Spotify Launches Music-Only Subscription Tier In the U.S. — After Switching 97% of Subscribers to Bundled Offering

Spotify launches music-only subscription
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Spotify launches music-only subscription
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Photo Credit: Sumeet B

After switching 97% of its long-time Premium subscribers to its bundled offering, Spotify now launches a music-only subscription—putting the onus on customers to switch.

Spotify is facing a lawsuit from the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) for underpaying royalties to publishers and songwriters because of its bundling scheme. The lawsuit was filed in May 2024 following Spotify’s reclassification of its Premium subscriptions as bundled plans following the inclusion of audiobooks on the platform.

Changes made to Spotify’s subscription offerings again now offer what it is calling a ‘Basic’ subscription—that does not include access to audiobooks. A Spotify Basic subscription costs $10.99 per month, a dollar less than its Premium tier which includes 15 hours of audiobooks access. It’s worth noting that this subscription retooling only makes a Basic plan available for individual subscribers. Anyone who wants a music-only subscription as a couple or a family is out of luck.

It’s also not clear how well Spotify will advertise the ability to switch to this new Basic plan, should current subscribers want to do so. A glance at the current subscription page does not show Basic among the offerings for new subscribers yet. As of the time of writing, there is also no mention of a Spotify Basic plan in the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section of the subscription page, either.

Now that 97% of its subscription base is on the bundled plan that pays fewer royalties to songwriters and publishers, Spotify can now say that technically there is an option available for customers who are unhappy with the move. It doesn’t seem possible to create a new Spotify subscription under the Basic music-only tier, and Spotify’s blog post announcing the change notes that it is for “eligible” users only. Who is eligible is only defined as a Spotify user from the United States.

This move appears to follow the same move Spotify made in the United Kingdom, where it rolled out a music-only tier earlier this month.