Streaming music service Spotify‘s aim is to “make music on-demand available to all.” However, changes announced today on Spotify’s blog mean there will be less music available to all, or at least to those using Spotify Free.
Spotify Free users will only be able to listen to 10 hours of music a month rather than the previously allowed 20 hours, and they’ll only be able to play a particular track a maximum of 5 times. Previously tracks could be played an unlimited number of times.
10 hours is equivalent to around 200 tracks or 20 albums. New users can get access to Spotify on the previous terms for 6 months. Users who signed up for Spotify more than 6 months ago will be effected from May 1.
Spotify offers a number of subscriptions. Spotify Free comes with ads. The Unlimited subscription is ad-free and costs €4.99 ($7.22) a month. Premium, which allows Spotify to be accessed on mobile and other non-PC devices, is priced a €9.99 ($14.46) a month.
The new changes are clearly an attempt to steer users towards paid subscriptions and possibly also foreshadow the type of service that will eventually launch in the US. Although the changes are not drastic unless you are a heavy Spotify Free user (guilty as charged) I can’t help being reminded of Techcrunch’s April Fools story in which Spotify closes down its European service to fund the U.S. launch.
Spotify is based in Sweden and has 10 million users around the world (1 million of which are paying), mainly in Europe. The company has received funding of $120 million and is valued at around $1 billion.