Spotify Free, Now With NO Time Limits…

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Spotify has removed all time limits on all devices in all countries… anyone in the world can listen to unlimited free music.

Prior to this, non-paying users were limited to 10 hours a month after the first 6 months. Spotify recently brought free ad-supported streaming to tablets and mobile devices .

All of these developments bring up one question…

Why even pay for Spotify premium?

With every recent change Spotify has made paying for premium less appealing. As of now, the major benefits are no ads and the ability to select songs on-demand on phones.

I pay for Spotify premium as a supplement to my digital and physical music libraries (sent by publicists, purchased, acquired at previous jobs, or given to me by those that made it). In spite of my constantly growing music collection, access to digital streaming is important to me…

Now I’m starting to feel like Spotify doesn’t even want my money. This makes no sense, what is Spotify’s plan for sustainable revenue? Ads surely won’t cut it.

Maybe Beats’ “Spotify squashing” strategy won’t be so hard after all.  I’m about ready to jump off the Spotify ship.

20 Responses

  1. soundcloudmoney

    i have been a long time user and early adopter of spotify, started in the Eu and i caught it the first week or so they brought it to the US. i had preium forever… it has been responsible for over 10 35$ overdraft fees at my bank, ive payed hard for spotify, really hard. haha!

    I over all love the interface and the plugins called “apps” they used to feature all EU artists at first mostly then as spotify got bigger it had US artists all over it. Well Nina just wanted to share my experience with the software and say that im using id free with ads right now and with muve music for cricket i dont miss on the go spotify mobile premium mode, and wonder how much traffic spotify takes for those who have data restrictions?

    thanks for sharing this standpoint

    • Nina Ulloa

      I agree. One of the reasons I go with spotify is that the apps etc are part of a larger experience.
      The ads on free services drive me nuts.

    • SONOS User

      I only pay for Spotify Premium so I can use Spotify with my SONOS system. Otherwise I see no real benefits for me — I can live with the inconveniences that come with free.

    • any mouse

      Spotify is in a desperate place trying to get their Premium numbers up at the same time they will be facing more competition from the labels directly via BEATS (owned by Universal).

      BEATS will be charging without a free tier, Spotify has expanded free.

      This is about attrition, and who can survive the burn.

      In the end, it’s unlikely EITHER service will be around in five years… but who knows…

  2. Me

    I’ve been using the Free Spotify service for over 2 years now, and I’ve never had any time limits. I usually listen to more than 10 hours per week.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      I can’t completely remember the country differences, but I don’t think there was a restriction in the US yet implemented (or, Spotify was planning to implement and delayed…)

      Help someone if you have more details.

      • GGG

        I’m 99% sure they never had time restrictions in the US which I always thought was stupid. Back when they actually marketed themselves, and their invite only thing made them sort of cool, they could have gotten a decent turnover from free to paid after like 20 hours or something, I think.

        • Me

          Yeah, I think they originally planned on it for the U.S., but then later announced they wouldn’t do it.

  3. Nick Cooper

    I also had no idea there was any sort of time restriction. I have been using Spotify for well over a year. I had a premium account for maybe 3 months and have been free ever since.

  4. Faza (TCM)

    Gee, could it have anything with trying to up the valuation prior to a liquidity event? Look for Spotify going public or negotiating a sale soon.

    • Casey

      Probably not. Investors want to see growth in subscriptions, not the growth of a profitless free service. Right now Spotify’s numbers are terrible. The free service might not even be breaking even while the paid service pays 70% out in royalties. It would be extremely difficult to sell those numbers and take Spotify public.

      Most likely the extension of free listening is to kill off competition. Spotify may lose some paid subscriptions in the process, but as long as they can keep their competitors from gaining subscriptions they win.

      • Faza (TCM)

        “Investors want to see growth in subscriptions, not the growth of a profitless free service.”

        I take it the Twitter IPO passed you by, then? Their quote right now is nothing to sniff at either… I’m guessing quite a few people got rich from a company that’s not made a profit throughout its existence.

        That said, I’d had a closer look at their new deal and I think it’s a very different kind of ploy: make Spotify Free like radio. The unlimited listening is for shuffle mode and playlists, which isn’t exactly a full interactive service. One might think that the “on demand” factor is supposed to be the selling point, but I’m guessing what they may, in fact, be shooting for is for Spotify Free to become something like Pandora. Meaning, among other things, that Spotify will have the benefit of compulsory licensing and statutory rates (I believe it’s something like 0.14 cents for online commercial broadcasters at the moment).

        Make it impossible for artists to leave en masse and cut your royalty obligations at the same time? I call that clever! Maybe they can even get together with ol’ Million-Dollar-A-Month-Tim to give IRFA another whirl, eh?

        • GGG

          I mean, everything in theory is about an eventual IPO for companies like this, but for a short-term thing, I don’t think it’s what they’re doing now. Twitter got the price because they have huge numbers and no sign of slowing. We’re talking hundreds of millions more users.

          Spotify is sort of hovering in this slow-growth mode and with almost every press about it being negative, I don’t think its future is as seemingly rosy as investors would like to start talking about going public. Not to mention, everyone actually working at Spotify including Ek has most likely taken massive ownership hits with all the reinvestments, so if they’re just trying to make sacks of cash, it would not help them to to cash out in the near future.

        • Casey

          Twitter has significant market-share and does not have to pay 70% of their revenue in royalties.

  5. Bonsō Wrokks

    ‘Spotify is currently not available in your country’. Your article was worded in a way to make me think that this restriction had been lifted worldwide. It has not.

  6. Truth Time

    I pay, didn’t realize the free version hit mobiles and tablets! I’ll still pay though because the commercials for Lil Wayne have nothing to do with the Talking Heads or whomever else I’m listening too… and they’re VERY repetitive. Another benefit is offline listening while on flights or wherever you don’t have a connection. I’m going to try the Beats Audio when it hits and bring my whole family on (we’re on AT&T, so 15 bucks is a steal for 4 of us). I like spotify alright, but am open to other options. Hoping that Beats delivers.

  7. Jack R

    Does anyone know if Beats is going to be pure streaming (like Pandora, Rdio, etc.) or Peer-to-Peer, like Spotify. I ask because since subscribing to Spotify Premium my computer has noticeably slowed down and my available network bandwidth is almost fully consumed by Spotify’s activity. Security concerns aside, I will switch in a minute if Beats doesn’t bring my computer to a grind.

  8. FarePlay

    Here’s where we are. We have a business with a business model that is eroding the sales of recorded music that is moving farther and farther away from profitability with the hope they can pull the trigger an IPO that will keep them operating at a loss indefinitely, while making a small group of equity partners, investors and employees rich.

    Did I miss anything? But then again, this is how business is done in the digital age.