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Spotify cuts back on free music

April 14, 2011

As I have said before, services like Spotify are essentially the old, dying music industry pretending to be in the 21st century and their business models ultimately won’t work.

Spotify has announced that it is cutting back on the amount of music listeners can play without paying. A post on their website says:

  • As of May 1st, any user who signed up to the free service on or before November 1st 2010 will be able to play each track for free up to a total of 5 times. Users who signed up after the beginning of November will see these changes applied 6 months after the time they set up their Spotify account.
  • Additionally, total listening time for free users will be limited to 10 hours per month after the first 6 months. That’s equivalent to around 200 tracks or 20 albums.

Spotify has so far failed to launch in the USA. They’re trying to find a way to bring in new users who they can convert to being paying customers by giving some content away free. If they give too much away, they risk undermining their own commercial desires and upsetting the big record labels. As I said, in my opinion it’s an unsustainable business model, trying to mix two worlds, the old and the new.

Spotify currently has more than a million paying customers and about ten million free subscribers.

One user wrote: ‘Ah well, it was nice while it lasted. That’s me over to Grooveshark/YouTube/piracy. Which is a shame, because Spotify had by far the best features and interface. I’ll miss the sharing and the ease of making playlists, I had things nicely organised. Thanks for destroying a community of music lovers. Goodbye.’

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