Spotify halves free music allowance

14 Apr 2011

Music service Spotify has revealed it plans to cut back on the amount of free listening available to users from 20 down to 10 hours. Non-subscribers will be permitted to listen to an individual track a maximum five times.

The new restrictions for non-subscribers will come into play on 1 May. The music streaming service, which has more than 1m paying subscribers, is clearly on a monetisation drive.

Until now, non-subscribers could listen to music so long as they listened to ads.

Last month, Spotify hit the 1m paying subscribers mark.

Spotify’s Daniel Ek said: “New Spotify users will be able to enjoy our unrivalled free service as it is today for the first six months.

The day the music dies

“As of 1 May, 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 five times. Users who signed up after the beginning of November will see these changes applied six 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 six months. That’s equivalent to around 200 tracks or 20 albums.”

He said the changes will mainly effect 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 seven 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,” Ek promised.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years