Spotify today announced, via their blog, about some radical changes that will impact the way you enjoy Spotify.
In a nutshell, the streaming music service, is cutting back on their offering to those that use the free version of Spofity.
Here is the skinny on the changes:
- New Spotify users will be able to enjoy unrivalled free service as it is today for the first 6 months.
- As of May 1st, any user who signed up to the free service on or before November 1st 2010 will be able to play each track for free up to a total of 5 times. Users who signed up after the beginning of November will see these changes applied 6 months after the time they set up their Spotify account.
- Additionally, total listening time for free users will be limited to 10 hours per month after the first 6 months. That’s equivalent to around 200 tracks or 20 albums.
And the justification for making the changes:
The changes we’re having to make will mainly affect heavier Spotify Free and Open users, as most of you use Spotify to discover music – on average over 50 new tracks per month, even after a year. Plus, the average user won’t reach the limit on plays for 7 out of 10 tracks, after a year of using Spotify. For those of you using Spotify to find new tracks to enjoy and share with friends, these changes shouldn’t get in the way of you doing that. Rest assured that we’ll continue to bring you the biggest and most diverse music catalogue available.
If you believe you will hit the limits, you can opt in for Spotify Premium and avail of a 7 day free trial. Premium will run you €/£9.99 per month after your trial ends. If you sign-up in the next few days you can avail of an introductory 30 day free trial (more info on the 30 day free trial will appear on the Spotify blog in the coming days).
Spotify has approximately 1 million paying users while more than 10 million (mainly in Europe) use Spotify’s ad-supported free version. The aim of his move is to push some of the 10 million freeloaders onto one of Spotify’s paid versions. How many will migrate? We will have to wait and see.
It’s hard to know who pushed for this move. It could be a mixture of pressure from the labels, a lack of advertising revenue from the free-version, a lack of free users upgrading to the free version, or it may have been the plan all along. But whatever the reason, the end goal is, as always, to make money.
In 2010 Spotify paid out approximately $45 million to music labels for content licensing.
It’s always a difficult decision for a company to risk the backlash of their users by introducing changes to how they use a service, especially when you pretty much have a free reign and didn’t have to pay for the service. But if this is Spotify’s best move to start making money and to improve their service and reach; it gets the thumbs up from me.