With the announcement that Spotify is reducing the amount of free music non-subscribers can listen to, the blogosphere and tech sites have predictably gone a bit mad today with accusation, speculation and frustration. But here are the facts:
- After six months on the current service, Spotify Free and Spotify Open users will be able to listen to 10 hours of free music every month for as long as they want. If they listen to one particular track more than five times, they’ll need to subscribe to Spotify or purchase the track to continue listening.
- If like me you value music and understand that the artists and creatives involved need to get paid for their work, you’ll subscribe to the £5 or £10 a month service. In which case nothing has changed.
There’s lots of speculation as to why Spotify has made this change. The Telegraph reports that they were forced to do it by the record labels. That sounds like one likely reason, and would seem to tie in with the reported demands the major labels have put on Spotify to support a US launch. I’d always suspected that Spotify USA would need to be a streamlined version of Spotify Europe. This move levels the playing field and now means that the Spotify experience will be the same no matter where you live. It will of course also reduce costs (since Spotify needs to pay for every play of every song) – increasing the chances that Spotify will prosper.
I’ve read lots of posts and stories about this today. Here are the best:
- Pay To Play: Can Spotify Still Turn Freeloaders In To Customers? – paidcontent.co.uk
- Spotify No Longer Too Unlimited – Mark Mulligan at Forrester.com
- Pirates are jumping the shark over Spotify’s new service – Paul Smith at bitterwallet.com
- Spotify’s limits on free use will please the big record labels – guardian.co.uk
- Spotify: Not so free as it was – RCJ at bbc.co.uk
Despite the polarization of comments on the Spotify blog (Premium Users: Makes sense – we love Spotify! Free Users: Boo hoo we iz gonna go to Grooveshark), this change to the free offering is bound to bring in more premium subscribers and for the artists who give us their music on that wonderful, immense platform this can only be a good thing.