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Spotify testing low-cost ad-supported tier without restrictions

Currently, you have two choices if you want to use Spotify: pay, or don’t pay. Obviously, to make the former more appealing, the latter has to suffer, so those on the free tier have to deal with unskippable adverts, and considerably less choice about what they’re actually listening to. 

But now Spotify is testing a middle ground, where users can pay a relatively tiny monthly subscription fee to enjoy the same freedom to pick and skip songs as Premium customers with the same unskippable adverts as before.

This new tier – Spotify Plus – appears to be being tested with a small portion of users. It was first spotted by a reader of The Verge, when they were offered it for 99c a month – a tenth of the cost of the regular $9.99 Premium subscription. Given the UK price is £9.99 a month for Premium, it seems likely that this would translate to 99p a month, should the tier ever come to the UK.

That is far from guaranteed, however, as tests are just that: tests. Spotify reiterated this when it confirmed the experimental tier to The Verge, saying that “some tests end up paving the way for new offerings or enhancements while others may only provide learnings.”

Nonetheless, this is a real test, the company confirmed. “We’re always working to enhance the Spotify experience and we routinely conduct tests to inform our decisions. We’re currently conducting a test of an ad-supported subscription plan with a limited number of our users.”

For some, the idea of paying anything for a service that still subjects them to adverts will be a deal breaker. For others, the restrictions of the free tier are the real issue, and being able to pick which song to listen to on demand with unlimited skips for a nominal fee would be a no brainer, ads or no ads.

For Spotify, it’s all about balancing the two: the last thing it wants is for a theoretical 99p tier to draw subscribers from the £9.99 per month offering, after all. If Spotify Plus ever does become a widely available tier, that price might end up being much higher, if the company believes that to be a serious risk.

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