Party’s Over! Spotify Seriously Limiting Free Usage

Spotify is now taking further steps to limit free access in Europe, a move designed to convert more premium users, boost profitability, and satisfy label concerns.

“Above all, this means we can continue making Spotify available to all in the long-term,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek relayed early this morning (midday from Europe). Here’s a quick summary of the changes…

(1) Users will be limited to 10 hours of free listening a month, instead of 20.

(2) No song can be played more than 5 times without a premium account.

(3) Changes happen May 1st, and 30-day premium trials will be handed out during that month.

(4) New users can enjoy Spotify in its current form for 6 months before feeling the changes.  Those who joined prior to November 1st, 2010, will feel the changes now.

In a blog entry this morning, Ek identified heavier Spotify users as a chief target of 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,” Ek described.  “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.”

And of course, Ek added that Premium and Unlimited users would not be affected.

11 Responses

  1. HansH


    If this means that labels will release more music on Spotify it’s fine with me.

  2. @paulclabourne


    Not the worst change, but def not a win.

  3. Yves Villeneuve

    My inside sources tell me that Spotify has less than 800,000 paying subscribers, not the reported 1,000,000 made by Spotify.

    I challenge Spotify to prove their subscriber numbers with a major North American auditor, preferrably appointed by the most senior partner of that accounting firm.

  4. MisterSoftee

    Party over — exactly. So maybe it turns out that non-stop free and ad-supported models weren’t working after all, imagine that everybody? E-hem, just as Edgar Bronfman Jr. said… *vindication*

  5. Maxwellian


    I can download and MP3 and listen to it 5, 50, 500, 5,000X without paying anyone anything or getting a tap on my shoulder. So hmmm do I really need Spotify and its smooth svelte interface so badly that I’ll pay?


  6. Visitor

    You can also start stealing peoples wallets, and if you dont get caught no one will say anything. Just because no one catches you doesnt make it right.

    Streaming is the closest way to meet in the middle for consumers and content owners.

    • Spotify Subscriber

      Bye Bye Spotify….over to the next start up….the labels got you in the end. They have effectively closed you down.

      • James

        If you are indeed a ‘Spotify Subscriber’, these changes won’t affect you at all.

  7. wallow-T

    Funny, I thought the idea was to get music fans back into legal options and away from the Dark Side.

    Ah well. I suspect we are running out of startups willing to deal with the major labels: eventually the labels are going to find themselves sitting on a pile of copyrights with no one willing to bring the music to the public in an authorized fashion. “The future of music is all pirate, all criminal, all the time.”

  8. @SocialSound1982


    Party on Grooveshark (Party on Garth!)

  9. Visitor

    I told you so. Spotify is not about music, nor it is to “help” anyone make money on his or her music — it is a business, at that, one that is at this moment bleeding money by buckets.

    The freemium model is good to “steal” someone else’s share of the market, but once this is done, the serius busniess and charges begin.

    You people are so naive. Maybe instead of how to get your music on Spotify or Facebook, musicians should take a Business 1.0 course at your local community college.