm this?

I'd like to think this is the case, as it is another bonus for Premium users and a plus for anyone who has a friend with Premium.


April 15, 2011, 7:36 pm

@Jesper: Yep, TONO's not happy about how much artists are paid per play (TONO's our equivalent of your KODA). Plenty of people have tried to explain to them that they should think about it in terms of the equivalent of the amount-per-listener they'd get from radio plays, but they either don't get it or choose not to clarify things to the artistes.

@JimmyDeemo: It doesn't make a difference. I have one of the old Spotify Free accounts, and they're not exempt from this change.

I'm not too troubled by the 10-hours-per-month limit, but the five-plays-per-song limit is annoying. I suppose it's a way to push people to buy songs they like. They really should have introduced a family account along with this change - my wife and I both use the service, and have one paid and one free account between us. Paying for two accounts doesn't seem to be worth it. I'm sure many others are in a similar situation.


April 15, 2011, 8:01 pm

Of course, by restricting listener hours per month they are also effectively raising the advertising CPM. Be interesting to know if they have dropped their advertising rates or are increasing the ad-break frequency as a result. If I was an advertiser I certainly wouldn't to happy with this announcement.


April 16, 2011, 1:00 am

@ShaunB, I listen to Spotify for free a lot at work... maybe 2 hours a day. I think I can count the unique non-Spotify adverts I hear in any one day on one hand. I don't think the ad revenue for free subscribers could have amounted to much. I'd be amazed if it was anywhere near comparable to a popular commercial radio station, and yet this was one where you could choose your own music!

Either way, I only use Spotify as an auditioning platform and then buy the CD for artists that I want to support, and frequently after I'd listened to a particular album to death on Spotify anyway.

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