Spotify Quietly Restricts Lyrics Access for Ad-Supported Accounts — And Users Aren’t Happy About the Change

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spotify lyrics
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At least in certain markets, ad-supported accounts’ ability to access Spotify lyrics is being limited or paywall-blocked altogether. Photo Credit: charlesdeluvio

The better part of one year after reports suggested Spotify would restrict lyrics to premium accounts, the platform has moved forward with the plans.

We covered those plans back in September of 2023, when ticked-off users began criticizing the apparent shift through Reddit posts. At the time, however, it appeared that the change was affecting select ad-supported accounts, which were being prompted to “Enjoy lyrics on Spotify Premium.” Not long thereafter, the streaming service issued a non-committal statement acknowledging a limited test.

Now, new Reddit posts, first identified by outlets including Android Police, are indicating that the pivot has gone into effect for a larger number of users. On Twitter/X, screenshots are pointing to “a monthly limit on lyrics” as well, and Reddit screenshots show the aforementioned “Enjoy lyrics on Spotify Premium” message that greeted certain listeners last year.

“They’re taking away features, [accessibility features, mind you!] that we’ve already had access to,” one Redditor vented, “and making us pay more for them. This should not be happening, might switch services if they don’t change it. Mad.”

Regarding the lyrics paywall’s precise scope, Spotify hasn’t elaborated on the subject with a formal statement; it’s unclear exactly which markets the change has and will hit. According to TechCrunch, though, the Universal Music-partnered platform followed up with a general response that “indicates the change to lyrics may be more than just a test” – while also suggesting “that Spotify isn’t yet prepared to make an official announcement about affected markets.”

In any event, the lyrics-availability adjustment has arrived as Spotify is striving (seemingly in earnest) to grow revenue and achieve continued profitability – not solely by adding subscribers, but by embracing superfan initiatives, expanding into audiobooks, retooling its plans, and debuting optional features like higher-definition audio.

The coming months could reveal additional details about this strategy, which the company has confirmed includes a music-only tier. (Despite being largely insightful, related reports citing anonymous and purportedly in-the-know sources have proven mostly unreliable when it comes to predicting the timing of Spotify’s price bumps and more.)

Moving forward, the immediate reaction to lyrics’ becoming a premium offering is worth bearing in mind on several levels, including in terms of the value users might attach to tools such as AI DJ. Unlike the latter, lyrics can, of course, be accessed via different platforms or through Musixmatch (which provides lyrics for Spotify) itself.

But AI DJ, Daylist, and more cannot be found elsewhere, and it’ll be interesting to see how the service works to capitalize on the point during the remainder of 2024.